Community Policing, Rightly Understood



Over the last quarter of a century, the United States has seen historic drops in crime—most famously in New York. These gains, once thought impossible, were achieved largely through dramatic innovations in policing, especially the adoption of an approach that stressed order maintenance in communities, data- and intelligence-gathering, and a problem-solving approach to crime and disorder.


In recent years, however, antipolice sentiment has risen in the U.S., sparked in part by a series of tragic, high-profile police-involved killings in major cities but also by the work of critics, mostly on the left but also on the libertarian right, who argue that targeted policing aimed at public disorder is coercive, hostile to community life, and often racist. These critics see such policing as the antithesis to what they call community policing. The arguments that have gained popular currency among police critics have essentially blinded them from seeing that the sort of aggressive policing that they object to can actually be an element of a community-policing model.


Read more from George Kelling in the City Journal here.

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