The Purpose and Efectiveness of Police Patrol

October 12, 2017 Management

Running Head: POLICE PATROL Purpose and Effectiveness of Police Patrol Police patrol is the ‘backbone of policing’. It accounts for more than two-thirds of a department’s personnel. Their main purpose are similar to those of security guards, only they have a wider area to survey. These watchmen go around the community and arrest or question suspicious people and possible law offenders. Due to this fact, they are avoided by criminals. After World War II the idea of police patrol became a critical duty of police (Samaha, 2005).

Police mobile are given to increase the capacity of police officials to respond to citizen’s calls and in crime scenes. According to Wesley Slogan and Kathleen Fredyl (2004), ‘preventive patrol has been the core police activity, designed to prevent crime by deterring potential offenders through a visible police presence, create feelings of public safety and police availability’. Thus, police patrol in these terms ought to instil a sense of security for the citizens and fear and/or caution for law offenders. The presence of police patrol in an area somehow reduces the number of crime.

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According to Joel Samaha (2005), preventive patrol consists of ‘police officers making themselves visible’. The reason for preventive patrol is to keep in the mind of criminals or law offenders that police are just a call away and a police might appear anytime. The goal of police patrol ‘was to spot and investigate suspicious activities’ (Slogan and Fredyl, 204). This goal makes police patrol available for the prevention of crime and serves as respondents after crimes occur. Police themselves and the general public have always believed that police in patrol severely inhibits criminal activities.

Weisburd and Braga (2006) shown, in their book Police Innovation, the result of the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment which concluded ‘increasing or decreasing the intensity of routine preventive patrol did not affect either crime, service delivery to citizens or citizen’s feeling of security’. This finding creates a controversy on whether police patrol should really be the backbone of police duties, as often mentioned in textbooks. Joel Samaha (2005) identified that according to the Police Executive Research Forum, fast police response accounted for less than 5% of arrest for serious crimes’.

Nonetheless, James Wilson, (as quoted in Sherman, 2002), author of varieties of Police Behavior suggest that the Kansas experiment did not actually prove that police presence of all kinds is useless in preventing crimes, instead it showed that marked police cars has little effect in preventing crimes. Lawrence Sherman (2002) presented that in Flint Michigan the number of crimes declined when the Police Department adopted foot patrol. Accordingly, the number of crimes declined by nine percent in the area. This only shows that the Kansas Study is an insufficient proof that police patrol are ineffective.

Sherman (2002) suggested that a directed preventive patrol can be an answer to the problems in policing. In directed preventive patrol, more patrols are assigned in high-crime rates area while lower numbers of patrols are assigned to low crime rates areas. A study made by the Minneapolis Police Department showed that in high crimes area with additional patrols, the numbers of crimes are down to up to 50% compared to the crime rate in high crime areas with no additional patrol (2002). Thus, a relevant connection between police patrol and crime rates shows that indeed police patrol can reduce the number of crime rates in an area.

Fritsch, Caeti and Taylor (as quoted from Sherman, 2002) showed before and after results for five high gang violence areas that received additional patrols with those that did not receive an increase in patrols. It shows that the areas with increased patrols have 20-pecent reduction of violence than those areas that received no increase. They concluded that directed patrols on high crime areas are effective. In 1991, the Savannah Police Department identified six major problems identified with traditional policing, specifically preventive patrol.

These includes lack of geographic accountability, unequal distribution of patrol time, need for better interactions for residents, need for more proactive patrol, inadequate police response system and inadequate data management (Palmioto, 2000). Police patrol are indeed the backbone of police duties but because of several problems that traditional policing had, police patrol are seen as ineffective. Improvements on the effectiveness of police patrol are seen in high crime rates area. The main purpose of police patrol is to make policing more visible and accessible to the public.

Police patrol ought to increase the sense of security of the citizens, which is determined by the crime rates in an area. Bibliography Levinson, D. Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment. SAGE, 2002 Palmiotto,M. Community Policing. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2000 Samaha, J. Criminal Justice. Thomson Wadsworth, 2005` Sherman, L. W. Evidenced-based Crime Prevention. Routledge, 2002. Skogan, W. G. and Frydl, K. Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence. National Academies Press, 2004 Weisburd, D. and Braga, A. A. Police Innovation. Cambridge University Press, 2006


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