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Northwestern University

What is disorder? Wilson and Kelling’s seminal 1982 “broken windows”
article introduced the concept, at least in spirit. Although they did not give
it that name, they focused on what we now call social disorder. Their
original list included public gambling, public drinking and urination, street
prostitution, congregations of idle men and bands of youths dressed in
apparently gang-related apparel, and activities such as panhandling,
disturbing the peace, loitering, and vagrancy. Since then, the list has grown
to include truant high-schoolers, squeegee men looking for tips, dumpster
divers in search of dinner, street preachers armed with bullhorns, “urban
campers” in parks under cardboard tents, people with a “street lifestyle,”
the presence of sexually oriented establishments, street harassment of
women, open gambling, threatening phone calls, recreational violence in
pubs and clubs, and—in the article by Gau and Pratt (2008, this issue)—
“noise” and “dogs running at-large.” The title of Wilson and Kelling’s
article implied that the signs of physical decay needed to be addressed as
well. In various studies, physical disorders have included dilapidation,
abandoned buildings, stripped and burned-out cars, collapsing garages,
broken streetlights, junk-filled and unmowed vacant lots, litter, garbage-
strewn alleys, alcohol and tobacco advertising, graffiti, and the visible
consequences of vandalism.

Taken as a whole, these items constitute an untidy list. In contrast,
criminal codes seem to encompass a more bounded and orderly set of
prohibitions. What the common crimes have in common, however, is only
that legislators do not like them. Otherwise, they also encompass a
potpourri of behaviors, motives, and modalities. The length of the
disorders list is not a problem. The disorder indicators used in any
particular research or evaluation project should be selected judiciously for
their relevance to the setting, just as no study includes “all” crimes.
Disorders were overlooked for a long time by criminologists because many
have only a tenuous link to the criminal law or are clearly civil law
matters. Many evade attention from the police because they lie on the
fringes of being “serious enough” to warrant attention; Albert Reiss
(1985) dubbed these disorders “soft crimes.” Others items from the list
hover in the vicinity of protected rights to speech and assembly; street

VOLUME 7 NUMBER 2 2008 PP 195–202 R

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preachers, panhandlers, sex shop operators, and the visibly idle fall in this
category. Some items were traditionally overlooked because they were not
captured easily by police information systems. Importantly for the police,
the “victims” of many disorders do not experience them as incidents but as
conditions. They do not know whether it is a police matter; what they
know is that they want something done.

Why should we take disorder seriously? Although they have a varying
relationship with criminality, what disorders have in common is that they
have demonstrably serious consequences for communities. From the
beginning, the broken windows argument has principally discussed the
effects of disorder at the aggregate level. Wilson and Kelling advanced a
list of ideas that researchers have taken up: Disorder undermines the
capacity of neighborhoods to defend themselves; those who can do so
move away, many of those remaining withdraw from community public
life, and everyday uses of public space wither. In their view, the directly
criminogenic effects of disorder stem from the attendant decline of
informal social control; predatory troublemakers from outside the
neighborhood join unruly insiders in creating new possibilities for crime in
undefended places. Gambling and drinking can lead to robberies and
fights; prostitution and drug sales attract those who prey on the customers.
Disorder thus begets an even broader range of problems and can, in short
order, inundate an area with serious and victimizing crime.

Not all aspects of this broad view have been tested robustly, and little
research has been directed at the neighborhood level where it belongs. I
found that a broad, neighborhood-level disorder index constructed from
40 separate community surveys was linked to declining confidence in
neighbors, a diminished capacity for collective action, lower levels of
neighborhood satisfaction and a desire to move to the suburbs,
perceptions of levels and trends in crime, and fear of crime and robbery
victimization (Skogan, 1990). I was actually agnostic about what path
models would reveal about the last possibility because, in my view, the
other things on the list of disorder’s consequences would amply justify
spending time on them. Others (see Sampson and Raudenbush, 2004)
have pointed out that perceived disorders are linked in complex ways to
race and class and that structural features of neighborhoods explain why
they have disorder problems. This finding is not surprising—almost
everything in criminology is correlated strongly with neighborhood
structural factors. About half the between-neighborhood variance of my
disorder measure could be attributed to poverty, instability, and racial
diversity, but where disorder comes from was not the focus of the project.
An independent relationship exists between disorder and the outcomes,
including robbery victimization.

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Whether disorder is somehow “real” or just “in the eyes of the
beholder” and perhaps a measure of intolerance has been the subject of
considerable discussion. Gau and Pratt’s article (2008) sidesteps this
question by positing that disorders are “real in their consequences”
(nothing in the study explained consequences), but the issue cannot be
ignored. Observational studies of selected disorders find high interrater
reliabilities, so disorders are “really there” in the empirical tradition; I am
not sure why we should think that pairs of students who come in for an
hour or so are more accurate raters of local conditions than many pairs of
people who live there. One limit of observational studies is that they tend
to be conducted during daylight hours, which is when things are visible
and it is safer to be looking; thus, observers count many conditions that
fall in the physical disorder category (for an example, see Sampson and
Raudenbush, 1999). Residents are present after dark and on Saturday
nights; what we know about the temporal distribution of 911 “disorder”
calls (see Weisburd et al., 2006) indicates that they are positioned to
observe wild and wooly events much more often. The match between
survey and observational measures—a “multi-method” correlation—is
another test of the “reality” of disorder, which is perhaps the toughest
methodological test in social science (it is a validity test; see Campbell and
Stanley, 1963). Do the research observers see the same things as resident
observers? To examine this topic, we would like the survey and
observational measures to focus on the same specific disorders, but it is
not always the case. In Sampson and Raudenbush’s (2004) Chicago study,
observers looked for many more and really different conditions (including
“alcohol/tobacco advertising”) than were included in the survey, and this
information was placed in the observational index. The neighborhood-
level correlation between the two indices still turned out to be +0.62. In a
Baltimore study, the correlation between differing survey and
observational indices of disorder was again +0.62 (Jang and Johnson,
2001). Some multi-method studies (not that many exist) report weaker
links between survey and observational reports of disorder, but more work
is called for on this topic. A thorough study would take into account that
the upper bound on a validity coefficient is the product of the reliabilities
of the measures being cross-validated, for example.

What can be done about disorder? One unfortunate aspect of the
conversation about dealing with disorder has been its stilted character.
Discussion of policy alternatives by criminologists has revolved around
“disorder policing” or (as in Gau and Pratt’s article [2008]) “broken
windows policing” concepts that are often conflated with “zero tolerance
policing.” This information is surprising, for at the same time, most
criminologists and many sophisticated practitioners would agree that
enforcement-oriented policing is not always the most effective strategy for

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addressing common crimes. That “we cannot arrest our way out of crime
problems” is widely understood in this community. The same is certainly
true when it comes to conditions and events that fall in the disorder
category. Disorder is addressable by the same kitbag of policy tools that
crime experts have lauded. Besides enforcement, the toolbox includes
interagency coordination; regulatory leverage created by civil statutes; and
the involvement of organized community residents, nonprofit service
providers, and the commercial security sector. Like common crimes, the
sources and solutions to particular disorders are diverse and highly
situational, and tailored, problem-solving approaches to disorder
reduction should be the order of the day. Problem solving is a
counterpoint to the traditional model of police work, which usually entails
responding sequentially to individual events as they are phoned in by
victims. Problem solving, on the other hand, calls for examining patterns
of incidents to reveal their causes and to help plan how to deal with them
proactively. It is most easily applicable to disorders, many of which—as I
noted above—are best characterized as conditions rather than as events.
Perhaps common crimes and disorders fit the same perceptual factor
structure, but it does not mean that their solutions are likely to be “one
size fits all.”

Researchers who observe closely the actual implementation of
community policing understand this dynamic well. When neighborhood
residents gather to discuss their problems with the police, they inevitably
bring a broad spectrum of concerns to the table. They do not make neat
legal or bureaucratic distinctions about who is responsible for what, and it
turns out that they are as worried about garbage-strewn alleys and graffiti
on garage doors as they are about burglary and car theft. In 2,500 police-
community meetings we examined in Chicago (see Skogan, 2006),
residents discussed 11,221 distinct problems. The largest category, which
involved 36% of these concerns, was the social disorder category.
Residents talked most about loitering, street prostitution, public drinking,
and various fears about teenage misconduct. Next on the list (at 24%) was
discussion of street drug markets, which is a common crime. But the third
most frequent topic of concern, which constituted 12% of the issues
brought up at beat meetings, was physical decay. The issues that residents
talked about in this category included graffiti, vandalism, abandoned
buildings, abandoned cars, and trash and junk in vacant lots. Even at
police-sponsored beat meetings, discussion about individually victimizing
crimes like robbery and burglary made up only 9% of the total, which was
tied exactly with complaints about parking and traffic problems.

Community policing takes seriously the public’s definition of its own
problems, which inevitably includes issues that lie outside the traditional
competence of the police. An expansion of the police mandate is an

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almost unavoidable result of involving the public in neighborhood priority
setting. So when Chicago’s program was developed, planners knew that if
their officers’ response to community concerns was “that’s not a police
matter,” many residents would not show up for the next meeting. Police
knew they needed to have structures in place that would enable them to
deal effectively with the issues that concern the public, many of which fall
in the disorder category and some of which fall in the traditional domain
of other city service agencies. Although at a public meeting officers can
learn that loose garbage and rats in an alley are big issues for the residents
who attend, another agency must deliver the solution to that problem.
Interagency collaboration becomes a key component in securing
neighborhood safety and security when police organize to address disorder

As a result of adopting the broken windows theory of neighborhood
decline wholeheartedly (see Skogan, 2006), Chicago police now find
themselves involved in a host of new activities. They orchestrate
neighborhood cleanups and graffiti paint-outs by volunteers and city
workers, distribute bracelets that will identify senior citizens if they fall
down, and take note of burned out street lights and trees that need
trimming. Officers drop into stores to ask merchants to display signs
requesting that patrons refrain from giving money to panhandlers. The
public steers police toward problems created by the sale of loose cigarettes
and individual cans of beer at convenience and grocery stores because
they encourage loitering and public drinking. Those sales are illegal but
truly soft crimes.

On their side, residents have taken to “positive-loitering” campaigns to
retake their streets. These campaigns are efforts to increase the frequency
with which law-abiding residents occupy public spaces to discourage street
prostitutes, loiterers, drinkers, and nascent drug markets. They do so by
scheduling dog walks and walking clubs to get out and about during times
when these problems are most intense. In a riskier place, police guard
residents at prayer vigils and marches and at barbeque “smoke-outs” in
which residents congregate in drug and prostitution zones. A popular
approach to addressing troublesome liquor outlets is a “vote dry”
referendum. City statutes allow area residents to vote to prohibit the sale
of alcohol in a particular electoral precinct (a very small area) or at a
particular address in their precinct. Community groups are well informed
about the mechanics of these referenda, and they constitute such a threat
that they have facilitated the informal but effective resolution of many
problems with liquor establishments.

Police can facilitate the mobilization of city service agencies. We would
like to think those bureaucracies could decipher neighborhood priorities
on their own, but in truth it is largely only the police who remain open

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24/7, have people walking the streets, and have discovered how effectively
they can build legitimacy and support among the voters and taxpayers by
responding to their definition of their problems. In Chicago, complaints at
beat meetings trigger graffiti removal missions by the city’s Graffiti Blaster
teams, who are so named for their high-pressure soda sprays. Likewise,
complaints routinely trigger tree trimming, rat poisoning, clearing and
mowing vacant lots, repairing streets and sidewalks, new street signs, and
paint jobs for fire hydrants and public structures. Getting seemingly
abandoned cars towed is a logistical problem, but it is not complicated;
severely dilapidated or abandoned commercial and residential buildings
are another story, and addressing them involves many agencies and
money. Police districts have “problem-buildings officers” who inventory
dilapidated and abandoned structures and track down property owners for
civil prosecution over building, health, fire, sanitation, zoning, and
business-license violations. Police participate in joint multi-agency teams
with representatives of the city’s buildings, fire, police, revenue, and health
departments “swatting” prioritized buildings with documented code
violations that are then taken over by city prosecutors who work out of
district stations. All these actions have nothing to do with putting anyone
in jail. Rather, civil courts and administrative hearings can force building
owners to repair code violations, install security measures, and securely
board up buildings. The worst buildings can be demolished on a fast track
if they are unsafe. Landlords can be required to post “no loitering” signs,
evict problem tenants, and upgrade exterior lighting. In short, effective
approaches to the wide range of problems that make up the disorder
category do not just involve arresting people. In Chicago, at least, a
solution for broken windows is to fix them.


Campbell, Donald T. and Julian C. Stanley
1963 Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research on teaching. In

N. L. Gage (ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching. Chicago, Ill.: Rand

Gau, Jacinta M. and Travis C. Pratt
Broken windows or window dressing? Citizens’ (in)ability to tell the
difference between disorder and crime. Criminology & Public Policy. This

Jang, Sung and Byron R. Johnson
2001 Neighborhood disorder, individual religiosity, and adolescent use of illicit

drugs: A test of multilevel hypotheses. Criminology 39:109–144.

Reiss, Albert J., Jr.
1985 Policing a City’s Central District: The Oakland Story. Washington, D.C.:

National Institute of Justice.

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Sampson, Robert J. and Stephen W. Raudenbush
1999 Systematic social observation of public spaces: A new look at disorder in

urban neighborhoods. American Journal of Sociology 105:603–651.
2004 Seeing disorder: Neighborhood stigma and the social construction of

“broken windows.” Social Psychological Quarterly 72:319–342.

Skogan, Wesley G.
1990 Disorder and Decline: Crime and the Spiral of Decay in American

Neighborhoods. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
2006 Police and Community in Chicago. New York: Oxford University Press.

Weisburd, David, Laura A. Wyckoff, Justin Ready, John E. Eck, Joshua C. Hinkle,
and Frank Gajewski
2006 Does crime just move around the corner? A controlled study of spatial

displacement and diffusion of crime control benefits. Criminology

Wilson, James Q. and George L. Kelling
1982 Broken windows. Atlantic Monthly (March):29–38.

Wesley G. Skogan, Ph.D., has focused his research on victimization, fear of crime, the
impact of crime on communities, public involvement in crime prevention, and policing.
His books on Chicago police include Police and Community in Chicago (2006), On the
Beat: Police and Community Problem Solving (1999), and Community Policing, Chicago
Style (1997). In 2003 he edited Community Policing: Can It Work?, which is a collection
of original essays on innovation in policing. His 1990 book, Disorder and Decline, won
the 1991 Distinguished Scholar Award of the Section on Crime and Deviance of the
American Sociological Association. Skogan has been a technical consultant for the
Home Office Research Unit of Great Britain and a senior fellow of the Open Societies
Institute. Earlier he spent two years at the National Institute of Justice as a visiting
fellow. He is also a fellow of the American Society of Criminology. In the 2000s, he
chaired a Committee on Police Policies and Practices for the National Research Coun-
cil. He was a coauthor of the committee report, which appeared as a book, Fairness and
Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence from National Academies Press, in 2004.


A Summary Report


A Summary Report


George L. Kelling
Tony Pate

Duane Dieckman
Charles E. Brown

Washington, DC

© 1974. Police Foundation. All rights, including translation into other languages, reserved
under the Universal Copyright Convention, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary
and Artistic Works, and the International and Pan American Copyright Conventions.

Permission to quote or reprint for non-commercial, educational purposes is readily granted.

First published in 1974.
Recreated in 2003 for the Police Foundation Web site, www.policefoundation.org

Library of Congress Catalog Number 74-24739

Established in 1970, the Police Foundation is a private, independent, nonprofit organization
dedicated to supporting innovation and improvement in policing. The foundation’s research
findings are published as an information service.

This is the summary report of the Kansas City, Missouri, preventive patrol experiment. The
910-page technical report is available from the Police Foundation.

For information about the Police Foundation, its publications or services, please visit our Web
site at www.policefoundation.org or contact us.

Police Foundation
1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036-2636
Telephone: (202) 833-1460
Fax: (202) 659-9149
E-mail: pfinfo@policefoundation.org



Foreword v

Preface vii

A Note on Evaluation ix

Authors’ Acknowledgements xi

I. Introduction and Major Findings 1

II. Description of the Preventive Patrol Experiment 5

III. Data Sources 10

IV. Experimental Findings 14
Key to Tables 15
Effects on Crime, Reporting, and Arrests 16

Finding 1: Victimization 16
Finding 2: Departmental Reported Crime 16
Finding 3: Rates of Reporting Crime 18
Finding 4: Arrest Patterns 19

Effects on Community Attitudes 21
Finding 5: Citizen Fear of Crime 21
Finding 6: Protective Measures (Citizen) 22
Finding 7: Protective Measures (Business) 23
Finding 8: Citizen Attitudes Toward Police 26
Finding 9: Businessmen’s Attitudes Toward Police 28
Finding 10: Police-Citizen Encounters 29
Finding 11: Police-Citizen Transactions 31

Other Effects 32
Finding 12: Response Time 32
Finding 13: Traffic Accidents 34

Summary and Conclusion: Experimental Findings 34

V. Police Use of Noncommitted Time 35

VI. Police Officer Attitudes Toward Patrol 37

VII. Authors’ Observations and Conclusions 40

About the Authors 42


List of Tables & Figures

Figure 1: Schematic Representation of the 15-Beat 8
Experimental Area

Table 1: Victimization: Community and Commercial Survey 17

Table 2: Departmental Reported Crime 18

Table 3: Rates of Reporting Crimes: Community and 19

Commercial Survey

Table 4: Arrests 20

Table 5: Citizen Fear of Crime: Community Survey 22

Table 6: Protective Measures (Citizens): Community Survey 24

Table 7: Protective Measures (Businesses): Commercial Survey 25

Table 8: Citizen Attitudes Toward Police 26

Table 9: Businessmen’s Attitudes Toward Police 29

Table 10-A: Police-Citizen Encounters (Citizen-Initiated Encounters) 30

Table 10-B: Police-Citizen Encounters (Officer-Initiated Encounters) 31

Table 11: Police-Citizen Transactions (Observer Records) 32

Table 12: Response Time 33

Table 13: Traffic Accidents 34

Table 14: Committed and Noncommitted Time By Type of Patrol 35

Table 15: Police Officer Expenditures of Noncommitted Time 36

Table 16: Patrol is the Most Important Function in the Police 38

Table 17: How Much Departmental Time Do You Think Should 39
Be Spent on Each of These Activities?

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment v


This is a summary report of the findings of an experiment in policing that ranks among
the few major social experiments ever to be completed. The experiment was unique in that
never before had there been an attempt to determine through such extensive scientific
evaluation the value of visible police patrol.

The year-long experiment tested the effectiveness of the traditional police strategy of
routine preventive patrol and sought to determine whether the resources in the Kansas City,
Missouri, Police Department ordinarily allocated to preventive patrol could safely be devoted to
other, perhaps more productive strategies.

It is not easy for police departments to conduct operational experiments. For one thing,
maintaining experimental conditions cannot be permitted to interfere with police responsibility
for life and property. For another, evaluation of an experiment by outside investigators can be
threatening to police administrators. In addition, police personnel are not oriented to research.
Too often police supervisors and officers are so busy with complex, ever-changing, day-to-day
problems that they do not devote time to aid in experimental efforts.

By 1971, the Kansas City Police Department had a chief with unusually long tenure—at
that point ten years. The average length of service of police chiefs in more urban areas is less
than half that. The chief in Kansas City was respected and supported by both the community
and his officers. He was progressive and willing to innovate. He championed participatory
management. Sworn personnel from colonels through officers on the street contributed to the
decision-making process of the department.

In 1971, Chief Clarence M. Kelley said, “Many of us in the department had the feeling
we were training, equipping, and deploying men to do a job neither we, nor anyone else, knew
much about.”

Chief Kelley, now Director of the FBI, sought assistance from the Police Foundation for
developing several experimental projects including the patrol experiment described in this
report. His unusual willingness to allow experimentation and evaluation provided an
opportunity for the Foundation to support the type of pioneering work to which it is dedicated.
To undertake the experiment, the department willingly made use of civilian experts in such
areas as planning and organizational change. The receptivity of the Kansas City Police
Department to the use of civilian specialists was of critical importance. If policing is to
progress, it must employ a wide variety of skilled persons: statisticians, analysts, economists,
and others. Just as many police departments use legal advisors, they should also employ other
trained professionals.

Because the Kansas City Police Department had excellent leadership, internal planning
capability, the support of the community, and enlightened officers, it was able to mount and
sustain the experiment in preventive patrol. The results are noted both in this report and in
the preface by the current chief, Joseph D. McNamara, who is continuing the police
department’s tradition of innovation and research.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment vi

This summary report has been prepared because the police department and the Police
Foundation believe the results of the experiment are important to police administrators and
officers, municipal and other government officials, and citizens who may not have the time to
study a lengthy technical report which the Foundation is also publishing.

The experiment answered one question and, in the process, raised many new ones. The
Police Foundation welcomes the opportunity to assist police departments which seek answers
to crucial questions about their use of resources and are willing to accept the burden and the
challenge of joining in scientific research.

Patrick V. Murphy
Police Foundation

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment vii


Police patrol strategies have always been based on two unproven but widely accepted
hypotheses: first, that visible police presence prevents crime by deterring potential offenders;
second, that the public’s fear of crime is diminished by such police presence. Thus, routine
preventive police patrol was thought both to prevent crime and reassure the public.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department conducted an experiment from October
1, 1972, through September 30, 1973, designed to measure the impact routine patrol had on
the incidence of crime and the public’s fear of crime. This experiment, made possible by Police
Foundation funding, employed a methodology which accurately determined that traditional
routine preventive patrol had no significant impact either on the level of crime or the public’s
feeling of security.

Three controlled levels of routine preventive patrol were used in the experimental areas.
One area, termed “reactive,” received no preventive patrol. Officers entered the area only in
response to citizen calls for assistance. This in effect substantially reduced police visibility in
that area. In the second area, called “proactive,” police visibility was increased two to three
times its usual level. In the third area, termed “control,” the normal level of patrol was
maintained. Analysis of the data gathered revealed that the three areas experienced no
significant differences in the level of crime, citizens’ attitudes toward police services, citizens’
fear of crime, police response time, or citizens’ satisfaction with police response time.

What do these results mean?

A great deal of caution must be used to avoid the error of believing that the experiment
proved more than it actually did. One thing the experiment did not show is that a visible police
presence can have no impact on crime in selected circumstances. The experiment did show
that routine preventive patrol in marked police cars has little value in preventing crime or
making citizens feel safe.

It would be a grave error to assume that this study implies in any way that fewer police
officers are needed in any specific jurisdiction. The study shows something quite different, with
profound implications for police administrators. The experiment revealed that the
noncommitted time of the police officers (60 percent in the experiment) can be used for
purposes other than routine patrol without any negative impact on public safety.

We believe that the preventive patrol experiment suggests that deployment strategies
should be based on specific crime prevention and service goals as opposed to routine
preventive patrol. The Kansas City Police Department is currently attempting to improve its
delivery of services to the public by using resources freed from routine patrol to achieve new
levels of police and community cooperation through its Interactive Patrol Project. At the same
time, we are moving into a major program designed to develop directed patrol deployment

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment viii

The results of the preventive patrol experiment described in this report repudiated a
tradition prevailing in police work for almost 150 years. The toppling of traditions brings forth
uneasiness inherent in the process of great change. Yet, the experiment demonstrated
something that should make the great changes we face less disturbing. The project was
conceived by patrol personnel and executed by them with technical assistance from
researchers. Thus, it is apparent that, with the right kind of leadership and assistance, urban
police departments have the capability to mount successful controlled experiments necessary
to develop viable alternatives to the obsolescent concept of preventive patrol.

Joseph D. McNamara
Chief of Police
Kansas City, Missouri

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment ix


The evaluation of the preventive patrol experiment was a massive and complex job to
complete. The considerable difficulties to be expected in large-scale social experimentation and
evaluation were compounded by two additional major factors. One was the speed with which
the experiment and the evaluation data collection had to be mounted once the Kansas City
Police Department generated the momentum necessary to start and to sustain the experiment.
The other factor was the relative inexperience at the time of those who had to take on the
processes of experimentation and evaluation.

The summary and technical reports deal frankly with the problem and difficulties these
factors caused or allowed to occur and how and to what extent their consequences were
surmounted or minimized by administrative action within the police department or by use of
multiple approaches, analytical techniques, and sheer hard work by members of the evaluation
team. This experiment, like the relatively few other social experiments which have been fully
recorded, was not perfect. However, it is a tribute to both the department and to the
experiment’s evaluators led by Dr. George L. Kelling that these things can be said:

• Despite occasional trespassing across experimental boundaries, experimental
conditions were maintained reasonably well;

• Despite some early measurement design mistakes, trouble in collecting some
items of data and added labor to validate or to correct other data items, an
immense mass of data usable for the purposes to which it was to be put was
collected and processed;

• Through analysis of these data, using in many instances techniques in the
forefront of methodological development, assessments from a multiplicity of
measures and angles of view yielded consistent evidence of the lack of effects of
any consequence on crime, citizen fear or satisfaction due to either increasing or
decreasing routine patrol within the range of variation tested.

If any effects occurred that could be ascribed to the experiment, they were so subtle as
to escape detection by any of the elaborate array of measurements that were used.

A good deal was learned from the Kansas City experience about what to expect in
mounting, conducting, and evaluating major experiments in policing. Some things were
learned that could help to avoid certain problems in other such experiments, some about what
to do to abate their consequences another time, some—as life would have it—about what must
simply be endured. It is hoped that distribution of the summary report and the large technical
report on the experiment will help other courageous police departments, and evaluators who
work with such departments, to test new or old ideas better and more easily.

The Police Foundation specifically welcomes the additional insights into methodology
and practice that will undoubtedly come from the review of these reports by other researchers,
evaluators, and police practitioners. It is by such open exchange, as the Foundation continues
to publish methods and results of experiments developed in partnership with leading police
agencies, that objective knowledge and confidence in the experimental approach to police

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment x

questions will grow.

A key element in the thoroughness of the two reports on the experiment and in the full
interpretative analyses they contain was the dedicated professional assistance rendered by the
Police Foundation Evaluation Advisory Group. Members of this group who reviewed several
drafts of these reports are:

Professor Francine Rabinovitz Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Albert J. Reiss, Jr. Department of Sociology
Yale University

Professor Lee Sechrest Department of Psychology
University of Florida

Professor Hans Zeisel The Law School
University of Chicago

We are particularly indebted to Professor Donald T. Campbell, of the Psychology
Department of Northwestern University, for agreeing at very short notice to be an additional
reader of the technical report. His views and advice have been both encouraging and helpful.

Joseph H. Lewis
Director of Evaluation
Police Foundation

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment xi


This study was funded by the Police Foundation and has involved the efforts of police
officers, police administrators, foundation staff, academic consultants and evaluators.

Special appreciation is expressed to FBI director Clarence M. Kelley, the former chief of
the Kansas City Police Department, who made the preventive patrol experiment possible
through his support of the department’s South Patrol Task Force and of those officers who
developed the project. The support of Joseph D. McNamara, the current chief of police, assured
the successful completion of the experiment. The support of the police department was also
assured through the activities of Lt. Col. Bryce Thompson, Lt. Col. James Newman, Maj.
Willard Shaffer, Maj. Guy Hines, and Maj. Sidney Harlow. For direct program assistance we
thank police officers Michael Travis, Donald Johnson, and James Post.

The work of Mark Furstenberg, formerly a Police Foundation associate director, was
crucial and significantly enhanced the development and ultimate completion of the experiment.
Consultant Robert Wasserman assisted the Kansas City Police Department in articulating its
experimental plans and developing the resources to carry through with this experiment.
Especially noted is Thomas Sweeney’s ongoing work within the police department’s Operations
Resource Unit. His effort has helped to maintain the inquiring atmosphere necessary for
experimentation. As foundation-assisted programs developed within the department, assistant
foundation director Catherine Milton provided continuous support and encouragement in her
role as program officer.

The Midwest Research Institute is thanked for providing technical assistance and
support services. This effort included instrument development, survey sample design, survey
coordination, preparation of data, and data analyses.

Consultation to project development and analysis was provided by Wanzer Drane, PhD,
Southern Methodist University; J.T. Evanson, PhD, University of Wisconsin; Herman
Goldstein, University of Wisconsin; Irving Piliavin, PhD, University of Wisconsin; G. William
Walster, PhD, University of Wisconsin; Carl S. Werthman, PhD, University of California; and
Victor L. Willson, PhD, University of Minnesota.

Additional thanks go to Charles Rogovin, former president of the foundation, for his
early support of the project; William H.T. Smith, staff director of the foundation; Thomas F.
McBride, former staff director of the foundation; Thomas Brady, communications director of
the foundation; Sharon J. Winkler, public information office for the foundation; Michael E.
Carbine, writing consultant to the foundation’s Kansas City evaluation staff; Phil Sawicki,
editorial consultant to the foundation; and Janet Stafford of the foundation staff.

The authors wish to express particular gratitude to foundation president Patrick V.
Murphy for his support and patience during the hectic and trying period of data analysis and
preparation of this report.

Joseph H. Lewis, director of evaluation for the foundation, is most specially thanked for
his support throughout the entire experiment and for his suggestions. His constant stabilizing

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment xii

wisdom was always present, and his guidance was always helpful and never inhibiting.

Finally, appreciation is expressed to all those Kansas City police officers and
supervisors who helped to maintain the experiment and carry it through to its conclusion.
Without their help, it is doubtful that the experiment could have succeeded.

George L. Kelling
Tony Pate
Duane Dieckman
Charles E. Brown

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment xiii


George L. Kelling Director of the Police Foundation Kansas City Evaluation


Tony Pate Senior Analyst

Duane Dieckman Midwest Research Institute Coordinator

Charles E. Brown Police Officer, Kansas City Police Department

Contributing Authors

Michael E. Carbine Writing Consultant

Jon Lorence Analyst

Robert L. Daniel Analyst-Observer

Craig B. Fraser Analyst

Mark W. Haist Analyst-Observer

Barbara Kuszmaul Research Assistant

Alexander Vargo Research Assistant, Midwest Research Institute


Charles W. Bay Administrative Assistant

William Bieck Observer

Teresa A. Bogdanovich Typist, Midwest Research Institute

Audrey Choden Research Assistant, Midwest Research Institute

Sophronia N. Coffman Secretary

Peter Dreier Observer

Jay Goldstein Programmer

Leah Scott Henderson Research Assistant

Lynn Jones Graphics, Adco Studio

Florence Kanter Typist

John Martinson Programmer

Connie S. McKee Secretary

Patricia L. Swatek Typist

Philip Travers Observer

Michael Travis Observer, Police Officer, Kansas City Police Department

Connie White Secretary

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 1


Ever since the creation of a patrolling force in 13th century Hangchow, preventive patrol by
uniformed personnel has been a primary function of policing. In 20th century America, about
$2 billion is spent each year for the maintenance and operation of uniformed and often
superbly equipped patrol forces. Police themselves, the general public, and elected officials
have always believed that the presence or potential presence of police officers on patrol
severely inhibits criminal activity.

One of the principal police spokesmen for this view was the late O.W. Wilson, former
chief of the Chicago Police Department and a prominent academic theorist on police issues. As
Wilson once put it, “Patrol is an indispensable service that plays a leading role in the
accomplishment of the police purpose. It is the only form of police service that directly
attempts to eliminate opportunity for misconduct. . . .” Wilson believed that by creating the
impression of police omnipresence, patrol convinced most potential offenders that
opportunities for successful misconduct did not exist.

To the present day, Wilson’s has been the prevailing view. While modern technology,
through the creation of new methods of transportation, surveillance and communications, has
added vastly to the tools of patrol, and while there have been refinements in patrol strategies
based upon advanced probability formulas and other computerized methods, the general
principle has remained the same. Today’s police recruits, like virtually all those before them,
learn from both teacher and textbook that patrol is the “backbone” of police work.

No less than the police themselves, the general public has been convinced that routine
preventive patrol is an essential element of effective policing. As the International City
Management Association has pointed out, “for the greatest number of persons, deterrence
through ever-present police patrol, coupled with the prospect of speedy police action once a
report is received, appears important to crime control.” Thus, in the face of spiraling crime
rates, the most common answer urged by public officials and citizens alike has been to
increase patrol forces and get more police officers “on the street.” The assumption is that
increased displays of police presence are vitally necessary in the face of increased criminal
activity. Recently, citizens in troubled neighborhoods have themselves resorted to civilian
versions of patrol.

Challenges to preconceptions about the value of preventive police patrol were
exceedingly rare until recent years. When researcher Bruce Smith, writing about patrol in
1930, noted that its effectiveness “lacks scientific demonstration,” few paid serious attention.

Beginning in 1962, however, challenges to commonly held ideas about patrol began to
proliferate. As reported crime began to increase dramatically, as awareness of unreported
crime became more common, and as spending for police activities grew substantially,
criminologists and others began questioning the relationship between patrol and crime. From
this questioning a body of literature has emerged.

Much of this literature is necessarily exploratory. Earlier researchers were faced with
the problem of obtaining sufficient and correct data, and then devising methodologies to

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 2

interpret the data. The problems were considerable, and remain so.

Another problem facing earlier investigators was the natural reluctance of most police
departments to create the necessary experimental conditions through which definitive answers
concerning the worth of patrol could be obtained. Assigned the jobs of protecting society from
crime, of apprehending criminals, and of carrying out numerous other services such as traffic
control, emergency help in accidents and disasters, and supervision of public gatherings,
police departments have been apprehensive about interrupting their customary duties to
experiment with strategies or to assist in the task of evaluation.

It was in this context that the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, under a grant
from the Police Foundation, undertook in 1972 the most comprehensive experiment ever
conducted to analyze the effectiveness of routine preventive patrol.

From the outset the department and the Police Foundation evaluation team agreed that
the project design would be as rigorously experimental as possible, and that while Kansas City
Police Department data would be used, as wide a data base as possible, including data from
external measurements, would be generated. It was further agreed that the experiment would
be monitored by both department and foundation representatives to insure maintenance of
experimental conditions. Under the agreement between the department and the foundation,
the department committed itself to an eight-month experiment provided that reported crime
did not reach “unacceptable” limits within the experimental area. If no major problems
developed, the experiment would continue an additional four months.

The experiment is described in detail later in this summary. Briefly, it involved
variations in the level of routine preventive patrol within 15 Kansas City police beats. These
beats were randomly divided into three groups. In five “reactive” beats, routine preventive
patrol was eliminated and officers were instructed to respond only to calls for service. In five
“control” beats, routine preventive patrol was maintained at its usual level of one car per beat.
In the remaining five “proactive” beats, routine preventive patrol was intensified by two to three
times its usual level through the assignment of additional patrol cars and through the frequent
presence of cars from the “reactive” beats.

For the purposes of measurement, a number of hypotheses were developed, of which
the following were ultimately addressed:

(1) crime, as reflected by victimization surveys and reported crime data, would not
vary by type of patrol;
(2) citizen perception of police service would not vary by type of patrol;
(3) citizen fear and behavior as a result of fear would not vary by type of patrol;
(4) police response time and citizen satisfaction with response time would vary by
experimental area; and
(5) traffic accidents would increase in the reactive beats.

The experiment found that the three experimental patrol conditions appeared not to
affect crime, service delivery and citizen feelings of security in ways the public and the police
often assume they do. For example:

• as revealed in the victimization surveys, the experimental conditions had no significant
effect on residence and non-residence burglaries, auto thefts, larcenies involving auto
accessories, robberies, or vandalism—crimes traditionally considered to be deterrable

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 3

through preventive patrol;
• in terms of rates of reporting crime to the police, few differences and no consistent

patterns of differences occurred across experimental conditions;
• in terms of departmental reported crime, only one set of differences across experimental

conditions was found and this one was judged likely to have been a random

• few significant differences and no consistent pattern of differences occurred across
experimental conditions in terms of citizen attitudes toward police services;

• citizen fear of crime, overall, was not affected by experimental conditions;
• there were few differences and no consistent pattern of differences across experimental

conditions in the number and types of anti-crime protective measures used by citizens;
• in general, the attitudes of businessmen toward crime and police services were not

affected by experimental conditions;
• experimental conditions did not appear to significantly affect citizen satisfaction with

the police as a result of their encounters with police officers;
• experimental conditions had no significant effect on either police response time or

citizen satisfaction with police response time;
• although few measures were used to assess the impact of experimental conditions on

traffic accidents and injuries, no significant differences were apparent;
• about 60 percent of a police officer’s time is typically noncommitted (available for calls);

of this time, police officers spent approximately as much time on non-police related
activities as they did on police-related mobile patrol; and

• in general, police officers are given neither a uniform definition of preventive patrol nor
any objective methods for gauging its effectiveness; while officers tend to be ambivalent
in their estimates of preventive patrol’s effectiveness in deterring crime, many attach
great importance to preventive patrol as a police function.

Some of these findings pose a direct challenge to traditionally held beliefs. Some point
only to an acute need for further research. But many point to what those in the police field
have long suspected—an extensive disparity between what we want the police to do, what we
often believe they do, and what they can and should do.

The immediate issue under analysis in the preventive patrol experiment was routine
preventive patrol and its impact on crime and the community. But a much larger policy issue
was implied: whether urban police departments can establish and maintain experimental
conditions, and whether such departments can, for such experimentation, infringe upon that
segment of time usually committed to routine preventive patrol. Both questions were answered
in the affirmative, and in this respect the preventive patrol experiment represents a crucial first
step, but just one in a series of such steps toward defining and clarifying the police function in
modern society.

What the experiment did not address was a multitude of other patrol issues. It did not,
for example, study such areas as two-officer patrol cars, team policing, generalist-specialist
models, or other experiments currently underway in other departments. The findings of this
experiment do not establish that the police are not important to the solution of crime or that
police presence in some situations may not be helpful in reducing crime. Nor do they
automatically justify reductions in the level of policing. They do not suggest that because the
majority of a police officer’s time is typically spent on non-crime related matters, the amount of
time spent on crime is of any lesser importance.

Nor do the findings imply that the provision of public services and maintenance of order

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 4

should overshadow police work on crime. While one of the three patrol conditions used in this
experiment reduced police visibility in certain areas, the condition did not withdraw police
availability from those areas. The findings in this regard should therefore not be interpreted to
suggest that total police withdrawal from an area is an answer to crime. The reduction in
routine police patrol was but one of three patrol conditions examined, and the implications
must be treated with care.

It could be argued that because of its large geographical area and relatively low
population density, Kansas City is not representative of the more populous urban areas of the
United States. However, many of the critical problems and situations facing Kansas City are
common to other large cities. For example, in terms of rates of aggravated assault, Kansas
City ranks close to Detroit and San Francisco. The rate of murder and manslaughter per
100,000 persons in Kansas City is similar to that of Los Angeles, Denver and Cincinnati. And
in terms of burglary, Kansas City is comparable to Boston and Birmingham. Furthermore, the
experimental area itself was diverse socioeconomically, and had a population density much
higher than Kansas City’s average, making the experimental area far more representative and
comparative than Kansas City as a whole might be. In these respects, the conclusions and
implications of this study can be widely applied.

*The historical presentation should be viewed with care, since many episodes, concerns and
problematic areas have been omitted in the interests of brevity. Chapter II of the technical report deals in
greater detail with the events leading to the experiment, while Chapter IV discusses many of the technical
and administrative problems experienced during that time. A comprehensive description of the
experiment’s development would require a volume in itself, and an analysis of the organizational
dynamics involved in designing and administering the preventive patrol experiment will be published by
the Kansas City evaluation staff at a later date.

**In this report, routine preventive patrol is defined as those patrol activities employed by the
Kansas City Police Department during the approximately 35 percent of patrol duty time in which officers
are not responding to calls for service, attending court or otherwise unavailable for self-initiated activities.
(The 35 percent figure was a pre-experimental estimate developed by the Kansas City Police Department
for use in determining officer allocation.) Information made available daily to patrol officers includes
items such as who in their beats is wanted on a warrant, who is wanted for questioning by detectives,

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 5


The impetus for an experiment in preventive patrol came from within the Kansas City
Police Department in 1971. While this may be surprising to some, the fact is that by that year
the Kansas City department had already experienced more than a decade of innovation and
improvement in its operations and working climate and had gained a reputation as one of the
nation’s more progressive police departments.

Under Chief Clarence M. Kelley, the department had achieved a high degree of
technological sophistication, was receptive to experimentation and change, and was peppered
with young, progressive and professional officers. Short- and long-range planning had become
institutionalized, and constructive debates over methods, procedures and approaches to police
work were commonplace. By 1972, this department of approximately 1,300 police officers in a
city of just over half a million—part of a metropolitan complex of 1.3 million—was open to new
ideas and recommendations, and enjoyed the confidence of the people it served.

As part of its continuing internal discussions of policing, the department in October of
1971 established a task force of patrol officers and supervisors in each of its three patrol
divisions (South, Central and Northeast), as well as in its special operations division
(helicopter, traffic, tactical, etc.).* The decision to establish these task forces was based on the
beliefs that the ability to make competent planning decisions existed at all levels within the
department and that if institutional change was to gain acceptance, those affected by it should
have a voice in planning and implementation.

The job of each task force was to isolate the critical problems facing its division and
propose methods to attack those problems. All four task forces did so. The South Patrol
Division Task Force identified five problem areas where greater police attention was deemed
vital: burglaries, juvenile offenders, citizen fear, public education about the police role, and
police-community relations.

Like the other task forces, the South task force was confronted next with developing
workable remedial strategies. And here the task force met with what at first seemed an
insurmountable barrier. It was evident that concentration by the South Patrol Division on the
five problem areas would cut deeply into the time spent by its officers on preventive patrol.** At

what criminals are active in their beats and type and location of crimes which have occurred during the
previous 24 hours. The officers are expected to be familiar with this information and use it during their
non-committed time. Accordingly, routine preventive patrol includes being guided by this information
while observing from police cars, checking on premises and suspicious citizens, serving warrants,
checking abandoned vehicles, and executing other self-initiated police activities. Thus routine preventive
patrol in Kansas City is informed activity based upon information gathered from a wide variety of sources.
Whether Kansas City’s method of preventive patrol is typical is hard to say with exactness. Clearly, some
departments place more emphasis on pedestrian checks, car checks, and field interrogating than does
Kansas City (experiments on some of these activities are now taking place elsewhere). Preventive patrol
as practiced in Kansas City has some unique characteristics but for the most part is typical of preventive
patrol in urban areas.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 6

this point a significant thing happened. Some of the members of the South task force
questioned whether routine preventive patrol was effective, what police officers did while on
preventive patrol duty, and what effect police visibility had on the community’s feelings of

Out of these discussions came the proposal to conduct an experiment which would test
the true impact of routine preventive patrol. The Police Foundation agreed to fund the
experiment’s evaluation.

As would be expected, considerable controversy surrounded the experiment, with the
central question being whether long-range benefits outweighed short-term risks. The principal
short-term risk was seen as the possibility that crime would increase drastically in the reactive
beats; some officers felt the experiment would be tampering with citizens’ lives and property.

The police officers expressing such reservations were no different from their
counterparts in other departments. They tended to view patrol as one of the most important
functions of policing, and in terms of time allocated, they felt that preventive patrol ranked on
a par with investigating crimes and rendering assistance in emergencies. While some admitted
that preventive patrol was probably less effective in preventing crime and more productive in
enhancing citizen feelings of security, others insisted that the activities involved in preventive
patrol (car, pedestrian and building checks) were instrumental in the capture of criminals and,
through the police visibility associated with such activities, in the deterrence of crime. While
there were ambiguities in these attitudes toward patrol and its effectiveness, all agreed it was a
primary police function.

Within the South Patrol Division’s 24-beat area, nine beats were eliminated from
consideration as unrepresentative of the city’s socioeconomic composition. The remaining 15-
beat, 32-square mile experimental area encompassed a commercial-residential mixture, with a
1970 resident population of 148,395 persons and a density of 4,542 persons per square mile
(significantly greater than that for Kansas City as a whole, which in 1970 with only 1,604
persons per square mile, was 45th in the nation). Racially, the beats within this area ranged
from 78 percent black to 99 percent white. Median family income of residents ranged from a
low of $7,320 for one beat to a high of $15,964 for another. On the average, residents of the
experimental area tended to have been in their homes from 6.6 to 10.9 years.

Police officers assigned to the experimental area were those who had been patrolling it
prior to the experiment, and tended to be white, relatively young, and somewhat new to the
police department. In a sample of 101 officers in the experimental area taken across all three

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 7

shifts, 9.9 percent of the officers were black, the average age of the officers was 27 years, and
average time on the force was 3.2 years.

The 15 beats in the experimental area were computer matched on the basis of crime
data, number of calls for service, ethnic composition, median income and transiency of
population into five groups of three each. Within each group, one beat was designated
reactive, one control, and one proactive. In the five reactive beats, there was no preventive
patrol as such. Police vehicles assigned these beats entered them only in response to calls for
service. Their noncommitted time (when not answering calls) was spent patrolling the
boundaries of the reactive beats or patrolling in adjacent proactive beats. While police
availability was closely maintained, police visibility was, in effect, withdrawn (except when
police vehicles were seen while answering calls for service).

In the five control beats, the usual level of patrol was maintained at one car per beat.
In the five proactive beats, the department increased police patrol visibility by two to three
times its usual level both by the assignment of marked police vehicles to these beats and the
presence of units from adjacent reactive beats.

Other than the restrictions placed upon officers in reactive beats (respond only to calls
for service and patrol only the perimeter of the beat or in an adjacent proactive beat), no
special instructions were given to police officers in the experimental area. Officers in control
and proactive beats were to conduct preventive patrol as they normally would.

It should be noted, however, that the geographical distribution of beats (see Figure 1)
avoided clustering reactive beats together or at an unacceptable distance from proactive beats.
Such clustering could have resulted in lowered response time in the reactive beats.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 8

Figure 1







P = Proactive
C = Control
R = Reactive

It should also be noted that patrol modification in the reactive and proactive beats
involved only routine preventive patrol. Specialized units, such as tactical, helicopter and K-9,
operated as usual in these beats but at a level consistent with the activity level established the
preceding year. This level was chosen to prevent infringement of these specialized units upon
experimental results.

Finally, it should be noted that to minimize any possible risk through the elimination of
routine preventive patrol in the reactive beats, crime rate data were monitored on a weekly
basis. It was agreed that if a noticeable increase in crime occurred within a reactive beat, the
experiment would be suspended. This situation, however, never materialized.

While the Kansas City experiment began on July 19, 1972, both department and Police
Foundation monitors recognized by mid-August that experimental conditions were not being
maintained, and that several problems had arisen. Chief Kelley then saw to it that these
problems were rectified during a suspension of the experiment.

One problem was manpower, which in the South Patrol Division had fallen to a
dangerously low level for experimental purposes. To correct this problem additional police
officers were assigned to the division and an adequate manpower level restored. A second
problem involved violations of the project guidelines. Additional training sessions were held,
and administrative emphasis brought to bear to ensure adherence to the guidelines. A third
problem was boredom among officers assigned to reactive beats. To counter this, the
guidelines were modified to allow an increased level of activity by reactive-assigned officers in

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 9

proactive beats. These revisions emphasized that an officer could take whatever action was
deemed necessary, regardless of location, should a criminal incident be observed. The revised
guidelines also stressed adherence to the spirit of the project rather than to unalterable rules.

On October 1, 1972, the experiment resumed. It continued successfully for 12 months,
ending on September 30, 1973. Findings were produced in terms of the effect of experimental
conditions on five categories of crimes traditionally considered to be deterrable through
preventive patrol (burglary, auto theft, larceny—theft of auto accessories, robbery and
vandalism) and on five other crime categories (including rape, assault, and other larcenies.)
Additional findings concerned the effect of experimental conditions on citizen feelings of
security and satisfaction with police service, on the amount and types of anti-crime protective
measures taken by citizens and businessmen, on police response time and citizen satisfaction
with response time, and on injury/fatality and non-injury traffic accidents. The experiment
also produced data concerning police activities during tours of duty, and police officer attitudes
toward preventive patrol.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 10


In measuring the effects of routine preventive patrol, it was decided to collect as wide a
variety of data from as many diverse sources as possible. By so doing, it was felt that
overwhelming evidence could be presented to prove or disprove the experimental hypotheses.

To measure the effects of the experimental conditions on crime, a victimization survey,
departmental reported crime, departmental arrest data, and a survey of businesses were used.
While reported crime has traditionally been considered the most important indicator of police
effectiveness, the accuracy of both reported crime and arrest data as indicators of crime and
police effectiveness has come under scrutiny in recent years. Both types of data are subject to
wide degrees of conscious and unconscious manipulation, and to distortion and
misrepresentation. Because of these, a criminal victimization survey was used as an
additional source of data.

Victimization surveys were first used by the President’s Commission on Law
Enforcement and Administration of Justice. These surveys revealed that as much as 50
percent of crime was unreported by victims, either from neglect, embarrassment, or a feeling
that the crimes were not worth reporting. Although victimization surveys also have their
limitations, they can be an important way of measuring crime. Thus a victimization survey
was used by the experiment to measure this key outcome variable.

To measure the impact of experimental conditions on community attitudes and fear,
attitudinal surveys of both households and businesses (in conjunction with the victimization
surveys) and a survey of those citizens experiencing direct encounters with the police were
administered. Estimates of citizen satisfaction with police services were also recorded by
participant observers.

Overall, in collecting data for the experiment, the following sources were used:

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 11

Surveys and Questionnaires


Community Survey

rates of reporting

5. Encounter Survey – Observers

6. Noncommitted Time Survey

2. Commercial Survey
rates of reporting


Response Time Survey


3. Encounter Survey – Citizens

8. Response Time Survey

9. HRD Survey

4. Encounter Survey – Officers

10. Officer Questionnaire

Interviews and Recorded Observations

1. “Player” Observations 3. Participant Observer Interviews

2. Officer Interviews 4. Participant Observer Transaction

Departmental Data

1. Reported Crime 4. Computer Dispatch Data

2. Traffic Data 5. Officer Activity Analysis Data

3. Arrest Data 6. Personnel Records

Because many of these sources were used to monitor the degree to which experimental
conditions were maintained or to identify unanticipated consequences of the experiment, only
findings derived from the following data sources are presented in this report:

Community Survey

The community survey, which measured community victimization, attitudes and fear,
was taken on a before and after basis. A sample of 1,200 households in the experimental area
(approximately 80 per beat) was randomly selected and interviewed in September of 1972. In

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 12

September of 1973, 1,200 households were again surveyed, approximately 600 chosen from
the same population as the 1972 survey (for a repeated sample) and 600 chosen randomly
from the experimental area (for a non-repeated sample). Since 11 cases had to be excluded
because of missing data, the 1973 sample totalled 1,189.

Commercial Survey

The commercial survey involved interviews conducted both in 1972 and 1973 with a
random sample of 110 businesses in the experimental area to measure victimization rates and
businessmen’s perceptions of and satisfaction with police services.

Encounter Survey (both citizen and participant observers)

Because household surveys tend to interview relatively few citizens who have
experienced actual contact with the police, citizens in the three experimental areas who
experienced direct encounters with police officers were interviewed. Although three survey
instruments were developed (one to elicit the response of the citizens, a second for the police
officers, and a third for the observers riding with the officers), only the observer and citizen
responses were analyzed. Identical questions were used as often as possible. The survey was
conducted over a four-month period (July through October, 1973). Interviewed were 331
citizens who were involved in either an officer-initiated incident (car check, pedestrian check or
a traffic violation) or citizen-initiated incident (one in which the citizen called for police service:
burglary, robbery, larceny, assault, etc.).

Participant Observer Transaction Recordings

While the community encounter survey focused on the location of the police-citizen
contact, the observer transaction recordings focused on police-citizen interactions in terms of
the assignment of the officer involved (reactive, control or proactive beats). These data were
obtained by observers while riding with officers assigned to the experimental area, and involved
observer estimates of citizen satisfaction as a result of direct contact with the police.
Observations covered all three watches in all 15 beats. As a result, 997 incidents of police-
citizen transactions were systematically recorded.

Reported Crime

Monthly totals for reported crime by beat over the October 1968 through September
1972 (pre-experimental) period and over the October 1972 through September 1973
(experimental) period were retrieved from departmental records. Time-series analyses were
then performed on these data to produce the findings.

Traffic Data

Two categories of traffic accidents were monitored: non-injury and injury/fatality.
Monitoring was maintained over two time periods, October 1970 through September 1972 for
the pre-experimental period, and October 1972 through September 1973 for the experimental

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 13

Arrest Data

Arrest data by month and beat for the experimental year and the three preceding years
were obtained from departmental records.

Response Time Survey

Police response time in the experimental area was recorded between May and
September 1973 through the use of a response time survey completed by the participant
observers and those citizens who had called the police for service. In measuring the time
taken by the police in responding to calls, emphasis was placed on field response time (i.e.,
the amount of time occurring between the time a police unit on the street received a call from
the dispatcher and the time when that unit contacted the citizen involved). In measuring
citizen satisfaction with response time, the entire range of time required for the police to
answer a call was considered (i.e., including time spent talking with the police department
operator, police dispatcher, plus field response time).

Methodology and Maintenance of Experimental Conditions

Because multiple dimensions of the possible effects of the experiment were examined,
differing methods of analysis were applied to the data generated. Detailed discussions of
these and other factors concerning the experiment’s methodology, including a discussion of
the sampling error, can be found in the technical report and its appendices. A discussion of
the methods used to determine the extent to which desired levels of patrol coverage were
achieved, the degree to which experimental conditions were maintained, and whether the
criminal world realized that routine patrol strategies had been modified and to what extent
patterns of behavior changed as a result can be found in Chapter III of the technical report.
In summary, the data sources used to analyze these factors point to the overall maintenance
of experimental conditions.

Spillover Effect

One major concern in an experiment of this type is the so-called spillover or
displacement theory, i.e., that as crime decreases in one area due to increased police
presence, it will increase in other, usually contiguous, areas. This would mean that the effect
of the experiment within the experimental area would be offset by counter-effects in other
areas. To test this, various correlations between contiguous beats were calculated and
analyzed. Except for auto theft, there were no noticeable alterations in the correlations of
crime levels. These results, combined with an examination of the actual monthly crime
figures, tend to indicate that, in general, there was no spillover effect. Results of the
calculations can be found in the appendices to the technical report.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 14


The essential finding of the preventive patrol experiment is that decreasing or
increasing routine preventive patrol within the range tested in this experiment had no effect on
crime, citizen fear of crime, community attitudes toward the police on the delivery of police
service, police response time, or traffic accidents. Given the large amount of data collected and
the extremely diverse sources used, the evidence is overwhelming. Of the 648 comparisons
made to produce the 13 major findings that follow, statistical significance occurred only 40
times between pairs, or in approximately 6 percent of the total. Of these 40, the change was
greater 15 times in reactive beats, 19 times in control beats, and 6 times in proactive beats.

Findings of the experiment are presented in terms of the impact that the range of
variation in preventive patrol used in this experiment had upon the following:

• community victimization
• departmental reported crime
• rates of reporting crime to the police
• arrest trends
• citizens’ fear of crime
• protective measures used by citizens
• protective measures used by businesses
• community attitudes toward the police and the delivery of police services
• businessmen’s attitudes toward the police and the delivery of police services
• citizen attitudes toward the police as a result of encounters with the police
• estimation of citizen-police transactions
• police response time
• traffic incidents

The tables used in this document to illustrate the findings are summary tables which
compress elaborate amounts of data. Presentation of the data in this form presents numerous
problems in that much information is lost in summary. For example, actual numbers,
direction of the findings, and discussion of those methodologies used for analyses are not
included. Because of this, the findings are considered in their most generalized form; the sole
issues are statistical significance and whether or not routine preventive patrol, within the
range of variation tested, had an impact on the experimental area. The details of that impact
are not presented. Consequently, as mentioned earlier, the findings outlined here cannot be
used for specific planning purposes.

On the other hand, presentation in this manner allows for an overview, and focuses on
only the most significant findings. Given the importance of the issue and the difficulties
inherent in proving the effects of such experiments, emphasis is placed on the large amounts
of data collected from diverse sources, and the overwhelming tendency of the data to point in a
single direction.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 15


These tables present three kinds of information: (1) the matter being studied, (2) the
probability that a finding is statistically significant (as opposed to numerically different by
chance), and (3) if significance is found, the direction of that significance. Table A, for
example, reports on findings in the area of citizen estimates of victimization by robbery with
no distinction as to whether the robbery occurred inside or outside a structure:

Table A

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Crime Type

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Robbery – No Distinction
Between In or Outside



R = C
R = C



In Table A, column 1 indicates that citizens were asked whether they had been
robbed, and that the robberies were subsequently categorized as “no distinction between
inside and outside” since respondents were unable to, or did not, indicate whether the
robbery had taken place inside or outside a structure.

The “N” and “R” in column 2 indicate whether the information was derived from the
non-repeated sample (N) or the repeated sample (R).

Column 3 indicates overall “P” or probability value, i.e., how likely it is that
differences of this size between pairs of experimental conditions could have been the result
of happenstance rather than of the effects of the experimental conditions. Social science
generally cites “.05” as the required level of significance, meaning that there is only a 5
percent likelihood that the results could have occurred by chance (or a 95 percent chance
that the results were the effect of experimental conditions). Column 3, therefore, presents
the overall P in terms of the statistical presentation p .25. Symbols > and < indicate which of two items in an equation is the larger. Just as “a=b” indicates that a and b equal each other, “a>b” shows that a is greater than b, while “a.25 means that the probability that the findings could have occurred by
chance is greater than 25 percent. Using the standard that a finding is “statistically
significant” only when it could have occurred by chance no more than 5 percent of the time,
this finding would not be considered significant.

Since there are so few findings of statistical significance in the results, it has been
decided not to clutter the tables in this summary report with numerical values in this
column except when significance is achieved. Therefore column 3 is left blank in all tables
except when a statistically significant difference between pairs of experimental conditions
was found.

A statistically significant finding can be found in Table 3 (page 19) under the
category “Residence Burglaries” and appears in column 3 as follows:


This means that the probability of the observed differences occurring by chance is greater
than 2.5 out of a hundred but less than 5. Thus, the traditional level of statistical
significance (.05) has been achieved, and it can be assumed that the observed differences

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 16

are not due to random fluctuations.
Columns 4, 5, and 6 in Table A present the statistical relationship between the three

experimental conditions (reactive, control and proactive). Column 4 compares the findings
in the reactive and control beats, column 5 compares the findings in the reactive and
proactive beats, and column 6 compares findings in the control and proactive beats. Each
column contains three possibilities. For example, in column 4, the following possibilities

R=C (meaning that statistically speaking, changes in the reactive and control
beats between 1972 and 1973 were the same)

R>C (meaning that statistically speaking, either the increase was greater or
the decrease was smaller in the reactive beats than in the control beats)



Finding 1: Victimization

The Victimization Survey found no statistically significant differences in crime in any of the 69
comparisons made between reactive, control and proactive beats.

This finding would be expected for such categories as rape, homicide and common or
aggravated assault. For one thing, these are typically impulsive crimes, usually taking place
between persons known to each other. Furthermore, they most often take place inside a
building, out of sight of an officer on routine preventive patrol. The spontaneity and lack of
high visibility of these crimes therefore, make it unlikely that they would be much affected by
variations in the level of preventive patrol.

Given traditional beliefs about patrol, however, it is surprising that statistically
significant differences did not occur in such crimes as commercial burglaries, auto theft and

Nonetheless, as measured by the victimization survey, these crimes were not
significantly affected by changes in the level of routine preventive patrol. Table 1 shows data
and findings from the Community and Commercial Surveys in regard to victimization.

Finding 2: Departmental Reported Crime

Departmental Reported Crimes showed only one statistically significant difference among 51
comparisons drawn between reactive, control and proactive beats.

Statistical significance occurred only in the category of “Other Sex Crimes.” This
category, separate from “Rape,” includes such offenses as molestation and exhibitionism.
Since this category is not traditionally considered to be responsive to routine preventive patrol,
however, it appears likely that this instance of significance was a statistically random
occurrence. Table 2 presents reported crime data and findings.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 17

Community and Commercial Survey

Crime Type Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Robbery – No Distinction
Between In or Outside




Robbery – Inside


Common Assault



Aggravated Assault


Other Sex Crimes


Residence Burglary


Non-Residence Burglary
(Commercial) R R=C R=P C=P

Auto Theft


Vandalism (Community)


Vandalism (Commercial) R R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Auto Acc.


Larceny – All Other


All Crimes Combined


Rape N

Too few cases to justify
statistical analysis

Homicide N

Too few cases to justify
statistical analysis

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 18


Crime Type Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Robbery – Inside R=C R=P C=P

Robbery – Outside R=C R=P C=P

Common Assault R=C R=P C=P

Aggravated Assault R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Purse Snatch R=C R=P C=P

Rape R=C R=P C=P

Other Sex Crimes .01C R=P C=P

Homicide R=C R=P C=P

Residence Burglary R=C R=P C=P

Non-Residence Burglary R=C R=P C=P

Auto Theft R=C R=P C=P

Vandalism R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Auto Accessory R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Theft from Auto R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Bicycle R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Shoplift R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Theft from Bldg. R=C R=P C=P

Finding 3: Rates of Reporting Crime

Crimes which citizens and businessmen said they reported to the police showed statistically
significant differences between reactive, control and proactive beats in only five of 48
comparisons, and these differences showed no consistent pattern.

Of the five instances of statistical significance, three involved vandalism and two
residence burglary. But where statistical significance was found, no consistent pattern
emerged. On two occasions the change was greater in the control beats, on two occasions
greater in the proactive beats, and once it was greater in the reactive beats. Given the low
number of statistically significant findings combined with a lack of consistent direction, the
conclusion is that rates of reporting crimes by businessmen and citizens were unaffected by
the experimental changes in levels of patrol.

Table 3 shows the data and findings.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 19

Community and Commercial Survey

Crime Type Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Robbery – No Distinction Between In
or Outside



Common Assault
N **


Aggravated Assault
N **

R **

Other Sex Crimes

R **

Residence Burglary
N .025C R=P C


Non-Residence Burglary (Commercial) R R=C R=P C=P

Auto Theft


Vandalism (Community)

R .001P

Vandalism (Commercial) R R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Auto Accessory


Larceny – All Other


** Too few cases to justify statistical analysis

Finding 4: Arrest Patterns

Police arrests showed no statistically significant differences in the 27 comparisons made between
reactive, control and proactive beats.

While arrest totals for 16 categories of crime were determined, it will be noted that in
seven categories—common assault, larceny-purse snatch, homicide, non-residence burglary,
auto theft, larceny-auto accessory, and larceny-bicycle—either the number of arrests was too
small to allow for statistical analysis, or the pre-experimental pattern of arrests was so
distorted that statistical significance could not be determined. On the basis of the
comparisons that could be made, however, the conclusion is that arrest rates were not

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 20

significantly affected by changes in the level of patrol.

Table 4 shows the data and findings.

Table 4: ARRESTS

Crime Type Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Robbery – No Distinction Between In or


Common Assault **1

Aggravated Assault R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Purse Snatch **2

Rape R=C R=P C=P

Other Sex Crimes R=C R=P C=P

Homicide **2

Residence Burglary R=C R=P C=P

Non-Residence Burglary **1

Auto Theft **1

Vandalism R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Auto Accessory **2

Larceny – Theft from Auto R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Bicycle **1

Larceny – Shoplift R=C R=P C=P

Larceny – Theft from Bldg. R=C R=P C=P

**1 Not statistically analyzed because of the nature of the variations in the data in the pre-experiment period.
**2 Number of arrests is too small to allow for statistical analysis.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 21


Citizen Fear of Crime

The experiment measured community attitudes toward many aspects of crime and
police performance to determine whether varying levels of routine preventive patrol—reactive,
control, proactive—had any significant effect upon these attitudes. Previous investigators,
including Roger Parks and Michael Maltz, have shown that citizens can recognize, or at least
sense, changes in levels of service or innovations in policing.

Thus, through the Community and Commercial Surveys which provided the
victimization information used in the previous section of this summary, citizen attitudes
toward crime and police were also measured before and after the experiment.

The first attitude measured was citizen fear of crime, determined by (1) a series of
questions in the Community Survey designed to probe levels of fear; (2) a series of questions in
the Community Survey regarding protective and security measures taken by citizens; and (3)
questions in the Commercial Survey about protective and security measures used by
businessmen at their place of business.

Finding 5: Citizen Fear of Crime

Citizen fear of crime was not significantly affected by changes in the level of routine preventive

In the Community Survey, citizen estimates of neighborhood safety and perceptions of
violent crimes were obtained. Citizens were then asked what they thought the probability was
that they might be involved in various types of crime, including robbery, assault, rape,
burglary and auto theft.

Of the 60 comparisons made between experimental areas, statistical significance was
found in only five cases. Three involved the probability of being raped, one the probability of
being robbed, and one the probability of being assaulted. The change in the level of fear was
greater in reactive beats four times and greater in proactive beats once.

Yet when statistical significance is found, the patterns are inconsistent. For example,
all cases in which the change in the reactive beats are significantly higher than in other beats
are found in the repeated sample. These findings are not confirmed by the non-repeated
sample, however. The one area in which control registered the higher change occurs in the
non-repeated sample, but this is not confirmed by the repeated sample.

The findings thus lead to the conclusion that citizen fear is not affected by differences
in the level of routine preventive patrol.

Table 5 shows the data and findings.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 22

Community Survey

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Estimate of Neighborhood Safety


Perceptions of Violent Crimes


Probability of Being Robbed
N .01


Probability of Being Assaulted

R .01P C=P

Probability of Being Raped on the


R p<.001 R>C R>P C=P

Probability of Being Raped in


R p<.001 R=C R>P C=P

Resident Being Burglarized When



Resident Being Burglarized When



Probability of Auto Theft


Mean Probability of Being Victimized


Finding 6: Protective Measures (Citizens)

Protective and security measures taken by citizens against the possibility of being involved in
crime were not significantly affected by variations in the level of routine preventive patrol.

The questions asked of citizens in the Community Survey on this subject dealt with the
installation of such devices as bars, alarms, locks and lighting, the keeping of various types of
weapons or dogs for protection, and the taking of certain actions, such as staying inside, as
preventive measures.

Here, 84 comparisons were made between experimental areas, with statistical
significance occurring 11 times. The significance occurred most often (6 times) in those beats
where preventive patrol had not changed, that is, in control beats. The change in the reactive

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 23

beats showed significance three times, and in the proactive beats twice. There is no apparent
explanation for the fact that the use of protective measures supposedly increased in the control
beats relative to the other two conditions. For the most part, the findings are inconsistent and
occur either in the non-repeated sample or the repeated sample but never uniformly in both.

Thus, as measured by the use of protective and security measures, experimental
preventive patrol conditions did not significantly affect citizen fear of crime.

Table 6 shows the data and findings.

Finding 7: Protective Measures (Businesses)

Protective and security measures taken by businesses in the experimental area to protect offices
or other places of business did not show significant differences due to changes in the level of
routine preventive patrol.

In the Commercial Survey, businessmen were asked such questions as whether they
had installed alarm systems or reinforcing devices such as bars over windows, whether they
had hired guards, or whether they kept watchdogs or firearms in their places of business.

All told, 21 comparisons were made and statistical significance was found once, where
the change in the control beats was the greater as compared with the reactive beats.

Because this was a telephone survey, however, some problems with the findings were
evident. Briefly, some businessmen were reluctant to talk about protective measures over the
phone to persons unknown to them. This is discussed more fully in the technical report.

The conclusion remains, however, that preventive patrol variations seem to have little
effect on fear of crime as indicated by protective measures taken by commercial

Table 7 shows the data and findings.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 24

Community Survey

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Have you installed or do you have
special or extra locks on doors?



Have you installed or do you have
special locks or bars on windows?



Have you installed or do you have
additional outside lighting?


R .025C R>P C=P

Have you installed or do you have
burglary alarms or security alarms?

N .025P


Do you own a dog for protection?


Do you try not to go out during the



Do you try not to go out at night?


Do you have guns in the house?


Do you load guns that you have always
had in the house?


R .01C R=P C

Do you carry a gun?


Do you carry a knife to protect

N p=.001 RP


Do you carry a club, baseball bat, lead
pipe or anything else like that?

N .025P


Do you carry a chemical repellent like
tear gas or mace?



All protective measures?


POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 25

Commercial Survey

Protective Measure Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Outside Alarm Systems
Central Alarm Systems
Reinforcing Measures
Guard or Watchman
Keeping Firearms in Place of Business
All Protective Measures .025




Citizen Attitudes Toward Police

In addition to investigating citizen fear of crime and criminals, the preventive patrol
experiment delved into citizen attitudes toward the police. Residents in the experimental area
were asked, for instance, about the need for more police officers, about variations in patrol,
police officer reputations and effectiveness, police treatment of citizens, and about their
satisfaction with police service.

The attitudes of businessmen toward police were studied in the course of the preventive
patrol experiment for a variety of reasons. One was simply that businessmen’s attitudes have
seldom been studied in the past, although these people are often affected by crime in ways
more crucial to their survival than are citizens in general. It is not only the businessman’s
personal comfort and safety that may be involved, but also the ability to remain in business,
that may be affected by crime. At the same time, businessmen are often influential in their
communities. For these reasons, assessing their attitudes is often crucial to the development
of new policing programs. Therefore, businessmen were asked similar questions about police
effectiveness, treatment of citizens and so forth.

While the study of such attitudes is valuable in obtaining the impressions of a
significant cross-section of the community, most of the citizens and businessmen interviewed
were unlikely to have experienced recent actual contact with the police. Thus, another part of
the preventive patrol experiment focused on determining citizens’ responses to actual
encounters with police officers. To determine such responses, citizens themselves, the police
with whom they came in contact, and trained observers were all asked to complete reports on
the encounter. Citizens were interviewed as soon as possible after the incident. Separate
questionnaires were used, depending on whether the encounter was initiated by an officer or
by a citizen.

Finally, a fourth measure was used to determine citizen attitudes. Here, in what has
been given the title “Police-Citizen Transactions,” the trained observers focused on the outcome
of police-citizen interactions in terms of the patrol assignment of the officer involved, that is,
reactive, control or proactive.

The next findings deal with citizen attitudes toward police, businessmen’s attitudes
toward police, police-citizen encounters initiated either by citizens (calls for service) or police

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 26

(traffic arrests, suspect apprehension, etc.) and finally police-citizen transactions.

Finding 8: Citizen Attitudes Toward Police

Citizen attitudes toward police were not significantly affected by alterations in the level of
preventive patrol.

A large number of questions in the Community Survey were designed to measure
citizen attitudes toward the police. As a result, more comparisons were made here than in
other cases and more instances of statistical significance were found. Altogether, 111
comparisons were made and statistical significance occurred 16 times. Items with significant
differences included the need for more police officers in the city, the reputation of police
officers, citizens’ respect for police, police effectiveness, harassment, and change in
neighborhood police officers.

Of the 16 instances of significance, the change in reactive beats was greater five times,
in control beats ten times, and in proactive beats once, demonstrating no consistent pattern of
statistical significance. The indication is that there was little correlation between level of patrol
and citizen attitudes.

Table 8 shows the data and findings.


Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Need for more neighborhood police officers N R=C R=P C=P


Need for more police officers in the entire

N .025C R=P C=P


Perception of time neighborhood officers
spend on car patrol



Preference for amount of time police should



Perceived amount of time police spend on
aggressive patrol



Amount of time community prefers police
spend on aggressive patrol

N .001


Perception of neighborhood police-
community relations



Perception of neighborhood police officers’

N .025

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 27


Reputation of Kansas City police officers
N 0.25P


Respect for neighborhood police
N .001P


Effectiveness of neighborhood officers in
fighting crime



Effectiveness of Kansas City police in
fighting crime

N .01P


Police treatment of whites

R .025

Police treatment of minorities


Harassment by neighborhood police officers N .001P

R .001

Harassment by Kansas City police officers N .01C R=P C=P

R .001C R>P C=P

Change in neighborhood police officers
N .001P C>P


Satisfaction with police service

R **

Neighbors’ respect for neighborhood officers N R=C R=P C=P


** Number of persons who called the police both years was too small for analysis

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 28

Finding 9: Businessmen’s Attitudes Toward Police

Businessmen’s attitudes toward police were not significantly affected by changes in the level of
routine preventive patrol.

Like citizens in the Community Survey, businessmen in the Commercial survey were
asked about their attitudes toward police. Some of the questions in the Commercial Survey
were similar to those in the Community Survey and some specially selected with regard to
businessmen’s interests.

In all, 48 comparisons were made to measure differences in businessmen’s attitudes,
but no statistically significant differences were found or even approached. The clear indication
here is that variations in the level of preventive patrol have no effect on businessmen’s

Table 9 shows the data and findings.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 29


Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Safety of neighborhood R=C R=P C=P

Crime in neighborhood as compared to previous years R=C R=P C=P

Effectiveness of Kansas City police in fighting crime R=C R=P C=P

How good a job the neighborhood police are doing in
fighting crime R=C R=P C=P

Relationship between the police and businessmen in
neighborhood R=C R=P C=P

Reputation of police in neighborhood R=C R=P C=P

Reputation of Kansas City police R=C R=P C=P

Respect for neighborhood police R=C R=P C=P

Number of police needed in neighborhood R=C R=P C=P

Number of police needed in Kansas City R=C R=P C=P

Amount of time spent by police in car patrol activities R=C R=P C=P

Amount of time that should be spent by police in car
patrol activities R=C R=P C=P

Satisfaction with police investigation R=C R=P C=P

Satisfaction with courtesy and concern during an
investigation R=C R=P C=P

Amount of time spent by police questioning and
searching R=C R=P C=P

Amount of time police should spend questioning and
searching R=C R=P C=P

Finding 10: Police-Citizen Encounters

Citizen attitudes toward police officers encountered through the initiative of either the citizen or the
officer were not significantly affected by changes in patrol level.

Citizen attitudes were measured by both questions asked of citizens themselves and
observations of trained observers. Citizens and observers alike were asked about such items
as response time, characteristics of the encounter, the attitude and demeanor of officers in the
encounter, and citizen satisfaction. Observers in officer-initiated encounters also recorded
things not likely to be noted by citizens, including the number of officers and police vehicles

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 30

Including both citizen-initiated and officer-initiated encounters, a total of 63
comparisons were made and no statistically significant differences were found.

Tables 10-A and 10-B show the data and findings.

(Citizen-Initiated Encounters)

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

(Citizen Response)

Response time evaluation R=C R=P C=P

Demeanor of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Attitude of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Characteristics of the encounter R=C R=P C=P

Satisfaction with encounter R=C R=P C=P

Evaluation of Kansas City Police Dept. R=C R=P C=P

(Observer Response)

Response time evaluation R=C R=P C=P

Demeanor of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Character of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Characteristics of the encounter R=C R=P C=P

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 31

(Officer-Initiated Encounters)

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

(Citizen Response)

Attitude of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Demeanor of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Characteristics of the encounter R=C R=P C=P

Citizen general satisfaction with police R=C R=P C=P

(Observer Response)

Number of police vehicles at incident scene R=C R=P C=P

Number of uniformed officers at the incident R=C R=P C=P

Demeanor of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Attitude of officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Character of the officer citizen spoke to most R=C R=P C=P

Characteristics of the encounter R=C R=P C=P

Satisfaction with the encounter R=C R=P C=P

Finding 11: Police-Citizen Transactions

The behavior of police officers toward citizens was not significantly affected by the officers’
assignment to a reactive, control or proactive beat.

The finding is distinct from the previous finding in that the focus here is upon the
police-citizen interaction in terms of the beat assignment of the officer rather than on the
location of the contact. (Many police contacts with citizens take place outside of the officer’s
beat.) Data were recorded by participant observers riding with the officers.

In all, 18 comparisons were made between experimental areas, and no statistically
significant differences were found.

Table 11 shows the data and findings.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 32

(Observer Records)

Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Citizen satisfaction with disposition of all
transactions R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with officer in all transactions R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with disposition of officer-
initiated transactions R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with disposition of citizen-
initiated transactions R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with officer in citizen-initiated
transactions R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with officer in citizen-initiated
transactions R=C R=P C=P


Experimental Findings in Regard to Police Response Time

The time it takes police officers to respond to a citizen call for assistance is usually
considered an important measure of patrol effectiveness. The general principle is that the
lower the response time, the more efficiently the police are doing their job.

But there are difficulties in determining how to measure response time given the
numerous possible segments involved. For instance, is the response time cycle complete when
the first officer arrives at the scene? Or when the last of several officers dispatched reaches
the scene? Or when the first officer contacts the person making the call? For the purposes of
the preventive patrol experiment, response time was defined as the time between receipt of a
call from a dispatcher to the point when that unit contacted the citizen involved. In measuring
citizen satisfaction with response time, the entire range of time required was considered,
beginning with the citizen’s contact with the police switchboard operator.

Response time was studied to see if experimental conditions would have any effect on
the amount of time taken by police in answering citizen calls for service. Before the
experiment began, the hypothesis was that experimental conditions would affect response
time, particularly in the proactive beats. It was believed that since more officers were assigned
to proactive beats, response time would be significantly reduced in those beats.

Finding 12: Response Time

The amount of time taken by police in answering calls for service was not significantly affected by
variations in the level of routine preventive patrol.

To obtain this finding, data were gathered on such matters as distance from police car
to scene of incident, mean time from receipt of calls to start of call, mean time from receipt of

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 33

call to arrival at scene, and observer’s estimate of patrol car speed. Citizen estimates of time
and satisfaction were also measured.

In the area of response time, a total of 42 comparisons were made between patrol
conditions. Statistical significance occurred only once: in the number of officers present at the
scene of incidents in the reactive beats. The reason for this is unclear, but it can be theorized
that police officers were exhibiting their concern for the safety of fellow officers and citizens in
reactive beats.

While variations in the level of patrol did not significantly affect police response time,
the Kansas City findings suggest that more research is necessary. It appears that response
time is not only the result of rate of speed and distance, but also reflects the attitude of the
officers involved and possibly other variables not investigated in this study.

Table 12 shows the data and findings.


Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Distance from location where call was received to
location of incident R=C R=P C=P

Mean time from receipt of call to start of call R=C R=P C=P

Mean time from receipt of call to arrival at incident R=C R=P C=P

Mean time from receipt of call to arrival of second
officer R=C R=P C=P

Mean time from receipt of call to citizen contact R=C R=P C=P

Observer’s estimate of speed R=C R=P C=P

Number of other officers present at incident scene .025P C=P

Citizen estimate of time spent speaking to police
department operation R=C R=P C=P

Citizen estimate of time spent speaking to police
dispatcher R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with police dispatcher R=C R=P C=P

Citizen estimate of time from call for service to
arrival of patrol car R=C R=P C=P

Citizen satisfaction with response time R=C R=P C=P

Citizen estimate of time officer spent at incident R=C R=P C=P

Citizen’s overall satisfaction with job officer did R=C R=P C=P

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 34

Experimental Findings in Regard to Traffic Accidents

Does police visibility through routine preventive patrol have an effect upon traffic
accidents? A common hypothesis is that it does, that reduction in patrol, for instance, will be
followed by an increase in traffic accidents. Therefore the preventive patrol experiment
involved some study of the presumed relationship.

The finding in this area is presented with considerable caution, however, since traffic
patterns played no role in the selection of the experimental beats. It is possible (and in fact
likely, given the area involved) that traffic patterns in the experimental area are not
representative, and thus would not allow for reliable findings. In addition, the findings
involved only accidents reported to the department by citizens and do not take into account
accidents which occurred but were not reported.

Finding 13: Traffic Accidents

Variations in the level of routine preventive patrol had no signifcant effect upon traffic accidents.

A total of six comparisons were made in this area, with statistical significance not
occurring in any.

Table 13 shows the data and findings.


Overall P R,C R,P C,P

Non-injury accidents R=C R=P C=P

Injury and fatality accidents R=C R=P C=P


Of the 648 comparisons used to produce the major findings of the preventive patrol
experiment, statistical significance between pairs occurred 40 times representing
approximately 6 percent of the total. Of these 40 findings, the change in the reactive beats was
greater 15 times, in the control beats 19 times, and in the proactive beats 6 times. Given the
large amount of data collected and the extremely diverse sources used, the overwhelming
evidence is that decreasing or increasing routine preventive patrol within the range tested in
this experiment had no effect on crime, citizen fear of crime, community attitudes toward the
police on the delivery of police service, police response time or traffic accidents.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 35


Since routine preventive patrol is conducted during noncommitted time (time available
for answering calls for service), it was deemed important to determine how officers typically
spend their noncommitted time. An observer survey was developed to measure use of
noncommitted time and to assess the effects of experimental conditions upon officer allocation
of noncommitted time. The survey classified activity during noncommitted time into
“stationary,” “mobile,” and “contacting personnel in the field.” Each category was further
divided between “police related” and “non-police related.”

Over a ten-week period (1,230 hours of observation), some 60 percent of the observed
time was found to be noncommitted. This figure varied little from one experimental area to
another (Table 14).


Committed Time




Reactive 37.73 62.27

Control 40.63 59.37

Proactive 40.69 59.31

All officers 39.69 60.31

Police patrol officers assigned to the reactive beats tended to spend more of their
noncommitted time (22.1 percent) on non-police related mobile and stationary activities (e.g.,
eating, resting, girl watching, personal phone calls, driving to relieve boredom, pleasure riding)
than did their proactive and control counterparts.

Examined in terms of individual police officers, the observations again revealed that
regardless of experimental conditions, police officers spent approximately the same amount of
their noncommitted time on non-police activities (25.5) as they spent on mobile police-related
activities (23.5 percent). As indicated in Table 15, police officers did not typically spend all
their time aggressively battling crime.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 36


Group Expenditure
% of




Mobile Police Related
Non-Police Related
Stationary & Contact Personnel Pol. Rel.




Mobile Police Related
Non-Police Related
Stationary & Contact Personnel Pol. Rel.




Mobile Police Related
Non-Police Related
Stationary & Contact Personnel Pol. Rel.




Mobile Police Related
Non-Police Related
Stationary & Contact Personnel Pol. Rel.



Six general kinds of noncommitted time activity were noted and classified by the
participant observers:

! stationary police related (report writing, waiting for tows, surveillance, traffic ordinance
enforcement, etc.);

! stationary non-police related (eating, resting, reading, rest calls, girl watching, phone
calls, visits, sleeping, watching movies or sporting events, etc.);

! mobile police related (looking for suspicious cars, people, stolen autos, traffic violations,
training new patrol officers, watching buildings and residences, etc.);

! mobile non-police related (driving to relieve boredom, girl watching, personal errands,

! contacting personnel in the field, police related (exchanging information about crime
suspects, discussing cases, policies, etc.);

! contacting personnel in the field, non-police related (general talk about hunting, cars, sex,
vacations, jokes, etc.); and

! residual (traveling to and from station, court, garage, headquarters, repair, etc.).

***A 90+ percent response rate was generated.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 37


Because the primary goal of the preventive patrol experiment was to measure the
effectiveness of routine patrol as a crime deterrent strategy, the experiment opened to question
a traditionally held theory of policing. Like other departments across the country, the Kansas
City Police Department strives to attain its objectives (reduction and prevention of crime,
provision of services requested by the public, maintenance of citizen feelings of security, etc.),
in large part through patrol activities, including heavy reliance on routine preventive patrol.

Many of the officers involved in the initial stages of the preventive patrol experiment
reacted predictably to reduction in routine patrol, warning that the reduction would be quickly
followed by increases in crime and citizen fear. Reaction from other officers outside the
experimental area was similar.

It was felt, therefore, that an assessment of officer attitudes toward patrol and toward
the experiment itself would provide valuable information and be highly relevant to the issues at
hand. To gather information, a questionnaire was designed and distributed to all police
officers assigned to the 15-beat experimental area.*** In addition, officer interviews, participant
observer interviews, a human resources development questionnaire (administered department-
wide by the Police Foundation and the department for general use) and discussions with Police
Academy training personnel were also used.

Discussions with academy officials and Kansas City police officers lead to the
conclusion that the tradition of preventive patrol is passed on to new officers in a very informal
manner. A Kansas City police officer’s initial exposure to the patrol concept occurs at the
academy, where guest speakers from various units of the department incorporate the concept
of routine patrol into their talks whenever relevant. This in itself tends to imply that routine
preventive patrol is considered a primary method for apprehending criminals and reducing and
preventing crime. No formal attempt, however, is made to provide police recruits with a
systematic assessment of the value, methods or effectiveness of preventive patrol.

Kansas City police officers receive their first field experiences under the supervision of
training officers, whose influence upon the recruits is clearly significant. For while recruits are
receiving a practical field experience, the training officers are further reinforcing the perceived
efficacy of routine preventive patrol through a myriad of informal techniques. This process
fails, however, to provide recruits with a method of assessing the utility of individual patrol
activities. It places the recruits in a position of having to determine for themselves the value of
routine preventive patrol only after having been influenced by the duties and responsibilities
already encountered in the field and as interpreted by their training officers.

The informal training given to recruits appears to stress the development of a
“systematically unsystematic” approach to patrol. No alternative methods are suggested. As a
result, the officer’s only option lies in the choice of location of patrol (within an assigned
boundary) rather than in method. The ambiguity in this approach results in varied
orientations toward patrol among supervising sergeants as well as patrol officers.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 38

One source of data used to determine the importance attached to the patrol function by
police officers was the Human Resources Development questionnaire, which asked, among
other things, how respondents rated the patrol function in terms of its importance within the
department, and how much time they felt the department should allocate to that function.
Three-fourths of those surveyed in the South Patrol Division more than moderately agreed that
routine patrol was the most important function of the department, while most officers then
indicated that patrol, along with investigating crimes and assisting in emergencies, was the
most important activity to which department time should be allocated (Tables 16 and 17).

But in-depth interviews with 18 police officers and the six observers revealed two
distinct orientations toward patrol and an ambivalence toward patrol’s value. On the one
hand, many of the officers interviewed felt that patrol was less effective in preventing crime
than it was in enhancing citizen feelings of security. (One possible reason for this could be the
fact that few crimes-in-progress are come upon by patrolling officers, and thus “good”
arrests—resulting in the clearance of a crime—rarely result from routine patrol activity.) On
the other hand, many officers tended to feel that such basic preventive patrol activities as car,
pedestrian and building checks were instrumental in the apprehension of criminals and the
deterrence of crime, despite the infrequency of criminal arrests resulting from such checks.
(Albert Reiss cites a New Orleans police study which found that only 15.5 percent of some
40,375 pedestrian checks resulted in arrests, while a 1972-1973 survey undertaken by the
South Patrol Task Force in Kansas City found that only 6.1 percent of 1,002 patrol stops
resulted in arrests.)

Table 16:

Total Responding = 178 0 = 1.94 S.D. = 1.05

Response of South Patrol Division

Police Officers

Strongly agree 42.2%

Moderately agree 32.8%

Slightly agree 1.7%

Slightly disagree 5.0%

Moderately disagree 0.6%

Strongly disagree 1.1%

No response 16.7%

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 39

Table 17:

Response of
South Patrol Division

Police Officers

Assist Persons in


Total Responding = 177
0 = 1.81
S.D. = 1.10

Investigating Crime

Total Responding = 176
0 = 1.84
S.D. = .92

Patrolling in Cars

Total Responding = 180
0 = 1.89
S.D. = .82

Very much 52.8 41.7 42.2

Much 0 33.9 36.1

About half 25.6 18.9 18.3

Little 11.7 1.7 3.3

Very little 1.7 1.7 0

None 6.7 0 0

No response 1.7 1.7 0

A majority of the interviewed officers said the only way to increase patrol’s deterrent
effectiveness would be through the greater use of unmarked police vehicles, i.e., a move toward
less visibility. Another change frequently favored was fewer uniformed and more plainclothes
officers. Those surveyed seemed to feel that the police uniform was most useful as a symbolic
tool for eliciting immediate response to authority in situations where deference to authority
was the quickest path to order. But they cited the uniform’s obvious disadvantage of affording
criminals instant recognition of police presence. A similar viewpoint argued for the greater use
of unmarked police vehicles. The officers felt that clearly marked police vehicles helped in the
prevention of automobile accidents and tended to enhance citizen feelings of security. But on
the other hand, many of the officers felt that marked cars militated against the apprehension of
criminals by again affording instant recognition. The general consensus among those
interviewed was that officers should be allowed to drive not only departmental unmarked cars
(with spotlights and two-way radio antennas) but also their own personal vehicles or cars
similar to those driven by civilians.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 40


The initial impetus behind the Kansas City preventive patrol experiment was the issue
of time and staff resources. When the South Patrol Task Force began its deliberations, the
concern was that any serious attempt to deal with priority problems would be confounded by
the need to maintain established levels of routine patrol. Thus, in addition to testing the effect
of various patrol strategies on such factors as crime, citizen fear and satisfaction, and response
time, the experiment equally addressed the question of whether adequate time can be
channeled to the development, testing and evaluation of new approaches to patrol.

From the beginning phases of this experiment, the evaluators formed hypotheses based
upon certain assumptions. One primary assumption was that the police, as an
institutionalized mechanism of social control, are seriously limited in their ability to both
prevent crime and apprehend offenders once crimes have been committed. The reasons for
these limitations are many and complex. But they include the very nature of the crime
problem itself, the limits a democratic society places upon its police, the limited amount of
resources available for crime prevention, and complexities within the entire criminal justice

As a result of these limitations, many have rightly suggested that we must now begin
revising our expectations as to the police role in society.

Because there are programmatic implications in the findings of this experiment, several
cautionary comments are offered.

During the course of the experiment a number of preliminary findings were reported
initially and subsequently reprinted in and editorialized upon in many major newspapers. A
weekly news magazine carried a brief and cryptic report on the experiment, suggesting that it
had produced evidence that patrol officers were unnecessary. This was subsequently picked
up by a television network and given further exposure. Public response to these stories was
unfortunate, but predictable. Unfamiliar with the issues of the experiment, and yet highly
sensitive to these issues, some saw the study as justification for limiting or reducing the level
of policing. Many saw it as a justification for two-officer cars. Others, fearing some of the
conclusions drawn above, simply rejected the study out of hand.

Such implications are unfortunate. Given the distinct possibility that the police may
more effectively deal with the problems of crime if they work more closely and systematically
with their communities, it may be that an increase rather than a decrease in the number of
police is warranted. It may be that, given a different orientation and strategy, an increase in
the number of police would increase chances for preventing crime. Those who drew manpower
reduction conclusions from the preliminary findings assumed that if the crime prevention
strategies currently being used did not work, no crime prevention strategies would work. This
is not believed to be the case and such an implication is not supported by this study. Police
serve a vital function in society, and their presence is of real and symbolic importance to

Nor does this study automatically lead to any conclusions about such programs as
team policing, generalist-specialist models, minority recruitment, professionalization of the
police or community relations programs. These are all package phrases embracing a wide

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 41

variety of programs. While some recent works attempt to define the exact nature of these
programs, most such terms remain ambiguous and for some, offensive.

These programs are attempting to deal with particular problems in the field of policing,
including police and citizen alienation, the fragmented nature of police work, the inability to
provide adequate supervision for police officers, the inability to coordinate the activities of
officers in a variety of areas, the inability to adequately transmit information from officer to
officer, from beat to beat, and from watch to watch, and the antiquated, quasi-military
organizational structure in predominant use. These problems exist, but they were not the
concern of this study.

The relevance of this study is not that it solves or even attempts to address many of
these issues which admittedly are interdependent and central to the ability of the police to deal
with crime. Rather, the experiment has demonstrated that the time and staff resources do
exist within police departments to test solutions to these problems. The next step, therefore,
will be to use that time and these findings in the development of new approaches to both patrol
and policing.

POLICE FOUNDATION: The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment 42


George L. Kelling, director of this evaluation and of the Police Foundation Evaluation Staff in
Kansas City, has been directing evaluations for the Police Foundation since 1971. Dr. Kelling
is a social worker, receiving his M.S.W. from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and his
PhD from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His publications have dealt principally with
law enforcement and correction.

Tony Pate is completing his doctoral dissertation at the University of Wisconsin—Madison
where he taught before joining the Police Foundation staff. His research has been in the fields
of methodology, political sociology, and social psychology.

Duane Dieckman has been on the Midwest Research Institute staff for five years. He has been
involved in a broad range of research projects, most of which include systems analysis,
simulation and modeling, and evaluation. Prior to joining MRI, he held supervisory positions
in computer systems groups and manufacturing sections for Western Electric. He has a B.A.
from the University of Missouri, and has taken courses from Western Electric’s Graduate
Engineering program in New York City.

Charles E. Brown has been a police officer with the Kansas City Police Department since
1965. Mr. Brown, currently on leave from the Kansas City Police Department, is a member of
the Foundation’s Evaluation Staff in Kansas City and is working toward his B.S. in Criminal
Justice at Central Missouri State University.

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs

National Institute of Justice


Perspectives on Polici

January 1990 No. 13

A publication of the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, and the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management,
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The Evolving Strategy of Police:
A Minority View

By Hubert Williams and Patrick V. Murphy
ed~~fbgg? l!q’q

. . . there is an underside to every age about which history does not
often speak, because history is writtenfr-om records left by the This is one in a series of rep0
privileged. We learn about politics fr-om the political leaders, about of the leading figures in Ame
economicsfrom the entrepreneurs,about slavery from the meetings at Hanard Universi
plantation owners, about the thinking of an agefrom its intellectual
elite. -Howard Zinn interested in the improvement and the future of policing can

share in the information and perspectives that were part of
extensive debates at the School’s Executive Session on

Introduction The police chiefs, mayors, scholars, and others invited to the
meetings have focused on the use and promise of such strategies

Kelling and Moore, in their recent interpretation of the as community-basedand problem-oriented policing. The
strategic history of American policing, succinctly summarize testing and adoption of these strategies by some police agencies
that history as falling generally into three eras: (1) political, signal important changes in the way American policing now
(2) reform, and (3) community.2 This attempt to create does business. What these changes mean for the welfare of
paradigms, as with all such attempts, should be seen citizens and the fulfillment of the police mission in the next

metaphorically, providing us with ways to crystallize the decades has been at the heart of the Kennedy School meetings
and this series of papers.complexities of history in simplified terms. Seen in this way,

their analysis provides useful insights and a clearer We hope that through these publications police officials and
interpretation of the changing role of police in American other policymakers who affect the course of policing will debate
society-at least with respect to the majority in that society. and challenge their beliefs just as those of us in the Executive
Despite its utility, we find their analysis disturbingly Session have done.

incomplete. It fails to take account of how slavery, segregation, The Executive Session on Policing has been developed and
discrimination, and racism have affected the development of administered by the Kennedy School’s Program in Criminal
American police departments-and how these factors have Justice Policy and Management and funded by the National
affected the quality of policing in the Nation’s minority
communities. Furthermore, we find Kelling and Moore to be
silent on the important role that minorities have played in the
past, and will play in the future, in affecting and improving the

– quality of policing in America. These omissions seriously
diminish the accuracy and objectivity of their analysis and
make it less useful than it otherwise could be in understanding
the past and predicting the future of American policing.

Institute of Justice and private sources that include the Charles
Stewart Mott and Guggenheim Foundations.

James K. Stewart
National Institute of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice

Mark H. Moore
Faculty Chairman
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

This paper addresses these omissions by adding a “minority
perspective.” Ours represents a “minority perspective” in two
different senses. First, our understanding of what factors have
shaped the evolution of policing was shared by only a minority
of those participating in the discussions of the Harvard
Executive Session on Community Policing. Whereas Kelling
and Moore (and many others) attempted to explain the
evolution of policing in terms of strategic choices made by
police executives who were developing a professional ideology,
we see policing as powerfully conditioned by broad social
forces and attitudes-including a long history of racism. They
see police departments as largely autonomous; we see them as
barometers of the society in which they operate.

C . . . the legal order not only countenanced
but sustained slavery, segregation, and
discrimination. ..and. . . the police were
bound to uphold that order .. . 9 9

Second, our view is particularly attuned to how institutions,
norms, and attitudes have dealt with racial minorities and how
those dealings affected the role of police during each of the eras
described by Kelling and Moore. More optimistically, we
believe that improvements have occurred in the last several
years and that further improvements are possible, although not
assured, in the future. We are particularly aware of the
implications for African-American minorities, but we believe
that the patterns set in these relations have importantly affected
relations with other racially distinctive minorities such as
Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and other people of color.

In this paper, we contend that the strategies of police in dealing
with minorities have been different from those in dealing with
others, that the changes in police strategies in minority
communities have been more problematic, and that, therefore,
the beneficial consequences of those changes for minorities
have been less noticeable. Specifically, we argue that:

The fact that the legal order not only countenanced but
sustained slavery, segregation, and discrimination for most of
our Nation’s history-and the fact that the police were bound to
uphold that order-set a pattern for police behavior and
attitudes toward minority communities that has persisted until
the present day. That pattern includes the idea that minorities
have fewer civil rights, that the task of the police is to keep
them under control, and that the police have little responsibility
for protecting them from crime within their communities.

The existence of this pattern of police behavior and attitudes
toward minority communities meant that, while important
changes were occurring in policing during our Nation’s history,

members of minority groups benefited less than others from
these changes–certainly less than it might have seemed from
the vantage point of the white community and the police
executives who were bringing about those changes.

The Kelling and Moore discussion of the “political era” of
policing, a period generally defined by them as extending from
after Reconstruction through the first decade of the twentieth
century, neglects the early role of the first varieties and
functions of police in this country-as well as the legal and
political powerlessness of minority communities in both the
North and the South. This omission means that their analysis
fails to recognize that members of those minority communities
received virtually none of the benefits of policing that were
directed to those with more political clout.

Many of the most notable advances in policing brought about
by the advent of the “reform era” proved to be elusive, if not
counterproductive, for minorities. Several of the hiring and
promotional standards, although implemented as antidotes to
the rampant nepotism and political favoritism that had
characterized policing during the “political era” proved to be
detrimental to blacks-just at the time when, to a limited
extent, because of their increasing political power, they were
beginning to acquire the credentials that would have allowed
them to qualify by the old standards.

The potential of “professional policing” during the reform era
was not fully realized—either for minorities or for
whites-until the civil rights revolution of the late 1960’s and
the coming to power of progressive mayors, both black and
white, and the police executives appointed by them who were
capable of bringing about changes relevant to blacks and other
minorities. It was that movement, led primarily by black
Americans, and that political empowerment that finally began
to produce the putative benefits of professional policing: a
fairer distribution of police services, less use of deadly force,
greater respect for individual rights, and equal opportunity for
minorities within the Nation’s police departments. Without that
movement, the promise of professional policing would have
remained hollow.

6 6 . . . minority communities received
virtually none of the benefits of policing. . .
directed to those with more political clout. 9 9

The minority community also played a key role in initiating
the era of community policing. It was the riots of the late
1960’s-and the election of many black and white progressive
mayors, who appointed likeminded police chiefs-that
stimulated broad social investments in police agencies,

therefore putting the issue of police-community relations
inescapably on the minds of police executives and the mayors
who appointed them. The fact that police actions triggered
many of the riots and then could not control them revealed to
everyone the price of having a police department backed only
by the power of the law, but not by the consent, much less
active support, of those being policed.

“. ..the riots of the late 1960’s …
stimulated broad social investments in
police agencies. .. 9 9

The era of community policing holds potential benefits and
hazards for the quality of American policing. The potential
benefits lie in the fundamental tenet of community policing: the
empowerment of communities to participate in problem solving
and decisions about delivery of services based on the needs of
individual neighborhoods. The hazards lie in the possibility of
excluding those communities that have been the least powerful
and least well organized and thus repeating the historical
patterns of race relations in the United States. If, however, the
more recent trends towards inclusion of African-Americans and
other minorities in policing and in the broader society are
continued, then community policing might finally realize a
vision of police departments as organizations that protect the
lives, property, and rights of all citizens in a fair and effective

The political era: Policing the powerless

Kelling and Moore argue that during the political era, from the
introduction of the “new police” in the 1840’s until the early
1900’s, American police derived both their authority and
resources from local political leaders. We maintain that their
account is based largely on an analysis of policing in the cities
of the northeastern United States, mostly following the Civil
War and Reconstruction, and omitting the importance of racial
and social conflicts in the origination of American police
departments. As such, their analysis omits several crucial parts
of the story of policing in America: the role of “slave patrols”
and other police instruments of racial oppression; the role of the
police in imposing racially biased laws; and the importance of
racial and social turmoil in the creation of the first versions of
America’s “new police.”

Most analyses of early American history reflect an
understandable, white, twentieth-century bias toward northern,
urban, white conditions. While the literature is replete with
studies of the growth of law enforcement in northern urban
areas in genera13 and northern cities such as Boston: ~ h i c a ~ o , ~
~e t ro i t ?and New York city? in particular, little attention has

been paid to police development outside the urban North.
Kelling and Moore reflect a similar bias. Since the vast majority
of blacks in the early years of America lived in the South, and
about 80 percent of those lived outside of cities, this perspective
creates a significant distortion.

Prominent police historian Samuel Walker has noted the
difficulty of establishing dates marking the origins of American
modern-style policing, that is, a system of law enforcement
involving a permanent agency employing full-time officers who
engage in continuous patrol of fixed beats to prevent crime. The
traditional analyses, based on urban evidence, have suggested
that such policing evolved from older systems of militias,
sheriffs, constables, and night watches, and culminated in the
“new police” of Boston in 1838, New York City in 1845,
Chicago in 1851, New Orleans and Cincinnati in 1852,
Philadelphia in 1854, St. Louis in 1855, Newark and Baltimore
in 1857,and Detroit in 1865 .~

As Richardson points out, however, these analyses neglect that:

[many other cities with] elaborate police arrangements were those
with large slave populations where white masters lived in dread of
possible black uprisings. Charleston, Savannah, and Richmond
provided for combined foot and mounted patrols to prevent slaves
from congregating and to repress any attacks upon the racial and
social status quo. In Charleston, for example, police costs
constituted the largest item in the municipal budget.9

Indeed, as both Walkerlo and Reichel” contend, there is a
strong argument to be made that the first American modern-
style policing occurred in the “slave patrols,” developed by the
white slave owners as a means of dealing with runaways.
Believing that their militia was not capable of dealing with the
perceived threat, the colonial State governments of the South
enacted slave patrol legislation during the 1740’s, e.g., in South

Foreasmuch [sic] as many late horrible and barbarous massacres
have been actually committed and many more designed, on the
white inhabitants of this Province, by negro slaves, who are
generally prone to such cruel practices, which makes it highly
necessary that constant patrols should be established.12

Neighboring Georgians were also concerned with maintaining
order among their slaves. The preamble to their 1757 law
establishing and regulating slave patrols contends:

. . . it is absolutely necessary for the Security of his Majesty’s
Subjects in this Province, that Patrols should be established under
proper Regulations in the settled parts thereof, for the better
keeping of Negroes and other Slaves in Order and prevention of
any Cabals, Insurrections or other Irregularities amongst them.13

Such statutes were eventually enacted in all southern States.
Although specific provisions differed from State to State,14

— – – – – – – –


most of these laws responded to complaints that militia duty
was being shirked and demands that a more regular system of
surveillance be established.

. . their analysis omits . . . the
importance of racial and social turmoil in
the creation of the first versions of
America’s ‘new police.’ 9 9

In Georgia, all urban white men aged sixteen to sixty, with the
exception of ministers of religion, were to conduct such patrol
“on every night throughout the year.” In the countryside, such
patrols were to “visit every Plantation within their respective
Districts once in every Month” and whenever they thought i t
necessary, “to search and examine all Negro-Houses for
offensive weapons and Ammunition.” They were also
authorized to enter any “disorderly tipling-House, or other
Houses suspected of harbouring, trafficking or dealing with
Negroes” and could inflict corporal punishment on any slave
found to have left his owner’s property without permission.


Foner points out that “slave patrols” had full power and
authority to enter any plantation and break open Negro houses
or other places when slaves were suspected of keeping arms; to
punish runaways or slaves found outside their plantations
without a pass; to whip any slave who should affront or abuse
them in the execution of their duties; and to apprehend and take
any slave suspected of stealing or other criminal offense, and
bring him to the nearest magistrate.16 Understandably, the
actions of such patrols established an indelible impression on
both the whites who implemented this system and the blacks
who were the brunt of it.

Reflecting the northern, urban perspective, Kelling and Moore
begin their consideration of American policing only after the
earliest “new police” were established in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
Even so, their analysis neglects to point out the importance of
the role played by social discord in general, and the minority
community in particular, in the creation of these departments.
Phenomenal increases in immigration, rapid population growth,
and major changes in industrialization led to more and more
people, many of whom were from an impoverished, rural
background, settling in an alien urban environment. Conflicts
between black freedmen and members of the white urban
working class significantly contributed to social unrest.

In 1830 Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States to study
prison reform. Unfamiliar with American norms, he was
surprised to discover that there was more overt hostility and
hatred toward blacks in the North, where slavery did not exist,
than in the South, where it did. Those who challenged the status

quo by demanding the abolition of slavery suffered verbal and
physical abuse in northern cities.17 This tension was reflected
in a number of race riots in the mid- 1830’s in America’s major
cities. New York City had so many racial disorders in 1834 that
it was long remembered as the “year of the riots.” Boston
suffered three major riots in the years 1834 to 1837, all of
which focused on the issues of anti-abolitionism or anti-
Catholicism. Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,”
experienced severe anti-Negro riots in 1838 and 1842; overall,
the city had eleven major riots between 1834 and 1849.
Baltimore experienced a total of nine riots, largely race-related,
between 1834 and the creation of its new police in 1857. In a
desperate attempt to cope with the social disorder brought about
by this conflict, America’s major cities resorted to the creation
of police departments. Clearly, this was a case of the political
system responding to incendiary conflict within the society at
large by demanding that the police be reorganized to deal with
those conflicts.

In their discussion of the political era, Kelling and Moore
observe that the police found their legitimacy either in politics
or in law. For blacks, both before and several generations after
the Civil War, neither of these bases of legitimacy provided
much, if any, opportunity to shape policing to their benefit. As
the authors point out, local political machines often recruited
and maintained police in their positions, from foot officer to
police chief. In return, the police encouraged voters to support
certain candidates and provided services designed to enhance
that support. Departments were organized in a decentralized
manner, giving officers a great deal of discretion in carrying out
their responsibilities. Police officers were closely linked to the
neighborhoods in which they patrolled, often living there and
usually of the same ethnic stock as the residents.

For those with political influence, this era provided close
proximity to power. Good jobs could be had. Special favors
could be obtained. The police could be expected to be
extremely sensitive to community concerns–or lose their jobs
if they were not.

6 6 . . . the first American modern-style
policing occurred in the ‘slave patrols’ . . . Y !

For those with no access to political power, however, the
situation was very different. Before slavery was abolished, the
issue of black political power in the South was moot. The
Constitution itself provides a sardonic reflection on the state of
political power assigned to slaves. The group of white delegates
assembled in Philadelphia never even considered slave
representation, slave votes, or slave power. The only issue was

whether a slave owner would enjoy a three-fifths increment of
representation for every slave he owned.

During the debate, William Paterson stated bluntly that slaves
were “no free agents, have no personal liberty, no faculty of
acquiring property, but on the contrary, are themselves
property” and hence like other property “entirely at the will of
the master.” To make certain there was no mistake, the
Constitution explicitly prohibited Congress from abolishing the
international slave trade to the United States before 1808.

c . . . de Tocqueville . . .was surprised to
discover that there was more overt hostility
and hatred toward blacks in the North . . . 9 9

Early American law enforcement officials in slave States were
empowered-and expected-to enforce statutes carrying out
the most extreme forms of racism, not restricted solely to
enforcing slavery. In 1822, for example, Charleston, South
Carolina, experienced a slave insurrection panic, caused by a
supposed plot of slaves and free blacks to seize the city. In
response, the State legislature passed the Negro Seamen’s Act,
requiring free black seamen to remain on board their vessels
while in Carolina harbors. If they dared to leave their ships, the
police were instructed to arrest them and sell them into slavery
unless they were redeemed by the ship’s master. The other
coastal slave States soon enacted similar legislation.

Berlin presents this brief synopsis of Southern justice:

Southem law presumed all Negroes to be slaves, and whites
systematically barred free Negroes from any of the rights and
symbols they equated with freedom. Whites legally prohibited
Negro freemen from moving freely, participating in politics,
testifying against whites, keeping guns, or lifting a hand to strike a
white person . . . In addition they burdened free Negroes with
special imposts, barred them from certain trades, and often tried
and punished them like slaves. To enforce their proscriptive codes
and constantly remind free Negroes of their lowly status, almost
every State forced free Negroes to register and cany freedom
papers, which had to be renewed periodically and might be
inspected by any suspicious white.18

Police supervision further strengthened the registration system.
City officials periodically ordered police to check the papers of
all newly arrived free Negroes or investigate freedmen who
failed to register or lacked visible means of supp0rt.~9

Outside the slave States, the rights of blacks were only
somewhat less restricted. Although Henry David Thoreau and
William Lloyd Garrison exaggerated when they called

Massachusetts a slave State, their harsh denunciation is a
reminder that a black person could be a slave there or in any of
the other “free” States because of the protection afforded by the
Federal and State constitutions for masters’ rights in fugitive
and sojourning slaves. It fell to agents of law enforcement,
constables and members of the day and night watches, to carry
out these laws. By 1800, some 36,505 northern Negroes still
remained in bondage, most of them in New York and New

Several northern States enacted gradual emancipation statutes
after the Revolution. Because such statutes freed only children
born after a specified date, howevel, many slaves remained
unaffected, and the freed children were held in apprenticeship
until some time in their adult years. The State of New Jersey
was typical. In 1804, the legislature freed the children born to
slave mothers after July 4 of that year; the child so freed would
be “apprenticed” to its mother’s owner, men until age 25,
women until 21. Only in 1844 did it remove all barriers to the
freeing of slaves. Again, these laws were also enforced by the
local constable.

Even after the northern States took action to free
slaves-ranging from constitutional provisions in Vermont in
1777 to gradual-abolition acts in New Jersey in 1804 and New
York in 18 17, the legal and political rights of blacks were quite
circumscribed. Every new State admitted to the Union after
1819 restricted voting to whites. Only five States-
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and
Vermont-provided equal voting rights for black and white
males. Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and California prohibited
black testimony in court if whites were a party to the
proceeding, and Oregon forbade Negroes to hold real estate,
make contracts, or maintain lawsuits. Massachusetts banned
intermarriage of whites with blacks and enforced segregation in
hotels, restaurants, theaters, and transportation. Berlin describes
a raid in 1853 in which St. Louis police raided well-known
hangouts of freedmen, whipped those who were unregistered,
and shipped them out of town. Such raids continued for almost
a year.21

Litwack describes the situation of northern blacks this way:

In virtually every phase of existence, Negroes found themselves
systematically separated from whites. They were either excluded
from railway cars, omnibuses, stagecoaches, and steamboats or
assigned to special “Jim Crow” sections; they sat, when permitted,
in secluded and remote comers of theaters and lecture halls; they
could not enter most hotels, restaurants, and resorts, except as
servants; they prayed in “Negro pews” in the white churches, and if
partaking of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, they waited until
the whites had been served the bread and wine. Moreover, they
were often educated in segregated schools, punished in segregated
prisons, nursed in segregated hospitals, and buried in segregated

Indeed, as pointed out by C. Vann Woodward, an eminent
historian of the South, “One of the strangest things about Jim
Crow [the laws and practices separating the races] was that the
system was born in the North and reached an advanced age
before moving South in f0rce.”~3

[mfree black seamen …dared to leave
their ships, the police were instructed to
arrest them and sell them into slavery .. . 9 9

With neither political power nor legal standing, blacks could
hardly be expected to share in the spoils of the political era of
policing. There were virtually no black police officers until well
into the twentieth century. Thus, police attention to, and
protection for, areas populated primarily by racial minorities
was rare during this era.

The reform era: Policing by the law
for those unprotected by it

According to Kelling and Moore’s interpretation, the basic
police strategy began to change during the early 1900’s. By the
1930’s, they argue, the reform era of policing was in full sway.
Strikingly, their discussion completely overlooks the
momentous events of the Civil War and Reconstruction, a time
of great change in the legal and political status of minorities.

In the earliest days of the Civil War, President Lincoln and
other northern politicians insisted that the issue of slavery had
little to do with the conflict. In fact, in July 186 1, when
Congress assembled in special session, one of its first acts was
to pass, almost unanimously, the Crittenden Resolution,
affirming that the “established institutions” of the seceding
States were not to be a military target. To a large extent, this
position was dictated by political forces-to keep the border
States in the Union, generate support among the broadest
constituency in the North, and weaken the Confederacy by
holding out the possibility that they could return to the Union
with their property, including their slaves, intact.24

Eventually, however, as the Confederacy put slaves to work as
military laborers and the presence of Union troops precipitated
large-scale desertion of plantation slaves, this policy was
overcome by events. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the
Emancipation Proclamation. Bowing to political reality,
however, he excluded from its purview the 450,000 slaves in
Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri; 275,000 in
Union-occupied Tennessee; and tens of thousands in occupied
portions of Virginia and Louisiana.

By 1864, the Senate approved the 13th amendment, abolishing
slavery throughout the Union, but it failed to receive the
necessary two-thirds majority in the House. Eventually, in
January 1865, this amendment narrowly won House approval
and was sent to the States for ratification. Although several
Southern legislatures were reluctant to lend their support, this
amendment was ratified by the end of the year. To some, this
not only ended one of America’s most shameful institutions but
offered the hope of the beginning of a Nation where North and
South, black and white, were ruled by one law impartial over
all. As we know with historical hindsight, such an interpretation
was far too optimistic.

Even at the time, questions were raised about the practical
implications of the amendment. James A. Garfield asked,
“What is freedom? Is it the bare privilege of not being
chained?. . .If this is all, then freedom is a bitter mockery, a
cruel delusion.” More to the point, Frederick Douglass
maintained, “Slavery is not abolished until the black man has
the ballot.”25

In fact, a political vacuum developed between 1865 and 1867 in
which the opponents of the extension of full citizenship to
blacks were able to exercise great influence. President Andrew
Johnson, with hopes of receiving the support of his fellow
Southerners in the election in 1868, left the definition of black
rights to the individual States. They accepted the opportunity
with a vengeance. In addition to prohibiting black suffrage, the
provisional legislatures passed the Black Codes, a series of
State laws intended to define the freedmen’s new rights and

6 6 In the earliest days of the Civil War,
President Lincoln … insisted that the issue
of slavery had little to do with the conflict. 9 3

Mississippi and South Carolina enacted the first and most
severe Black Codes toward the end of 1865. Mississippi
required all blacks to possess, each January, written evidence of
employment for the coming year. Laborers leaving their jobs
before the contract expired would forfeit wages already earned
and, as under slavery, be subject to arrest by any white citizen.
A person offering work to a laborer already under contract
risked imprisonment or a fine. Blacks were forbidden to rent
land in urban areas. Vagrants-under whose definition fell the
idle, disorderly, and those who “misspend what they
earn”-could be punished by fines or involuntary plantation
labor; other criminal offenses included “insulting” gestures or
language, “malicious mischief,” and preaching the Gospel
without a license. In case anything had been overlooked, the

– – – – –

legislature declared all existing penal codes defining crimes by
slaves and free blacks “in full force” unless specifically altered
by law. South Carolina’s Code barred blacks from any
occupation other than farmer or servant except by paying an
annual tax ranging from $10 to $100.26

6 6 [The 13th amendment] offered the hope
of the beginning of a Nation where North
and South, black and white, were ruled by
one law impartial over all. 9 9

Virtually all of the former Confederate States enacted such
laws. Blacks protested most bitterly, however, against
apprenticeship laws, which seized upon the consequences of
slavery-the separation of families and the freedmen’s
poverty-to provide planters with the unpaid labor of black
minors. Generally, these laws allowed judges to bind to white
employers black orphans and those whose parents were deemed
unable to support them. The former slave owner usually had
first preference, the consent of the parents was not required, and
the law permitted “moderate corporal chastisement.”*7

This entire complex of Black Codes was enforced:

. ..by a police apparatus and judicial system in which blacks
enjoyed virtually no voice whatever. Whites staffed urban police
forces as well as State militias, intended, as a Mississippi white put
it in 1865, to “keep good order and discipline amongst the negro

Sheriffs, justices of the peace, and other local officials proved
extremely reluctant to prosecute whites accused of crimes
against blacks. In those rare cases in which they did prosecute,
convictions were infrequent and sentences were far more
lenient than blacks received for the same crimes. For example,
Texas courts indicted some 500 white men for the murder of
blacks in 1865 and 1866, but not one was convicted.29

Largely in response to the Black Codes, Congress passed, over
President Johnson’s veto, the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This act
defined all persons born in the United States (except Indians) as
national citizens and spelled out rights they were to enjoy
equally without regard to race-making contracts, bringing
lawsuits, and enjoying “full and equal benefit of all laws and
proceedings for the security of person and property.” No State
law or custom could deprive any citizen of these rights.
Furthermore, Federal officials were authorized to bring suit
against violations and made all persons, including local
officials, who deprived a citizen of a civil right liable to fine or

To institutionalize the legal implications of the Civil War
beyond the reach of shifting political majorities and presidential
vetoes, Congress, after a long struggle, passed the 14th
amendment, providing, among other things, that equal
protection under the law be afforded to every citizen. Although
it implicitly acknowledged the right of States to limit voting
because of race, they could do so only at the expense of losing a
significant portion of their congressional representation.

The 1866 congressional election essentially became a
referendum on the 14th amendment-Republicans in favor,
President Johnson and the Democrats opposed. The
Republicans won an overwhelming victory, large enough to
give them well over the two-thirds majority required to ovemde
a veto. In contrast, all Southern legislatures except Tennessee
repudiated the amendment by enormous majorities.

Frustrated, and sensing its political strength, the Congress
passed, again over Johnson’s veto, the Reconstruction Act of
1867. This act divided the eleven Confederate States, except
Tennessee, into five military districts and stipulated the process
by which new State governments could be created and
recognizeb. This process required the ratification of the 14th
amendment, writing of new constitutions providing for
manhood suffrage, and approval of these constitutions by a
majority of registered voters.

After two years of “Presidential Reconstruction,” characterized
by a lack of commitment to the extension of full rights to
blacks, the era of “Radical Reconstruction” began. Given the
right to vote, many blacks participated in-and won–election
to the new State legislatures. To allay any concerns that the
issue had not been addressed completely, Congress passed the
15th amendment, providing the right to vote to all persons,
regardless of “race, color, or previous state of servitude,” and
prohibited the abridgement of that right by Federal and State
governments. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 outlawed the
exclusion of blacks from hotels, theaters, railroads, and other
public accommodations.

The results of black suffrage on policing were not long in
coming. Blacks appeared in several southern police
departments soon after Radical Reconstruction began,
especially where Republicans were in office and where blacks
constituted a large percentage of the population. Black police
appeared in Selma, Alabama, in 1867; Houston, Texas, in 1870;
and Jackson, Mississippi, in 187 1.30 In New Orleans, a
majority of whose population was black, a police board
composed of three black members out of five appointed a
police force that included 177 blacks by 1870.31

Such change was not always easy, however. In July 1868, in
Raleigh, North Carolina, under the headline “The Mongrel
Regime!! Negro Police!!” the Conservative Daily Sentinel
announced the appointment of four black police officers and

concluded that “this is the beginning of the end.”32 Race riots
occurred in Jackson and Meridian, Mississippi, because black
police attempted to use their police authority over ~ h i t e s . ~ 3

6 6 …apprenticeship laws …seized
upon the consequences of slavery. . . to
provide planters with the unpaid labor of
black minors. 9 9

In 1872, a Republican mayor in Chicago appointed the first
black policeman in the North, where black suffrage was not
required by Congress. Three years later, a mayor belonging to
the People’s Party replaced that officer with another black. In
1880, the Republicans won the mayor’s office again, resulting
in the appointment of four more black policemen. These
officers all worked in plain clothes-in part not to offend the
sensibilities of racist whites-and were assigned to black
neighborhoods, practices adopted in most departments that
hired blacks at that time. By 1894 there were 23 black
policemen in Chi~a~o.34 Blacks were appointed in other cities
in the North soon after those in Chicago: in Washington, D.C.,
in 1874; in Indianapolis in 1876; in Cleveland in 188 1 ;in
Boston in 1885.35

Lane provides one of the most thorough and fascinating
analyses of the political complexities involved in appointing the
first black police 0fficers.3~ The approximately 7,000 blacks in
Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward had become a consistent
Republican constituency, accounting for more than 10 percent
of the party’s vote. During the 1880 mayoral campaign,
however, the black vote became a target of both parties’
attention. Although the Seventh Ward voted overwhelmingly
for the Republican candidate, the winner was Samuel King, a
reform Democrat. Mayor King then appointed Alexander Davis
and three other black men to the police department.

The selection criteria applied in appointing these Philadelphia
officers reflect a common pattern in the choice of the earliest
black officers. As Lane points out:

In an era before any sort of civil service, when many officers were
semiliterate at best, the four blacks chosen, although currently
trapped in unskilled jobs, were characteristically overqualified.37

Davis, although born a slave, had graduated from Lincoln
University, worked as a schoolteacher, and founded a
newspaper. Only one of the other blacks appointed at that time
had no experience beyond “laboring work.”

Despite their qualifications, the appointment of the first black
police officers in Philadelphia produced the same responses as

were seen in many other cities. Several officers quit the force in
protest. The new men were assigned to beats in or near black
neighborhoods and immediately attracted crowds of spectators,
saying such things as “Ain’t he sweet?” or “Is the thing alive?”

As in Philadelphia, most departments, to appease the racial
attitudes of whites, did not allow black officers to arrest whites
or to work with white officers. Even as late as 1961, a study
reported by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement
and Administration of Justice found that 31 percent of the
departments surveyed restricted the right of blacks to make
felony arrests; the power of black officers to make
misdemeanor arrests was even more limited.38

Miami established a different designation for the two races:
blacks were “patrolmen” and whites were “policemen.” In
Chicago, blacks were largely confined to the Southside
districts; in St. Louis, the “black beats” ranged from the central
downtown area to the Northside. Los Angeles established a
special “black watch” for the predominantly black Newton
Station district.

After the initial dramatic changes brought about by the effects
of Radical Reconstruction, the situation for blacks-and
policing-began to revert to the status quo ante. As early as
1867, black suffrage went down to defeat in referendums in
Minnesota, Ohio, and Kansas. Moderates within the Republican
party began to back away from “extreme radical measures”
such as egalitarianism. The Ku Klux Klan, founded in 1866 in
Tennessee as a social club, launched a reign of terror against
Republican leaders, black and white. In some parts of the
South, armed whites blocked blacks from voting. Violence
spread, especially in Georgia and Louisiana where, unable to
hold meetings, Republicans abandoned their presidential
campaign. By 1868, Republicans, the stalwart supporters of
black rights, began to lose some of their strength in the S0uth.~9

6 Texas courts indicted some 500 white
men for the murder of blacks in 1865 and
1866, but not one was convicted. 9 9

By 1872, the presidential election focused on southern policy,
the Democrats emphasizing the evils of Reconstruction and the
need to restore local self-government. Although the
Republicans won, a significant number of former Radicals
supported the Democratic ticket, indicating that their campaign
themes were more powerful than the returns would indicate.

While political support for Radical Reconstruction waned,
debate about whether the 14th amendment applied only to
States raged throughout the Nation-and has continued to do so
even in the last decade. Presidents Grant and Hayes retreated

from strict enforcement of the so-called “Reconstruction
amendments.” The Supreme Court began to shift away from the
broad interpretation of the 13th amendment to the narrower
14th and 15th. This shift, in turn, encouraged legislators to
narrow their concerns as well.


6 6 Given the right to vote, many blacks
participated in-and won-election to the
new State legislatures. 9 9

In 1874, a long-awaited compilation of the United States laws,
known as the Revised Statutes, was produced. This document
rearranged the Nation’s laws into supposedly relevant, logical
categories. Inexplicably, however, this rearrangement failed to
list the Civil Rights Act of 1866 either in the published text or
in the “historical” documentation. Instead, various parts of the
1866 law were scattered throughout the document, under
various chapter headings. Civil rights as an independent subject
worthy of the attention of lawyers, judges, law professors, and
an entire generation of law students was neither easily
researched nor, by implication, important. One by one, case by
case, the legal rights of blacks were ruled away.

Against this already ominous backdrop came the Compromise
of 1877, by which the Federal Government agreed to end
Reconstruction, withdraw military forces from the South, and
cease enforcing civil rights laws. In exchange, the election of
the Republican candidate for president, Rutherford B. Hayes,
was assured. The dike that had laboriously been constructed
against racist retaliation was suddenly broken. The stage was
set for a massive reversal of the gains made in the previous 20

In 1883, the Supreme Court, in deciding five litigations joined
as the Civil Rights Cases, declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875
unconstitutional. Reflecting the earlier debates over the
Reconstruction amendments, the ruling was based on the
premise that those amendments prohibited only States, not
individuals, from infringing on the equal protection and due
process guaranteed to individuals by the Constitution.

Moreover, in 1896, the Supreme Court, in the landmark
decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, found State laws that required
segregation of the races in public accommodations to be
constitutional, thereby endorsing the proposition that public
facilities could be “separate but equal.” This decision virtually
completed the quarter-century-long process of standing the law
established by the Reconstruction amendments on its head. The
effects were quickly seen in police departments. In department
after department, blacks lost their jobs, either by dismissal or by
being forced to resign. The disappearance of blacks from the
New Orleans police department serves as the most dramatic

example of this trend. From a high of 177 black officers in
1870, the number dropped to 27 in 1880. By 1900, only five
black officers remained; by 1910 there were none. The city did
not appoint another black to the police force until 1950.

It is in this context that the Kelling and Moore discussion of the
reform era must be interpreted. They argue that police
reformers, led by August Vollmer and 0.W. Wilson, changed
the basic orientation of American policing in response to the
excesses of the political era. The paradigm thus adopted, they
contend, rejected politics as the source of authority for the
police, replacing it with law and professionalism.

In an effort to curtail the close relationship between local
political leaders and police, civil service replaced patronage and
influence in the selection, assignment, and retention of police
officers. Individual police officers were expected to avoid
becoming closely associated with, and therefore contaminated
by, the areas in which they patrolled. In some cases, they were
prohibited from living in their beats. To further eliminate local
political influence, functional control was centralized. By the
time this era had reached its peak, during the 1950’s and 1960’s,
police departments had become largely autonomous agencies,
led by professionals guided by law, immune from political

As dramatic as this change must have appeared to the white
middle-class inhabitants of America’s major cities, the
transition to the reform era was barely noticeable to blacks and
other minorities. Relying on law, rather than politics, as the
source of police authority had many desirable aspects for those
provided full protection by the law. Once again, however, for
those who lacked both political power and equal protection
under the law, such a transformation could have little

. . . black policemen . . . all worked in
plain clothes . . . and were assigned to black
neighborhoods . . . 9 9

Even the particular mechanisms implemented to bring about
reform proved to be of little avail to blacks and other
minorities. Civil service examinations, for example, designed to
avoid the influence of patronage and nepotism, provided slight
consolation for those who had been denied access to quality
education. These examinations, which according to some
experts, reveal less about the qualifications of the applicants
than about the cultural biases of the examiners, winnowed out a
far higher proportion of blacks than whites. In Boston, for
example, the examiners failed 75 percent of the blacks as
opposed to 35 percent of the whites in 1970. In Atlanta, in the

same year, 72 percent of the blacks and only 24 percent of the
whites failed. In New York, in 1968,65 percent of the blacks as
opposed to 31 percent of the whites failed. Mexicans and Puerto
Ricans fared even worse, perhaps because the tests were given
in English.40

6 6 Miami established a dSfferent designation
for the two races: blacks were ‘patrolmen7
and whites were ‘policemen.’ 9 9

Background investigations, which blacks and other minorities
are more likely to fail than whites, also served as a barrier to
inclusion. Fogelson reports evidence indicating that
investigators rejected 41 percent of black applicants as opposed
to 29 percent of whites in St. Louis in 1966; 68 percent of the
blacks, as opposed to 56 percent of the whites, were rejected in
Cleveland in 1966; and 58 percent of the blacks, as opposed to
32 per cent of the whites, in Philadelphia in 1968.41 He
concludes that these disparities were a function of two things,
notwithstanding racial prejudice. First, many departments were
unwilling to accept any applicant who had been arrested or
convicted for any criminal offense, no matter how trivial-the
President’s Crime Commission showed that blacks were more
likely to have a criminal record than whites.42 Second, most
departments were reluctant to hire anyone who was truant from
school, changed jobs too often, associated with known
criminals, or had broken military regulations, all of which are
more prevalent among blacks and other minorities than among
whites.43 Regardless of the merits of these criteria, their effect
was the same-the exclusion of minorities.

Centralization of control also provided little help for minorities,
inasmuch as it meant that already strained relations with the
police officer on the beat translated into even more strained
relations with a distant government downtown. Reduced
contacts with local officers meant that limited opportunities to
bridge the racial barrier became even more limited.

6 6 Individual police oflicers were expected
to avoid becoming closely associated with,
and therefore contaminated by, the areas in
which they patrolled. Y Y

In their efforts to attract qualified recruits, the reformers not
only raised salaries, increased benefits, and improved working
conditions, they also extended their recruitment efforts. One
method of expanding the pool of applicants was to abolish
residency requirements. This reform, although defended by

reformers on professional grounds, handicapped the blacks,
Hispanics, and other minorities by slowing down the ethnic
turnover in police departments. Without such a change, as
whites fled from the inner cities, the increasing percentage of
minorities remaining could have been expected to have been
more readily reflected in the ranks of the police. Furthermore,
despite heavy immigration of minorities to the Nation’s urban
centers, the competitive edge that had been experienced earlier
by the Irish and other white ethnic minorities no longer held

Despite its limitations, the reform era provided, for members of
the majority, a marked improvement in the delivery of
professional police services. For members of minority groups,
however, the change from the political era, in which they lacked
political power, to the reform era, in which they lacked the
support of the law, meant, for the most part, more of the same.
In only 7 of the 26 cities for which the Kerner Commission
collected data was the percentage of nonwhite police officers
equal to as much as one-third of the percentage of nonwhites in
the ~ i t y . ~ 4

The community era: Policing
disintegrating communities

By the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, according to Kelling and
Moore, we had entered the era of community policing.
Although law remained a source of authority, the police began
once again to recognize that, ultimately, they are dependent on
neighborhood, or community, support to achieve their goals.
Turning to the citizens they serve for consultation, the police
realized that more was expected of them than simply enforcing
the law. Looking at people as clients of their services, the police
found that they were also being judged on their ability to
maintain order, resolve conflict, protect rights, and provide
other services. In order to be able to remain responsive to
community concerns, organizational decentralization was
necessary. To remain even more flexible, officers were given
authority and discretion to develop responses appropriate to
local needs.

To organized, empowered communities, this strategy of
policing offered extraordinary opportunities to participate in
structuring the nature of police services delivered. As a result of
community demands, for example, programs such as foot patrol
were revived, long before they were found to be effective in
reducing fear and, in some cases, crime. Despite the popularity
of such initiatives, a closer examination of the areas in which
such foot beats were created reveals one of the serious
problems with this approach. In the State of New Jersey, for
example, where foot patrol was funded by the Safe and Clean
Neighborhoods Program, most foot beats were instituted in
areas with strong community or business organizations–or
both-with strong support from and access to political leaders.

Those without such resources-and those most in need of police
services-often found themselves in a long queue.

Although the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of
Education of Topeka began to provide blacks and other
minorities with their just share of legal rights and remedies, that
provision came only with “all deliberate speed.” As this glacially
slow process continued, something more virulent occurred in
minority communities, especially in the inner cities. Those who
could afford to do so moved into less crowded, more
comfortable, neighborhoods, leaving behind vacant houses-and
those who could not afford an alternative. Businesses closed. Tax
bases eroded. Among those who remained, unemployment,
especially among minority youths, grew markedly higher than
among whites. The incomes of employed minorities was
significantly lower than that of whites. The quality of education
deteriorated. School dropout rates rose precipitously. Infant
mortality rates reached alarming levels. Decent, affordable
housing became scarce. More and more children were born to ”
unwed mothers. Drug and alcohol use became endemic. Crime
and the fear of crime soared out of control.

The convergence of these factors produced a vicious circle. The
police, regardless of the era or the strategic paradigm, must,
along with families and other community institutions, concern
themselves with crime and the fear of crime. The inner cities,
where families, schools, jobs, and other community institutions
were disintegrating at a rapid pace, presented the police with the
most serious crime problems of all. But the police, because of a
gross underrepresentation of minorities among their ranks, a lack
of sensitivity and understanding of minority concerns and
culture, and, therefore, a lack of community support, were least
able to deal effectively in the inner cities-precisely where they
were needed most.

6 6 Centralization of control. . . meant that
already-strained relations with the police
officer on the beat translated into even more “”

strained relations with a distant government
downtown. 9 9

Frustrated and angry, many blacks came to see the police as
symbolizing the entire “system7-those institutions and
resources that had been so unresponsive to their needs. Tensions
rose, culminating in the series of riots in America’s inner cities
during the middle and late 1960’s. Many Americans had their
first glimpse of ghettos as they burned through the night.
Reflecting the nature and extent of the underlying problems,
Senator Robert Kennedy observed, after visiting the scene of the
Watts riot, “There is no point in telling Negroes to observe the

law . . . It has almost always been used against them.”
Despite the tragic destructiveness of those riots, they did
concentrate the minds of the Nation’s leaders wonderfully. In
1967, President Johnson appointed the National Advisory
Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission) to
investigate the causes of the disorder and to recommend
solutions. In a trenchant analysis, the commission report
concluded that “Our Nation is moving toward two societies, one
black, one white-separate and unequal.”45 Essentially, they
said, what lay behind the riots was a long historical pattern of
racism on the part of whites in America. In one of the most
forceful passages of their report, the commissioners observed:

What white Americans have never fully understood-but what a
Negro can never forget-is that white society is deeply implicated in
the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it,
and white society condones it.46

6 6 . . . the police began once again to
recognize that, ultimately, they are
dependent on neighborhood, or community,
support to achieve their goals. 9 9

Specifically, the Kerner Commission found that many of the riots
had been precipitated by police actions, often cases of
insensitivity, sometimes incidents of outright brutality. They saw
an atmosphere of hostility and cynicism reinforced by a
widespread belief among many blacks in a “double standard of
justice and protection. More generally, they concluded that:

In many ways the policeman only symbolizes much deeper problems.
The policeman in the ghetto is a symbol not only of law, but of the
entire system of law enforcement and criminal justice.47

The report offered five basic suggestions to address this situation:

Change operations in the inner city to ensure proper officer
conduct and to eliminate abrasive practices.

Provide adequate police protection to inner city residents to
eliminate the high level of fear and crime.

Create mechanisms through which citizens can obtain
effective responses to their grievances.

Produce policy guidelines to assist police in avoiding
behaviors that would create tension with inner city

Develop community support for law enforcement.

Fearful that new conflagrations would occur otherwise, and
responding in many cases to newly elected black and progressive
white mayors, many departments followed the commission’s
recommendations. As a result, a number of improvements have
occurred that have reduced the barriers between the police and
the inner city. Many more blacks and other minorities are now
patrolling our streets. Strict rules against the unnecessary use of
weapons, brutality, harassment, verbal abuse, and discourtesy
have been promulgated and enforced. The use of aggressive
patrol techniques has been curtailed, restricted to those situations
in which it is justified. Steps have been taken to ensure adequate
patrol coverage and rapid response to calls for service from inner
city areas. Open, impartial, and prompt grievance mechanisms
have been established. Policy guidelines have been implemented
to direct officers’ discretion in potentially tense situations. New
approaches-storefront offices, adopting (or even organizing)
neighborhood groups, addressing the causes of fear-have been
put into effect to improve relations with the community.

6 6 . . .the police . . .were least able to deal
effectively in the inner cities-precisely
where they were needed most. Y 9

Because of these changes, the relationship between the police
and citizens has improved considerably in the last several
years-to a large extent in white middle-class neighborhoods, to
a lesser extent in the inner city. Any transition to an era of
community policing will be both a cause and an effect of these
improvements. But such a transition is far from complete in the
inner city. A recent assessment by the Commission on the Cities
found that, despite a brief period of improvement, the conditions
that produced the dissolution of ghetto communities are actually
getting worse. “Quiet riots,” the report concludes, are occurring
in America’s central cities: unemployment, poverty, social
disorganization, segregation, housing and school deterioration,
and crime are worse now than ever before.48 These “quiet riots,”
although not as alarming or as noticeable to outsiders as those of –
the 19607s, are even more destructive of human life. Under such
conditions, it is unreasonable to expect that the residents of the
inner city will have the characteristics-whether social,
economic, or political-that are required to sustain the
partnership required of the community policing approach.

Furthermore, although the police are better prepared to deal with
residents of the inner city than they were 20 years ago, they are
far from having totally bridged the chasm that has separated them
from minorities-especially blacks-for over 200 years. There
are still too few black officers, at all levels. Racism still persists
within contemporary police departments. Regardless of rules and
guidelines, inappropriate behavior on the streets still occurs.
Complaints about differential treatment, patrol coverage, and

response time persist. And empirical studies have shown that
community-oriented approaches that are effective in most
neighborhoods work less well, or not at all, in areas inhabited by
low-income blacks and other minority groups.

6 6 …many of the riots had been precipitated
by police actions, often . . . insensitivity,
sometimes . . . outright brutality. Y Y

We welcome the prospect of entering the community era of
policing. In a dramatic way, this represents a return to the first
principles of policing as established in London in 1829. As
Critchley so aptly put it, “From the start, the police was to be . . .
in tune with the people, understanding the people, belonging to
the people, and drawing its strength from the people.”‘@ Once
community policing becomes a pervasive reality, we will have
finally approximated the attainment of that goal. We have begun
to bring such fundamental changes about in many of our Nation’s
police departments. But because of the devastation afflicting our
inner cities and the inability of our police to relate to those
neighborhoods, the areas that most require a transition to the
community era will unfortunately be the last to experience such a


Kelling and Moore have contributed a valuable addition to our
repertoire of concepts for understanding the strategic history of
American policing. Their interpretation of the shifts in policing
from a political to a reform to a community era provides useful
insights. I t is our contention, however, that the applicability of
this interpretation is confined largely to the white majority
communities of our Nation. For blacks, and to a lesser extent
other minority groups, the utility of this analysis is quite limited.

L L . . . the community era requires an
empowered, cohesive community to be able
to deal with a sensitive, responsive police
agency. .. Y Y

During the political era, for example, blacks were completely
powerless, leaving them unable to exert the influence necessary
to affect police strategy. According to the paradigm Kelling and
Moore posit to have prevailed in the reform era, police strategy
was determined largely on the basis of law, which left blacks
almost completely unprotected. Finally, the community era

requires an empowered, cohesive community to be able to deal
with a sensitive, responsive police agency; neither precondition
prevails in many contemporary minority neighborhoods.

‘ Significant progress has been made, however. Large numbers of
blacks and other minorities have joined-and in many cases
have become leaders of–our major departments. The use of
violence by police against minorities has declined dramatically

* in the last decade. Special efforts have been made to provide
training to make our police officers sensitive to the needs and
concerns of minority communities. Enlightened, better educated
police leadership has opened the profession to new approaches
and ideas. The rising popularity of community-oriented
policing will undoubtedly further improve the relationship
between the police and minorities.

. . . many of the most articulate
proponents of community policing are
themselves African-American police
executives. 9 9

We think it is a particularly hopeful sign in this regard that
many of the most articulate proponents of community policing
are themselves African-American police executives. Their
unswerving emphasis, in their statements of values, on the
protection of constitutional rights and the protection of all
citizens, gives us reason to be optimistic about the future of

Nevertheless, the history of American police strategies cannot
be separated from the history of the Nation as a whole.
Unfortunately, our police, and all of our other institutions, must
contend with many bitter legacies from that larger history. No
paradigm-and no society–can be judged satisfactory until
those legacies have been confronted directly.


1. Howard Zinn, The Politics of History. Boston, Beacon Press,
1970: 102.

2. George L. Kelling and Mark H. Moore, “The Evolving
Strategy of Policing,” Perspectives on Policing, No. 4.
Washington, D.C., National Institute of Justice and Harvard
University, November 1988.

3. Robert M. Fogelson, Big City Police. Cambridge, Harvard
University Press, 1977. J.F. Richardson, Urban Police in the
United States. Port Washington, New York, National University
Publications. 1974.

4. Roger Lane, Policing the City: Boston, 1822-1885.

Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1967. E.A. Savage, A
Chronological History of the Boston Watch and Police, from
1631-1865. Available on Library of American Civilization
fiche 13523, 1865.

5. J. Flinn, History of the Chicago Police from the Settlement of
the Community to the Present Time. Montclair, New Jersey,
Patterson Smith, 1975.

6. J. Schneider, Detroit and the Problem of Order, 1830-1880:
A Geography of Crime, Riot, and Policing. Lincoln, University
of Nebraska, 1980.

7. J.F. Richardson, The New York Police: Colonial Times to
1901. New York, Oxford University Press, 1970.

8. Samuel Walker, A Critical History of Police Reform: The
Emergence of Professionalism. Lexington, Massachusetts,
Lexington Books, 1977: 4-6.

9. Richardson, Urban Police, n. 3 above: 19.

10. Walker, A Critical History, n. 8 above.

11. P. L. Reichel, “Southern slave patrols as a transitional police
type,” American Journal of Policing, 7,2: 51-77.

12. T. Cooper, ed., Statutes at Large of South Carolina, v. 3,
part 2, Columbia, South Carolina, A.S. Johnston, 1838: 568.

13. A. Candler, ed., The Colonial Records of the State of
Georgia, v. 18, Atlanta, Chas. P. Byrd, State Printer, 1910: 225.

14. Alabama: W. L. Rose, ed., A Documentary History of
Slavery in North America, New York, Oxford University Press,
1976. Arkansas: 0 . W. Taylor, Negro Slavery in Arkansas,
Durham, North Carolina, Duke University, 1958. Georgia: R. B.
Flanders, Plantation Slavery in Georgia, Cos Cob, Connecticut,
John E. Edwards, 1967; B. Wood, Slavery in Colonial Georgia,
Athens, University of Georgia Press, 1984. Kentucky: J. W.
Coleman, Jr., Slavery Times in Kentucky, New York, Johnson
Reprint Company, 1940; I.E. McDougle, Slavery in Kentucky
1792-1865, Westport, Connecticut, Negro Universities Press,
1970. Louisiana: S. Bacon, The Early Development of
American Municipal Police: A Study of the Evolution of
Formal Controls in a Changing Society, unpublished
dissertation, Yale University, University Microfilms No.
6646844, 1939; J. G. Taylor, Negro Slavery in Louisiana, New
York, Negro Universities Press, 1963; E. R. Williams, Jr.,
“Slave patrol ordinances of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana,
1835-1 838,” Louisiana History, v. 13 (1972): 399-41 1.
Mississippi: C. S. Sydnor, Slavery in Mississippi, New York,
Appleton Century Co., 1933. Missouri: H. A. Trexler,-“Slavery
in Missouri: 1804- 1865,” in H. Trexler, Slavery in the States:
Selected Essays, New York, Negro Universities Press, 1969.
North Carolina: G. G. Johnson. Ante-bellum North Carolina: A

Social History, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina,
1937. Tennessee: C. P. Patterson, The Negro in Tennessee,
1790-1865, New York, Negro Universities Press, 1968; C. C.
Mooney, Slavery in Tennessee, Westport, Connecticut, Negro
Universities Press, 1971. Virginia: J. Ballagh, Jr., A History of
Slavery in Virginia, New York, Johnson Reprint Co., 1968; A.
Stewart, “Colonel Alexander’s slaves resist the patrol,” in W.L.
Rose, ed., A Documentary History of Slavery in North America,
New York, Oxford University Press, 1976.

15. B. Wood, Slavery in Colonial Georgia, n. 14 above: 123–4.

16. P.S. Foner, History of Black Americans: From Africa to the
Emergence of the Cotton Kingdom, Westport, Connecticut,
Greenwood, 1975: 206.

17. Richardson, Urban Police, n. 3 above: 21.

18. I. Berlin, Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the
Antebellum South, New York, Pantheon Books, 1974: 3 16-17.

19. Berlin, above: 319.

20. L.E Litwack, North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free
States, 1790-1860. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
1961: 3.

21. Berlin. n. 18 above: 330.

22. Litwack, North of Slavery, n. 20 above. p. 97.

NCJ 121019

Hubert Williams is President of the Police Foundation,
Washington, D.C., and former Police Director of Newark, New
Jersey. Patrick V. Murphy is Director of the Police Policy
Board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and former
Commissioner o f the New York City Police Department.

Editor of this series is Susan Michaelson, Assistant Director of
the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John
F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those
of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official
position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or of
Harvard University.

The Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs,
coordinates the activities of the following program Offices and
Bureaus: National lnstitute of Justice, Bureau of Justice
Statistics, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Office for Victims of

23. C.V. Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, New
York, Oxford University Press, 1966: 17.

24. E.E Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished
Revolution, 1863-1877. New York, Harper and Row, 1988:

25. Foner, above: 66-67.

26. Foner: 199-200.

27. Foner: 201.

28. Foner: 203.

29. Foner: 204.

30. M. Delaney, “Colored brigades, ‘negro specials’ and
colored policemen: A history of blacks in American police
departments,” unpublished manuscript, no date: 12.

31. J.W. Blassingame, Black New Orleans, 1860-1880.
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1973: 244.

32. H.N. Rabinowitz, Race Relations in the Urban South,
1865-1890, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1980: 41

33. V.L. Wharton, The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890. New
York, Harper and Row, 1965: 167.

34. Walker, A Critical History, n. 8 above: 10.

35. Delaney, “Colored brigades,” n. 30 above: 20.

36. R. Lane, Roots of Violence in Black Philadelphia:
1860-1900. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1986:

37. Lane, above: 64-65.

38. President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and
Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: The Police.
Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967:

39. Foner, Reconstruction, n. 24 above: 342.

40. Fogelson, Big City Police, n. 3 above: 250.

4 1. Fogelson, above: 25 1.

42. President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and
Administration of Justice, Task Force Report: Science and
Technology,Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing
Office. 1967: 216-28.


43. Fogelson, n. 3 above: 25 1.

44. Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders, Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1968: 321.

45. Report: 1.

46. Report: 2

47. Report: 299.

48. F.R. Harris and R.Wilkins, Quiet Riots: Race and
Poverty in the United States, New York, Pantheon Books,

49. T.A. Critchley, A History of Police in England and
Wales,1900-1966, London, Constable and Company, Ltd.,
1967: 46.

The Executive Session on Policing, like other Executive
Sessions at Hanard’s Kennedy School of Government,
is designed to encourage a new form of dialog between high-
level practitioners and scholars, with a view to redefining and
proposing solutions for substantive policy issues. Practitioners
rather than academicians are given majority representation in
the group. The meetings of the Session are conducted as
loosely structured seminars or policy debates.

Since it began in 1985, the Executive Session on Policing has
met seven times. During the 3-day meetings, the 31 members
have energetically discussed the facts and values that have
guided, and those that should guide, policing.


The Executive Session on Policing
convenes the following distinguished panel of leaders in the field of policing:

Allen Andrews
Superintendent of Police
Peoria, Illinois

Camille Cates Barnett, Ph.D.
Director of Finance and Administration
Houston, Texas

Cornelius Behan, Chief
Baltimore County Police Department
Baltimore County, Maryland

Lawrence Binkley, Chief
Long Beach Police Department
Long Beach, California

Lee P. Brown, Chief
Houston Police Department
Houston, Texas

Susan R. Estrich, Professor
School of Law
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Daryl F. Gates, Chief
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles, California

Herman Goldstein, Professor
School of Law
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

Francis X. Hartmann, Executive Director
Program in Criminal Justice Policy

and Management

John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Peter Hunt, former Executive Director
Chicago Area Project
Chicago, Illinois

George L. Kelling, Professor
School of Criminal Justice
Northeastern University
Boston, Massachusetts, and
Research Fellow, Program in Criminal

Justice Policy and Management
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

U.S. Department of Justice
Ofice of Justice Programs

National Institute of Justice

Mshington, D.C. 205321

Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Robert R. Kiley, Chairman
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
New York, New York

Robert B. Kliesmet, President
International Union of Police Associations
Washington, D.C.

Richard C. Larson, Professor and

Operations Research Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

George Latimer, Mayor
St. Paul, Minnesota

Edwin Meese I11
Former Attorney General of the

United States
Washington, D.C.

Mark H. Moore
Daniel and Florence Guggenheim

Professor of Criminal Justice Policy
and Management

John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Patrick Murphy, Professor of Police Science
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York, New York

,Sir Kenneth Newman
Former Commissioner
Scotland Yard
London, England

Oliver B. Revell
Executive Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Francis Roache, Commissioner
Boston Police Department
Boston, Massachusetts

Michael E. Smith, Director
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, New York

Darrel Stephens, Executive Director
Police Executive Research Forum
Washington, D.C.

James K. Stewart, Director
National Institute of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Robert Trojanowicz, Professor and Director
School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Kevin Tucker, Commissioner
Philadelphia Police Department
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Ward, Commissioner
New York City Police Department
New York, New York

Robert Wasserman, Research Fellow
Program in Criminal Justice Policy

and Management
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Haward University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Daniel Whitehurst, President
and CEO

Whitehurst California
Former Mayor of Fresno
Fresno, California

Hubert Williams, President
Police Foundation
Washington, D.C.

James Q. Wilson, Collins Professor
of Management

Graduate School of Management
University of California
Los Angeles, California


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American Journal of Police 1


Jack R. Greene
Department of Criminal Justice

Temple University


In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in pro-
grams that attempt to place the police and the community in
greater harmony and interaction. Many large and medium sized
cities have adopted variations of “community policing” programs,
each of which emphasizes some combination of crime reduction
and prevention, increased community cohesion and informal social
control, and fear of reduction policing strategy.

Like many social interventions, changes in police operational
philosophy and practices have historical traditions that have condi-
tioned current thought and practice. Moreover, the underlying
“theory” of community policing itself is yet emerging, attempting to
clarify the relationship between the formal and informal agents of
social control. Police programs emphasizing foot patrol and the
order maintenance role of the police are currently testing these
ideas, and the results of such analysis will provide information on
the prospects of this policing strategy.

The research that is reported in this volume of The American
Journal of Police examines many of the expectations that have been
created for community policing programs. Because community
policing means many things to many people, an entire volume has
been devoted to this important policing topic. The papers that are
presented here examine some of the claims made for community
policing, most particularly for foot patrol programs. The topics are
divergent, ranging from considerations of whether this police strat-
egy reduces crime and victimization, to whether community atti-
tudes toward the police are affected, and whether police officers

2 American Journal of Police

derive any greater job satisfaction from having participated in such
programs. The diversity among these topics reflects the many ex-
pectations for community policing and foot patrol programs; the
papers in this volume will, hopefully, help to clarify these expecta-


The seeds of this new community policing philosophy are
found in the police and community relations programs of the 1950s
and 1960s, the team policing programs of the 1970s and the more
recent fear reduction and problem focused policing programs of the
1980s. Forty years of refinement in police philosophy and opera-
tions has left its mark on the community policing programs of to-

Police and community relations programs sought a greater
harmony and interaction between the police and the public on mat-
ters of crime control and prevention. They also sought out and tar-
geted minority populations for this increased attention. The mes-
sage was simple-the police wanted to assure the community, par-
ticularly the black community, that their concerns for increased po-
lice protection and fairness in the application of the law were valid.

The era of police and community relations saw programs de-
signed to improve community understanding of the police role and
operational practices, paving the way for more recent programs of
neighborhood watch and other forms of citizen involvement in the
law enforcement process. The legacy of community relations pro-
grams also established the legitimacy of community involvement in
crime control efforts either through self-help programs or through
the coproduction of crime prevention services (Skolnick and Bay-
ley, 1986). Historically, this community involvement role had
largely been obscured in the 1930s and 1940s through efforts to de-
politicize police agencies and to improve administrative and man-
agement practices (see Fogelson, 1977).

Throughout the decade of the 1970s policing embraced the
team concept (see Angell, 1971). Team policing received its first
endorsement from the President’s Commission on Law Enforce-
ment and Administration of Justice (1967) in its Task Force Report:
Police. Partly as a reaction to the perceived rigidity of the police

American Journal of Police 3

control-centered bureaucracy, and partly in an attempt to overcome
the growing deficiencies of preventive patrol and rapid response as
patrol tactics, team policing grew and was nurtured in a liberalizing
police reform philosophy. By the early 1970s several programs were
implemented across the country. Emphasizing geographic stability,
the permanent assignment of teams to neighborhoods increased
communications among team members as well as between team
members and community residents (Sherman, et al., 1973); team
policing was radical for its day.

Team policing required a rethinking of the social and formal
organization of policing on a massive scale. Its demise was largely
at the hands of middle level managers within police organizations,
who had invested interest in maintaining a more centralized form
of command and control.

Despite its general failure, team policing established a tone for
improving the police officer’s lot within the police organization and
reaffirmed the community context of policing suggested by earlier
community relations programs. In the late 1970s other team
policing programs, such as the Community Sector Team Policing
Program in Cincinnati (Schwartz and Clarren, 1977) and the Com-
munity Profiling Program in San Diego (1975), posted modest suc-
cess for the team concept, although by the late 1970s and early
1980s the popularity of the team concept had faded as an opera-
tional police tactic.

In the 1980s, three emerging strains of police operational prac-
tice and philosophy began to form the basis for the adoption of foot
patrols throughout the country. First, policy research into police
operational practices had begun to yield the conclusion that
“nothing works”. Preventive patrol, rapid patrol responses, and
follow-up criminal investigations all came under the social science
microscope, and the results were devastating for the conventional
crime deterrence and containment philosophies of the police. In
the absence of any substantiated claim to deterrence, police agen-
cies began to seek alternate ways to demonstrate effectiveness.

Secondly, the idea that the police should focus more on re-
solving community problems than on some abstract crime con-
trol/prevention function gained attention during this period.
“Problem-oriented policing,” as envisioned by Herman Goldstein,
broadened the scope of police interventions by focusing attention
on community problem solving (Goldstein, 1977; 1979). The role

4 American Journal of Police

of the police, then, was preemptive and problem focused rather
than reactive and crime containment focused. The ends of policing,
after all, were to improve community “quality of life” and to reduce
citizen exposure to and fear of crime.

Thirdly, the linkages between disorderly or unruly behavior,
fear of crime and community victimization were being reexamined
by social scientists, and the political philosophy of the times was
changing. While the police had always provided order maintenance
services to the community, these services were often seen as sec-
ondary to those that emphasized enforcement and crime control.
Findings from an experimental demonstration project in the use of
foot patrol in Newark, New Jersey suggested that while crime and
victimization rates were unlikely to decrease in response to foot pa-
trol, public perceptions of social disorder and fear of crime were
affected (Police Foundation, 1981). These findings provided sup-
port for greater use of foot patrol officers in residential neighbor-
hoods as a means to reduce fear of crime and to re-establish com-
munity order. Fear of crime and perceptions of disorder, then,
have become the targets of police intervention.

The movement toward reducing fear of crime through order
maintenance and foot patrol programs has stirred quite a political
debate as well. On the one hand, liberal reformers of the police
suggest that community policing and foot patrols, stressing neigh-
borhood definitions of social order, can quickly become extensions
of class and racial bias and thereby introduce more injustice into
communities than expected (see Walker, 1984; Klockars, 1985).
For liberals the loosening of the traditional constraints on police
behavior might well result in the loss of liberties for many, particu-
larly minority group members and those in marginal group relation-
ships in urban areas.

On the other hand, recent conservative arguments in support
of foot patrols and order maintenance policing (Sykes, 1986) sug-
gest that such police activities actually increase the amount of free-
dom available in communities. Proponents of this philosophy sug-
gest that order maintenance policing through foot patrol increases
the collective freedoms of the community by freeing law abiding
citizens from their crime anxieties, and by reducing the precursors
to crime and victimization-those situations and individuals who
would increase and exploit community disorder.

American Journal of Police 5

The past 40 years of police operational practice and policy re-
search has resulted in the current emphasis in community policing
and foot patrol. The development of a policing philosophy and op-
erational strategies that emphasize 1) community involvement in
crime control, prevention and order maintenance, 2) a broadening
of the police officer’s role in community problem solving, main-
taining community order and informal social control, and 3) re-
ducing the signs of crime and community disorder, thereby reduc-
ing community crime anxiety, has been an evolving process. The
manifestation of this philosophy and practice in the form of foot
patrol has come a long way, but what of its future?


The underlying “theory” of community policing involves some
rather broad assumptions about the police role in establishing so-
cial control at the neighborhood level of social organization (see
Manning, 1984; Klockars, 1985). The arguments beneath this phi-
losophy tend to suggest that the police have lost their community
context, in that changes in technology-such as the automobile and
wireless radio-have resulted in the police becoming estranged from
the communities they patrol (Moore and Kelling, 1983). Further-
more, the police preoccupation with crime suppression and criminal
apprehension left little time for order maintenance activities, which
are now presumed to contribute more to the “quality of life” expe-
rienced by the citizenry, particularly in urban areas (Kelling, 1985).
It is argued that by reestablishing the community’s social order
through the vigorous enforcement of order maintenance and public
disturbance behaviors, the conditions that make communities ripe
for criminal invasion will be avoided. Finally, proponents of com-
munity policing argue that neighborhood policing and closer con-
tact between police and citizens will result in a strengthening of the
social fabric (Wilson and Kelling, 1982), making communities more
resistant to criminal invasion.

Community policing takes several forms; it involves the use of
foot patrol in urban areas, it establishes programs that attempt to
mobilize community crime prevention activities, and it increases
public and private efforts to stem community decay by reducing the

6 American Journal of Police

signs of crime (physical and social incivilities) as well as the fear of
crime that is presumed to be associated with community deteriora-
tion. Today, programs in community policing can be found in sev-
eral major U.S. cities, such as New York City; Boston, Mas-
sachusetts; Baltimore, Maryland; Newark, New Jersey; Houston,
Texas; Oakland, California and Flint, Michigan (Greene and Tay-
lor, 1985; Yin, 1986).

In addition to these programs, many of which involve foot pa-
trol efforts, a change in the underlying philosophy of policing has
been suggested (Skolnick and Bayley, 1986). This philosophy em-
phasizes decentralizing police crime control efforts, increasing the
involvement of the community in establishing crime control priori-
ties, greater police and community cooperation in and coproduc-
tion of crime control services, and a widening of discretion for po-
lice officers to deal with community problem solving.


In an earlier review of several community policing and foot pa-
trol programs, Greene (1985) and Greene and Taylor (1985) sug-
gested that many of these programs failed to adequately opera-
tionalize the theory of community policing discussed above. Many
projects simply put police officers in foot patrol beats in widely het-
erogeneous communities. Other programs involved several police
interventions, such as car stops, bus rides, and curfew enforcement
as well as other fear reduction strategies, such as neighborhood
clean-up efforts, thereby making it difficult to determine the effec-
tiveness of any particular strategy. Many of the community policing
and foot patrol programs were absent experimental control and
evaluated different outcomes. ,The conclusions drawn from these
programs are difficult to draw together and are potentially biased
by faulty operational definitions about the community and/or the
police intervention.

In a similar fashion, Yin (1986), in examining the effectiveness
of 11 community crime prevention programs, concluded that many
of these interventions were not unique, although he suggested that
the results of these evaluations were favorable and methodologi-
cally reliable. Yin concludes, however, that many of these crime

American Journal of Police 7

prevention programs and their evaluations did not target high
crime rate neighborhoods for intervention, and that many actually
focused on small geographic areas. In this regard, Yin suggests that
these 11 programs may not be representative of other crime pre-
vention programs previously established. Finally, he suggests that
while we may know more about preventing crime from these stud-
ies, we may not be able to do much about crime even given this
knowledge. Collectively, these meta-assessments of foot patrol and
community crime prevention programs raise more questions than
they answer. Given the “experimental” nature of many foot patrol
and community police programs, systematic evidence about pro-
gram effectiveness is simply not available. The research presented
here furthers our understandings of the dynamics of community
policing and foot patrol programs in many diverse communities.

Foot Patrol, Crime Control and Order Maintenance

The first three papers in this volume examine what might be
termed the traditional outcomes anticipated for foot patrol pro-
grams-a reduction in crime and victimization, a more positive pub-
lic assessment of the police, and a strengthening of community
bonds or the network of informal social control. The fourth paper
addresses another expectation of community policing-increased
police officer job satisfaction.

In “The Impact of Foot Patrol Staffing on Crime and Disorder
in Boston: An Unmet Promise” William Bowers and Jon Hirsch
analyze the impact of the Boston Reallocation Plan, a major effort
to make foot patrol the predominant form of patrol in this urban
community. Bowers and Hirsch examine the crime control and or-
der maintenance effects of this rather dramatic reorganization of
patrol services in Boston, one that designated 34% of all patrol
units in that city for foot patrol.

In a city where historically 80% of patrol response units were
two-man patrol cars, Boston undertook a dramatic shift toward
community policing in 1983. The Boston Reallocation Plan shifted
patrol resources from a traditional reaction-oriented patrol model
of the past to one that emphasized foot patrol as the primary police
response system and single-officer patrol cars as the secondary
method of patrol response (24% of all units). The result was to

8 American Journal of Police

shift 300 uniformed officers to foot patrol, in a city-wide program
to improve police efficiency and effectiveness.

Analyzing 16 locations throughout the city of Boston for a 19-
month period of time, Bowers and Hirsch provide one of the first
“tests” of the foot patrol strategy in a large urban city. Data for the
evaluation came from the Boston Police Department’s computer
aided dispatch system.

Interestingly, in implementing the Boston plan, police com-
manders selected areas of the city with high rates of crime as target
areas for foot patrol, thereby overcoming some of the criticism of
the crime prevention programs studied by Yin (1986). Using a
“share statistic,” or the proportion of calls for service that fell be-
tween control and change groupings from 1981 through 1984,
Bowers and Hirsch determine that no reporting or crime control
effects were attributable to foot patrol areas.

Using offense specific data, they could not find any major ef-
fects in crimes reported to the police in areas where foot patrol was
implemented. Violent crime such as assault (aggravated or simple)
could not be associated with foot patrol staffing changes, and while
a reduction in street robbery occurred in high staffing foot patrol
areas, this was offset by an increase in commercial robberies in the
same areas. Property offenses were similarly unrelated to foot pa-
trol staffing changes; burglary showed no consistent association
with foot patrol staffing, and larceny and auto thefts actually in-
creased during the first year of the program, attesting to some re-
porting stimulation effects. In this regard the crime control effects
presumed of the program were not realized.

In the second paper, “Foot Patrol: Of What Value?,” Finn-
Aage Esbensen examines the effects of a foot patrol program in a
medium-sized southeastern city. Using police records as well as in-
terview data with merchants in both a foot patrol and a comparison
area, Esbensen examines both the crime effectiveness of foot patrol
in a downtown business district, as well as the community relations
value of this program to area business leaders.

Impetus for this particular foot patrol program was presented
in a similar fashion to the arguments for order maintenance polic-
ing advanced by Wilson and Kelling (1982), in that concern among
business leaders had turned to the level of disorder evidenced in
the visibility of panhandlers, vagrants, drunks, prostitutes and oth-
ers who might represent signs of social incivility. The Downtown

American Journal of Police 9

Merchants’ Association mustered political and economic support
for the addition of four officers to patrol on foot the three police
beats in the downtown business district.

Four months, representing seasonal variation in police work-
load and crime reporting, were selected for the analysis between
the business district and a comparison area. Reported crimes in
these two areas formed the basis of the comparative study; two sur-
veys were also conducted four months after the implementation of
the foot patrol program, and again 20 months after the first survey.
These surveys examined perceptions of police protection in the two
areas, as well as business leader assessments of police professional-
ism, support for the police, and the quality of police and community

Comparisons between business areas on the aggregated level
of reported crime revealed no significant differences, suggesting lit-
tle overall crime control effect associated with the program. Con-
trolling for crime type, most particularly for crimes of public disor-
der (e.g. vandalism, disorderly conduct, prostitution, drunkenness,
and vagrancy), did reveal a steady decline in public order crimes in
the foot patrol areas, with an increase in these crimes in the two ar-
eas surrounding this business district. This finding suggests that
foot patrol in this business district may have some public order dis-
placement effect in surrounding districts.

The attitudinal surveys produced generally favorable assess-
ments of police performance among the downtown merchants as
well as the comparison area merchants. The positive assessments
of police performance made by the downtown merchants increased
over the life of the evaluation, suggesting some changes in the per-
ception of the “quality of life” in the downtown area. These
changes were attributed to the foot patrol program.

Robert Friedmann’s “Citizens’ Attitudes Toward the Police:
Results from an Experiment in Community Policing in Israel” ex-*
amines the introduction of an experimental community policing
and crime reduction program in an Israeli community. The imple-
mentation of a Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) program into
15 “problem neighborhoods” in a large metropolitan area of Israel
provided the opportunity to assess community attitudes toward the
community and the police. The NPO program cast the role of the
police officer as “community social worker” rather than the tradi-
tional law enforcement role ascribed to the police.

10 American Journal of Police

Using a field experimental design, Friedmann examines com-
munity attitudinal change in three time periods-at the beginning,
middle and end of the program. This analysis is based on a sample
of four NPO neighborhoods randomly chosen and three control
areas, matched on several social, economic and demographic char-

A community effects analysis examined attitudes toward the
police and police effectiveness, assessments of police activities in
the neighborhoods, protective measures taken by residents, and
feelings of safety and self-reported victimization. The analysis also
includes an assessment of attitudes toward the community by em-
ploying a “Community Attitudinal Scale,” measuring perceptions of
community services, integration and civic responsibility.

Friedmann’s analysis has several implications for community
policing efforts. First, the analysis suggests that research and con-
trol neighborhoods differed significantly on victimization before
and after the program. Given the selection criteria used to obtain
research areas defined as “problem neighborhoods” such differ-
ences might have been expected. Nonetheless, changes in level of
victimization could not be attributed to the policing intervention,
even when neighborhoods were matched on other criteria.

Second, Friedmann reports that awareness of the program, es-
pecially by residents in the research neighborhoods, increased dra-
matically over the life of the project. While awareness of the exis-
tence of the program was demonstrated, no evidence suggested
that differences in direct contact with the police actually occurred.
Improvements in police and community relations stemming from
the program, then, were much more indirect than first anticipated,
perhaps being mediated through community social organizations
rather than in citizen/police contact.

Third, in a factor analysis of the community attitude items,
Friedmann’s study suggests that research neighborhoods had a
lower view of self-conception than did their counterparts in the
control neighborhoods. These same research neighborhoods
demonstrated a positive shift in attitude toward their community,
while the comparison neighborhoods experienced a decline and
restabilization in attitudes toward the community.

Finally, an interesting and possibly counter intuitive finding in
the Friedmann study suggests a general decline in attitudes toward
the police, even when attitudes toward the community were im-

American Journal of Police 11

proving. This suggests that expectations of improved commu-
nity/police relations and community restabilization may be unrealis-
tic in certain communities, and that the dynamic of community
change is much more difficult for the police to manipulate. Given
the community change strategy imbedded in many community
policing and foot patrol programs, such findings direct attention to
the theory that undergirds the new policing philosophy.

Collectively, the three foot patrol and community policing pro-
grams provide mixed evidence for certain of the claims made for
this type of police strategy. Evidence from these projects does not
provide tremendous support for the crime control goals of these
programs, although in one program, reported by Esbensen, there
was a decline in public disorder crimes. Victimization, as measured
by Friedmann, was not associated with the community policing in-
tervention evaluated, although community cohesion did seem to be
affected, but mediated through existing social institutions rather
than directly from police and citizen contact.

Improving the “Quality of Life”for the Police

Another set of claims associated with community policing and
foot patrol programs are connected with improving police officer
job attachment and officer satisfaction, while at the same time im-
proving the “quality of life” in the community. The final paper in
this volume considers these claims.

Assessing police officer job satisfaction in a community polic-
ing program in Baltimore County, Maryland, David Hayslip and
Gary Cordner examine the “The Effects of Community-Oriented
Patrol on Police Officer Attitudes”. This evaluation of police offi-
cer job satisfaction was undertaken in conjunction with the adop-
tion of a problem-oriented police strategy in Baltimore County,
Maryland in 1982.

Project COPE, Citizen Oriented Police Enforcement, sought
to approach crime and law enforcement by targeting community
problems through-various police tactics. COPE police officers were
given an expanded police role, a role that involved more discretion
in decision making and a wider field of police interventions.

Building on past assessments of community police officer job
satisfaction, this study sought to determine the independent effects
of patrol officer participation in project COPE. Using a treatment

12 American Journal of Police

and control group, surveys were administered four times, at the be-
ginning of the program in 1982, January-February 1983, November
1983, and in March 1985. These surveys measured officer job sat-
isfaction, attitudes toward the community, attitudes toward the po-
lice role, and personal assessments of the effectiveness of the
COPE strategy. In addition to these outcome variables, officer
tenure, education and age were included in the analysis to control
four other factors previously associated with levels of job satisfac-

In the bivariate analysis presented, Hayeslip and Cordner sug-
gest that COPE participation increased or maintained the level of
job satisfaction and sense of accomplishment among COPE offi-
cers, while control group officers generally reported less satisfaction
and accomplishment throughout the life of the program. Attitudes
toward the community also tended to be more positive among
COPE officers in comparison to the control group, and COPE offi-
cers tended to maintain a broader definition of their police role.
Finally, as might be expected, COPE officers saw more promise for
the COPE strategy than did control officers.

In a multivariate analysis, Hayeslip and Cordner report that
participation in the COPE program best predicted assignment sat-
isfaction, feelings of accomplishment, positive police image, and
perceptions that COPE had some effect on crime. Personal and
job assignment and tenure variables had little consistent effect on
the measures of job satisfaction and accomplishment.

The findings from the research conducted by Hayslip and
Cordner extend the analyses of others who, while measuring as-
pects of job satisfaction among the police, failed to control for
other personal and rank/assignment factors that may affect satisfac-
tion. These findings suggest that police officer attitudes toward the
community, their role as agents of social control, and their sense of
achievement and accomplishment can be influenced by participa-
tion in a community policing strategy. This finding is consistent
with other projects that have attempted to reorient the police to a
community focus (see Boydstun and Sherry, 1975).

American Journal of Police 13


It is clear that the concepts of foot patrol and community
policing have captured the imagination of the public, social scien-
tists and police managers. Each affected group has differing rea-
sons for its support of these programs. The community sees such
police programs as more visibly deterring crime, despite the evi-
dence that suggests that crime and victimization are little affected
by such police strategies.

Social scientists see the prospects of such community policing
and crime prevention programs as a way of testing ideas about in-
formal social control, fear of crime and the police role in these pro-
cesses. Despite what we have learned about the effectiveness and
ineffectiveness of these programs, the debate as to the role of the
police in maintaining the “sense of community” thought to make
neighborhoods more crime resistant continues.

Police managers see these programs as alternative definitions
of police effectiveness and efficiency at a time when all public agen-
cies are being subjected to more extensive review and evaluation.
After a decade of research “debunking” the effectiveness of most
patrol and investigative effort, community policing and foot patrol
provide a fresh opportunity to “demonstrate” that the police are
doing something about crime and disorder.

All of this “police experimentation” is occurring within a po-
litical context stressing “getting tough on crime,” “self-help” and
“co-protection,” emphasizing the community’s role in crime preven-
tion and order maintenance. But what of this for the continuation
of such police innovations?

The prospects for community policing and foot patrol are un-
certain at present. There is much rhetoric currently surrounding
the foot patrol debate. Proponents of this patrol strategy make
several claims; some claim crime effectiveness and improved social
interaction among the police and the community. Others claim
that such programs are merely “old wine in new bottles”. The pa-
pers presented in this volume of The American Journal of Police at-
tempt to focus and clarify some of the claims and counterclaims. In
the long run, the test of community policing and foot patrol will
depend on careful documentation and thorough analysis.

14 American Journal of Police


Angell, J.E. (1971) “Towards an Alternative to the Classical Police
Organizational Arrangements: A Democratic Model” Criminology
9 (2,3): 185-206.

Boydstun, J.E. and M.E. Sherry (1975) San Diego Community Pro-
file: Final Report. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.

Fogelson, R.M. (1977) Big City Police. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.

Goldstein, H. (1977) Policing a Free Society. Cambridge, MA:

Goldstein, H. (1979) “Improving Policing: A Problem Oriented
Approach” Crime and Delinquency. 25 (April): 236-258

Greene, J.R. (1985) “Religiosity and Crime Control: A Look at
Foot Patrol and Community-Based Policing.” Paper presented at
the annual meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Prob-
lems, Washington, DC, August.

Greene, J.R., and R. B. Taylor (1986) “A Closer Look at Foot Pa-
trol and Community Based Policing: Issues of Theory, Evaluation
and Operationalization.” Paper presented at the annual meetings
of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Orlando, Florida,

Kelling, G.L. (1985) “Order Maintenance, The Quality of Urban
Life, and Police: A Line of Argument,” in W.A. Geller (ed) Police
Leadership in America: Crisis and Opportunity. New York:

Klockars C.B. (1985) “Order Maintenance, The Quality of Urban
Life, and Police: A Different Line of Argument,” in W.A. Geller
(ed) Police Leadership in America: Crisis and Opportunity. New
York: Praeger.

American Journal of Police 15

Manning, P.K. (1984) “Community Policing,” American Journal of
Police 3,2 (Spring): 205-228.

Moore, M.H., and G.L. Kelling (1983) “To Serve and Protect:
Learning from Police History,” The Public Interest 70 (Winter): 49-

Police Foundation (1981) The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment.
Washington, DC: Police Foundation.

President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration
of Justice (1967) Task Force Report: Police. Washington, DC: U.S.
Government Printing Office.

Schwartz, A.I. and S.N. Clarren (1977) The Cincinnati Team Polic-
ing Experiment. A Summary Report. Washington, DC: The Urban
Institute and the Police Foundation.

Sherman, L.W., C.H. Milton, and T.V. Kelly (1973) Team Policing:
Seven Case Studies. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.

Skolnick, J.H. and D.H. Bayley (1986) The New Blue Line. New
York: The Free Press.

Sykes, G. (1986) “Street Justice: A Moral Defense of Order Main-
tenance Policing,” Justice Quarterly 3,4 (December): 497-512.

Walker, S. (1984) “‘Broken Windows’ and Fractured History: The
Use and Misuse of History in Recent Patrol Analysis” Justice
Quarterly 1 (1): 75-90.

Wilson, J.Q. and G.L. Kelling (1982) “Police and Neighborhood
Safety: Broken Windows” Atlantic Monthly 249 (March): 29-38.

Yin, R.K. (1986) “Community Crime Prevention: A Synthesis of
Eleven Evaluations,” in D. Rosenbaum (ed) Community Crime Pre-
vention, 294-308.

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Broken Windows

By George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson

In the mid-1970s The State of New Jersey announced a “Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Program,”
designed to improve the quality of community life in twenty-eight cities. As part of that program, the
state provided money to help cities take police officers out of their patrol cars and assign them to
walking beats. The governor and other state officials were enthusiastic about using foot patrol as a
way of cutting crime, but many police chiefs were skeptical. Foot patrol, in their eyes, had been pretty
much discredited. It reduced the mobility of the police, who thus had difficulty responding to citizen
calls for service, and it weakened headquarters control over patrol officers.

Many police officers also disliked foot patrol, but for different reasons: it was hard work, it kept them
outside on cold, rainy nights, and it reduced their chances for making a “good pinch.” In some
departments, assigning officers to foot patrol had been used as a form of punishment. And academic
experts on policing doubted that foot patrol would have any impact on crime rates; it was, in the
opinion of most, little more than a sop to public opinion. But since the state was paying for it, the
local authorities were willing to go along.






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Five years after the program started, the Police Foundation, in Washington, D.C., published an
evaluation of the foot-patrol project. Based on its analysis of a carefully controlled experiment carried
out chiefly in Newark, the foundation concluded, to the surprise of hardly anyone, that foot patrol had
not reduced crime rates. But residents of the foot patrolled neighborhoods seemed to feel more
secure than persons in other areas, tended to believe that crime had been reduced, and seemed to
take fewer steps to protect themselves from crime (staying at home with the doors locked, for
example). Moreover, citizens in the foot-patrol areas had a more favorable opinion of the police than
did those living elsewhere. And officers walking beats had higher morale, greater job satisfaction, and
a more favorable attitude toward citizens in their neighborhoods than did officers assigned to patrol

These findings may be taken as evidence that the skeptics were right- foot patrol has no effect on
crime; it merely fools the citizens into thinking that they are safer. But in our view, and in the view of
the authors of the Police Foundation study (of whom Kelling was one), the citizens of Newark were
not fooled at all. They knew what the foot-patrol officers were doing, they knew it was different from
what motorized officers do, and they knew that having officers walk beats did in fact make their
neighborhoods safer.

But how can a neighborhood be “safer” when the crime rate has not gone down—in fact, may have
gone up? Finding the answer requires first that we understand what most often frightens people in
public places. Many citizens, of course, are primarily frightened by crime, especially crime involving a
sudden, violent attack by a stranger. This risk is very real, in Newark as in many large cities. But we
tend to overlook another source of fear—the fear of being bothered by disorderly people. Not violent
people, nor, necessarily, criminals, but disreputable or obstreperous or unpredictable people:
panhandlers, drunks, addicts, rowdy teenagers, prostitutes, loiterers, the mentally disturbed.

What foot-patrol officers did was to elevate, to the extent they could, the level of public order in these
neighborhoods. Though the neighborhoods were predominantly black and the foot patrolmen were
mostly white, this “order-maintenance” function of the police was performed to the general
satisfaction of both parties.

One of us (Kelling) spent many hours walking with Newark foot-patrol officers to see how they
defined “order” and what they did to maintain it. One beat was typical: a busy but dilapidated area in
the heart of Newark, with many abandoned buildings, marginal shops (several of which prominently
displayed knives and straight-edged razors in their windows), one large department store, and, most
important, a train station and several major bus stops. Though the area was run-down, its streets
were filled with people, because it was a major transportation center. The good order of this area was
important not only to those who lived and worked there but also to many others, who had to move
through it on their way home, to supermarkets, or to factories.

The people on the street were primarily black; the officer who walked the street was white. The
people were made up of “regulars” and “strangers.” Regulars included both “decent folk” and some
drunks and derelicts who were always there but who “knew their place.” Strangers were, well,
strangers, and viewed suspiciously, sometimes apprehensively. The officer—call him Kelly—knew who
the regulars were, and they knew him. As he saw his job, he was to keep an eye on strangers, and

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make certain that the disreputable regulars observed some informal but widely understood rules.
Drunks and addicts could sit on the stoops, but could not lie down. People could drink on side streets,
but not at the main intersection. Bottles had to be in paper bags. Talking to, bothering, or begging
from people waiting at the bus stop was strictly forbidden. If a dispute erupted between a
businessman and a customer, the businessman was assumed to be right, especially if the customer
was a stranger. If a stranger loitered, Kelly would ask him if he had any means of support and what his
business was; if he gave unsatisfactory answers, he was sent on his way. Persons who broke the
informal rules, especially those who bothered people waiting at bus stops, were arrested for vagrancy.
Noisy teenagers were told to keep quiet.

These rules were defined and enforced in collaboration with the “regulars” on the street. Another
neighborhood might have different rules, but these, everybody understood, were the rules for this
neighborhood. If someone violated them, the regulars not only turned to Kelly for help but also
ridiculed the violator. Sometimes what Kelly did could be described as “enforcing the law,” but just as
often it involved taking informal or extralegal steps to help protect what the neighborhood had
decided was the appropriate level of public order. Some of the things he did probably would not
withstand a legal challenge.

A determined skeptic might acknowledge that a skilled foot-patrol officer can maintain order but still
insist that this sort of “order” has little to do with the real sources of community fear—that is, with
violent crime. To a degree, that is true. But two things must be borne in mind. First, outside
observers should not assume that they know how much of the anxiety now endemic in many big-city
neighborhoods stems from a fear of “real” crime and how much from a sense that the street is
disorderly, a source of distasteful, worrisome encounters. The people of Newark, to judge from their
behavior and their remarks to interviewers, apparently assign a high value to public order, and feel
relieved and reassured when the police help them maintain that order.

Second, at the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of
developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a
building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as
true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a
large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are
populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and
so breaking more windows costs nothing. (It has always been fun.)

Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford psychologist, reported in 1969 on some experiments testing the broken-
window theory. He arranged to have an automobile without license plates parked with its hood up on
a street in the Bronx and a comparable automobile on a street in Palo Alto, California. The car in the
Bronx was attacked by “vandals” within ten minutes of its “abandonment.” The first to arrive were a
family—father, mother, and young son—who removed the radiator and battery. Within twenty-four
hours, virtually everything of value had been removed. Then random destruction began—windows
were smashed, parts torn off, upholstery ripped. Children began to use the car as a playground. Most
of the adult “vandals” were well-dressed, apparently clean-cut whites. The car in Palo Alto sat
untouched for more than a week. Then Zimbardo smashed part of it with a sledgehammer. Soon,
passersby were joining in. Within a few hours, the car had been turned upside down and utterly

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destroyed. Again, the “vandals” appeared to be primarily respectable whites.

Untended property becomes fair game for people out for fun or plunder and even for people who
ordinarily would not dream of doing such things and who probably consider themselves law-abiding.
Because of the nature of community life in the Bronx—its anonymity, the frequency with which cars
are abandoned and things are stolen or broken, the past experience of “no one caring”—vandalism
begins much more quickly than it does in staid Palo Alto, where people have come to believe that
private possessions are cared for, and that mischievous behavior is costly. But vandalism can occur
anywhere once communal barriers—the sense of mutual regard and the obligations of civility—are
lowered by actions that seem to signal that “no one cares.”

We suggest that “untended” behavior also leads to the breakdown of community controls. A stable
neighborhood of families who care for their homes, mind each other’s children, and confidently frown
on unwanted intruders can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable and
frightening jungle. A piece of property is abandoned, weeds grow up, a window is smashed. Adults
stop scolding rowdy children; the children, emboldened, become more rowdy. Families move out,
unattached adults move in. Teenagers gather in front of the corner store. The merchant asks them to
move; they refuse. Fights occur. Litter accumulates. People start drinking in front of the grocery; in
time, an inebriate slumps to the sidewalk and is allowed to sleep it off. Pedestrians are approached by

At this point it is not inevitable that serious crime will flourish or violent attacks on strangers will
occur. But many residents will think that crime, especially violent crime, is on the rise, and they will
modify their behavior accordingly. They will use the streets less often, and when on the streets will
stay apart from their fellows, moving with averted eyes, silent lips, and hurried steps. “Don’t get
involved.” For some residents, this growing atomization will matter little, because the neighborhood
is not their “home” but “the place where they live.” Their interests are elsewhere; they are
cosmopolitans. But it will matter greatly to other people, whose lives derive meaning and satisfaction
from local attachments rather than worldly involvement; for them, the neighborhood will cease to
exist except for a few reliable friends whom they arrange to meet.

Such an area is vulnerable to criminal invasion. Though it is not inevitable, it is more likely that here,
rather than in places where people are confident they can regulate public behavior by informal
controls, drugs will change hands, prostitutes will solicit, and cars will be stripped. That the drunks
will be robbed by boys who do it as a lark, and the prostitutes’ customers will be robbed by men who
do it purposefully and perhaps violently. That muggings will occur.

Among those who often find it difficult to move away from this are the elderly. Surveys of citizens
suggest that the elderly are much less likely to be the victims of crime than younger persons, and
some have inferred from this that the well-known fear of crime voiced by the elderly is an
exaggeration: perhaps we ought not to design special programs to protect older persons; perhaps we
should even try to talk them out of their mistaken fears. This argument misses the point. The
prospect of a confrontation with an obstreperous teenager or a drunken panhandler can be as fear-
inducing for defenseless persons as the prospect of meeting an actual robber; indeed, to a defenseless
person, the two kinds of confrontation are often indistinguishable. Moreover, the lower rate at which

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the elderly are victimized is a measure of the steps they have already taken—chiefly, staying behind
locked doors—to minimize the risks they face. Young men are more frequently attacked than older
women, not because they are easier or more lucrative targets but because they are on the streets

Nor is the connection between disorderliness and fear made only by the elderly. Susan Estrich, of the
Harvard Law School, has recently gathered together a number of surveys on the sources of public
fear. One, done in Portland, Oregon, indicated that three fourths of the adults interviewed cross to the
other side of a street when they see a gang of teenagers; another survey, in Baltimore, discovered that
nearly half would cross the street to avoid even a single strange youth. When an interviewer asked
people in a housing project where the most dangerous spot was, they mentioned a place where young
persons gathered to drink and play music, despite the fact that not a single crime had occurred there.
In Boston public housing projects, the greatest fear was expressed by persons living in the buildings
where disorderliness and incivility, not crime, were the greatest. Knowing this helps one understand
the significance of such otherwise harmless displays as subway graffiti. As Nathan Glazer has written,
the proliferation of graffiti, even when not obscene, confronts the subway rider with the inescapable
knowledge that the environment he must endure for an hour or more a day is uncontrolled and
uncontrollable, and that anyone can invade it to do whatever damage and mischief the mind suggests.”

In response to fear people avoid one another, weakening controls. Sometimes they call the police.
Patrol cars arrive, an occasional arrest occurs but crime continues and disorder is not abated. Citizens
complain to the police chief, but he explains that his department is low on personnel and that the
courts do not punish petty or first-time offenders. To the residents, the police who arrive in squad
cars are either ineffective or uncaring: to the police, the residents are animals who deserve each
other. The citizens may soon stop calling the police, because “they can’t do anything.”

The process we call urban decay has occurred for centuries in every city. But what is happening today
is different in at least two important respects. First, in the period before, say, World War II, city
dwellers- because of money costs, transportation difficulties, familial and church connections—could
rarely move away from neighborhood problems. When movement did occur, it tended to be along
public-transit routes. Now mobility has become exceptionally easy for all but the poorest or those
who are blocked by racial prejudice. Earlier crime waves had a kind of built-in self-correcting
mechanism: the determination of a neighborhood or community to reassert control over its turf.
Areas in Chicago, New York, and Boston would experience crime and gang wars, and then normalcy
would return, as the families for whom no alternative residences were possible reclaimed their
authority over the streets.

Second, the police in this earlier period assisted in that reassertion of authority by acting, sometimes
violently, on behalf of the community. Young toughs were roughed up, people were arrested “on
suspicion” or for vagrancy, and prostitutes and petty thieves were routed. “Rights” were something
enjoyed by decent folk, and perhaps also by the serious professional criminal, who avoided violence
and could afford a lawyer.

This pattern of policing was not an aberration or the result of occasional excess. From the earliest
days of the nation, the police function was seen primarily as that of a night watchman: to maintain

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order against the chief threats to order—fire, wild animals, and disreputable behavior. Solving crimes
was viewed not as a police responsibility but as a private one. In the March, 1969, Atlantic, one of us
(Wilson) wrote a brief account of how the police role had slowly changed from maintaining order to
fighting crimes. The change began with the creation of private detectives (often ex-criminals), who
worked on a contingency-fee basis for individuals who had suffered losses. In time, the detectives
were absorbed in municipal agencies and paid a regular salary simultaneously, the responsibility for
prosecuting thieves was shifted from the aggrieved private citizen to the professional prosecutor. This
process was not complete in most places until the twentieth century.

In the l960s, when urban riots were a major problem, social scientists began to explore carefully the
order maintenance function of the police, and to suggest ways of improving it—not to make streets
safer (its original function) but to reduce the incidence of mass violence. Order maintenance became,
to a degree, coterminous with “community relations.” But, as the crime wave that began in the early
l960s continued without abatement throughout the decade and into the 1970s, attention shifted to the
role of the police as crime-fighters. Studies of police behavior ceased, by and large, to be accounts of
the order-maintenance function and became, instead, efforts to propose and test ways whereby the
police could solve more crimes, make more arrests, and gather better evidence. If these things could
be done, social scientists assumed, citizens would be less fearful.

A great deal was accomplished during this transition, as both police chiefs and outside experts
emphasized the crime-fighting function in their plans, in the allocation of resources, and in
deployment of personnel. The police may well have become better crime-fighters as a result. And
doubtless they remained aware of their responsibility for order. But the link between order-
maintenance and crime-prevention, so obvious to earlier generations, was forgotten.

That link is similar to the process whereby one broken window becomes many. The citizen who fears
the ill-smelling drunk, the rowdy teenager, or the importuning beggar is not merely expressing his
distaste for unseemly behavior; he is also giving voice to a bit of folk wisdom that happens to be a
correct generalization—namely, that serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly
behavior goes unchecked. The unchecked panhandler is, in effect, the first broken window. Muggers
and robbers, whether opportunistic or professional, believe they reduce their chances of being caught
or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by
prevailing conditions. If the neighborhood cannot keep a bothersome panhandler from annoying
passersby, the thief may reason, it is even less likely to call the police to identify a potential mugger
or to interfere if the mugging actually takes place.

Some police administrators concede that this process occurs, but argue that motorized-patrol officers
can deal with it as effectively as foot patrol officers. We are not so sure. In theory, an officer in a
squad car can observe as much as an officer on foot; in theory, the former can talk to as many people
as the latter. But the reality of police-citizen encounters is powerfully altered by the automobile. An
officer on foot cannot separate himself from the street people; if he is approached, only his uniform
and his personality can help him manage whatever is about to happen. And he can never be certain
what that will be—a request for directions, a plea for help, an angry denunciation, a teasing remark, a
confused babble, a threatening gesture.

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In a car, an officer is more likely to deal with street people by rolling down the window and looking at
them. The door and the window exclude the approaching citizen; they are a barrier. Some officers
take advantage of this barrier, perhaps unconsciously, by acting differently if in the car than they
would on foot. We have seen this countless times. The police car pulls up to a corner where teenagers
are gathered. The window is rolled down. The officer stares at the youths. They stare back. The officer
says to one, “C’mere.” He saunters over, conveying to his friends by his elaborately casual style the
idea that he is not intimidated by authority. What’s your name?” “Chuck.” “Chuck who?” “Chuck
Jones.” “What’ya doing, Chuck?” “Nothin’.” “Got a P.O. [parole officer]?” “Nah.” “Sure?” “Yeah.” “Stay
out of trouble, Chuckie.” Meanwhile, the other boys laugh and exchange comments among
themselves, probably at the officer’s expense. The officer stares harder. He cannot be certain what is
being said, nor can he join in and, by displaying his own skill at street banter, prove that he cannot be
“put down.” In the process, the officer has learned almost nothing, and the boys have decided the
officer is an alien force who can safely be disregarded, even mocked.

Our experience is that most citizens like to talk to a police officer. Such exchanges give them a sense
of importance, provide them with the basis for gossip, and allow them to explain to the authorities
what is worrying them (whereby they gain a modest but significant sense of having “done something”
about the problem). You approach a person on foot more easily, and talk to him more readily, than
you do a person in a car. Moreover, you can more easily retain some anonymity if you draw an officer
aside for a private chat. Suppose you want to pass on a tip about who is stealing handbags, or who
offered to sell you a stolen TV. In the inner city, the culprit, in all likelihood, lives nearby. To walk up
to a marked patrol car and lean in the window is to convey a visible signal that you are a “fink.”

The essence of the police role in maintaining order is to reinforce the informal control mechanisms of
the community itself. The police cannot, without committing extraordinary resources, provide a
substitute for that informal control. On the other hand, to reinforce those natural forces the police
must accommodate them. And therein lies the problem.

Should police activity on the street be shaped, in important ways, by the standards of the
neighborhood rather than by the rules of the state? Over the past two decades, the shift of police from
order-maintenance to law enforcement has brought them increasingly under the influence of legal
restrictions, provoked by media complaints and enforced by court decisions and departmental orders.
As a consequence, the order maintenance functions of the police are now governed by rules developed
to control police relations with suspected criminals. This is, we think, an entirely new development.
For centuries, the role of the police as watchmen was judged primarily not in terms of its compliance
with appropriate procedures but rather in terms of its attaining a desired objective. The objective was
order, an inherently ambiguous term but a condition that people in a given community recognized
when they saw it. The means were the same as those the community itself would employ, if its
members were sufficiently determined, courageous, and authoritative. Detecting and apprehending
criminals, by contrast, was a means to an end, not an end in itself; a judicial determination of guilt or
innocence was the hoped-for result of the law-enforcement mode. From the first, the police were
expected to follow rules defining that process, though states differed in how stringent the rules should
be. The criminal-apprehension process was always understood to involve individual rights, the
violation of which was unacceptable because it meant that the violating officer would be acting as a

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judge and jury—and that was not his job. Guilt or innocence was to be determined by universal
standards under special procedures.

Ordinarily, no judge or jury ever sees the persons caught up in a dispute over the appropriate level of
neighborhood order. That is true not only because most cases are handled informally on the street
but also because no universal standards are available to settle arguments over disorder, and thus a
judge may not be any wiser or more effective than a police officer. Until quite recently in many states,
and even today in some places, the police made arrests on such charges as “suspicious person” or
“vagrancy” or “public drunkenness”—charges with scarcely any legal meaning. These charges exist not
because society wants judges to punish vagrants or drunks but because it wants an officer to have the
legal tools to remove undesirable persons from a neighborhood when informal efforts to preserve
order in the streets have failed.

Once we begin to think of all aspects of police work as involving the application of universal rules
under special procedures, we inevitably ask what constitutes an “undesirable person” and why we
should “criminalize” vagrancy or drunkenness. A strong and commendable desire to see that people
are treated fairly makes us worry about allowing the police to rout persons who are undesirable by
some vague or parochial standard. A growing and not-so-commendable utilitarianism leads us to
doubt that any behavior that does not “hurt” another person should be made illegal. And thus many of
us who watch over the police are reluctant to allow them to perform, in the only way they can, a
function that every neighborhood desperately wants them to perform.

This wish to “decriminalize” disreputable behavior that “harms no one”- and thus remove the
ultimate sanction the police can employ to maintain neighborhood order—is, we think, a mistake.
Arresting a single drunk or a single vagrant who has harmed no identifiable person seems unjust, and
in a sense it is. But failing to do anything about a score of drunks or a hundred vagrants may destroy
an entire community. A particular rule that seems to make sense in the individual case makes no
sense when it is made a universal rule and applied to all cases. It makes no sense because it fails to
take into account the connection between one broken window left untended and a thousand broken
windows. Of course, agencies other than the police could attend to the problems posed by drunks or
the mentally ill, but in most communities especially where the “deinstitutionalization” movement has
been strong—they do not.

The concern about equity is more serious. We might agree that certain behavior makes one person
more undesirable than another but how do we ensure that age or skin color or national origin or
harmless mannerisms will not also become the basis for distinguishing the undesirable from the
desirable? How do we ensure, in short, that the police do not become the agents of neighborhood

We can offer no wholly satisfactory answer to this important question. We are not confident that
there is a satisfactory answer except to hope that by their selection, training, and supervision, the
police will be inculcated with a clear sense of the outer limit of their discretionary authority. That
limit, roughly, is this—the police exist to help regulate behavior, not to maintain the racial or ethnic
purity of a neighborhood.

Consider the case of the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, one of the largest public-housing projects

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in the country. It is home for nearly 20,000 people, all black, and extends over ninety-two acres along
South State Street. It was named after a distinguished black who had been, during the 1940s,
chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority. Not long after it opened, in 1962, relations between
project residents and the police deteriorated badly. The citizens felt that the police were insensitive
or brutal; the police, in turn, complained of unprovoked attacks on them. Some Chicago officers tell of
times when they were afraid to enter the Homes. Crime rates soared.

Today, the atmosphere has changed. Police-citizen relations have improved—apparently, both sides
learned something from the earlier experience. Recently, a boy stole a purse and ran off. Several
young persons who saw the theft voluntarily passed along to the police information on the identity
and residence of the thief, and they did this publicly, with friends and neighbors looking on. But
problems persist, chief among them the presence of youth gangs that terrorize residents and recruit
members in the project. The people expect the police to “do something” about this, and the police are
determined to do just that.

But do what? Though the police can obviously make arrests whenever a gang member breaks the law,
a gang can form, recruit, and congregate without breaking the law. And only a tiny fraction of gang-
related crimes can be solved by an arrest; thus, if an arrest is the only recourse for the police, the
residents’ fears will go unassuaged. The police will soon feel helpless, and the residents will again
believe that the police “do nothing.” What the police in fact do is to chase known gang members out of
the project. In the words of one officer, “We kick ass.” Project residents both know and approve of
this. The tacit police-citizen alliance in the project is reinforced by the police view that the cops and
the gangs are the two rival sources of power in the area, and that the gangs are not going to win.

None of this is easily reconciled with any conception of due process or fair treatment. Since both
residents and gang members are black, race is not a factor. But it could be. Suppose a white project
confronted a black gang, or vice versa. We would be apprehensive about the police taking sides. But
the substantive problem remains the same: how can the police strengthen the informal social-control
mechanisms of natural communities in order to minimize fear in public places? Law enforcement, per
se, is no answer: a gang can weaken or destroy a community by standing about in a menacing fashion
and speaking rudely to passersby without breaking the law.

We have difficulty thinking about such matters, not simply because the ethical and legal issues are so
complex but because we have become accustomed to thinking of the law in essentially individualistic
terms. The law defines my rights, punishes his behavior and is applied by that officer because of this
harm. We assume, in thinking this way, that what is good for the individual will be good for the
community and what doesn’t matter when it happens to one person won’t matter if it happens to
many. Ordinarily, those are plausible assumptions. But in cases where behavior that is tolerable to
one person is intolerable to many others, the reactions of the others—fear, withdrawal, flight—may
ultimately make matters worse for everyone, including the individual who first professed his

It may be their greater sensitivity to communal as opposed to individual needs that helps explain why
the residents of small communities are more satisfied with their police than are the residents of
similar neighborhoods in big cities. Elinor Ostrom and her co-workers at Indiana University

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compared the perception of police services in two poor, all-black Illinois towns—Phoenix and East
Chicago Heights with those of three comparable all-black neighborhoods in Chicago. The level of
criminal victimization and the quality of police-community relations appeared to be about the same
in the towns and the Chicago neighborhoods. But the citizens living in their own villages were much
more likely than those living in the Chicago neighborhoods to say that they do not stay at home for
fear of crime, to agree that the local police have “the right to take any action necessary” to deal with
problems, and to agree that the police “look out for the needs of the average citizen.” It is possible
that the residents and the police of the small towns saw themselves as engaged in a collaborative
effort to maintain a certain standard of communal life, whereas those of the big city felt themselves to
be simply requesting and supplying particular services on an individual basis.

If this is true, how should a wise police chief deploy his meager forces? The first answer is that
nobody knows for certain, and the most prudent course of action would be to try further variations on
the Newark experiment, to see more precisely what works in what kinds of neighborhoods. The
second answer is also a hedge—many aspects of order maintenance in neighborhoods can probably
best be handled in ways that involve the police minimally if at all. A busy bustling shopping center
and a quiet, well-tended suburb may need almost no visible police presence. In both cases, the ratio of
respectable to disreputable people is ordinarily so high as to make informal social control effective.

Even in areas that are in jeopardy from disorderly elements, citizen action without substantial police
involvement may be sufficient. Meetings between teenagers who like to hang out on a particular
corner and adults who want to use that corner might well lead to an amicable agreement on a set of
rules about how many people can be allowed to congregate, where, and when.

Where no understanding is possible—or if possible, not observed—citizen patrols may be a sufficient
response. There are two traditions of communal involvement in maintaining order: One, that of the
“community watchmen,” is as old as the first settlement of the New World. Until well into the
nineteenth century, volunteer watchmen, not policemen, patrolled their communities to keep order.
They did so, by and large, without taking the law into their own hands—without, that is, punishing
persons or using force. Their presence deterred disorder or alerted the community to disorder that
could not be deterred. There are hundreds of such efforts today in communities all across the nation.
Perhaps the best known is that of the Guardian Angels, a group of unarmed young persons in
distinctive berets and T-shirts, who first came to public attention when they began patrolling the New
York City subways but who claim now to have chapters in more than thirty American cities.
Unfortunately, we have little information about the effect of these groups on crime. It is possible,
however, that whatever their effect on crime, citizens find their presence reassuring, and that they
thus contribute to maintaining a sense of order and civility.

The second tradition is that of the “vigilante.” Rarely a feature of the settled communities of the East,
it was primarily to be found in those frontier towns that grew up in advance of the reach of
government. More than 350 vigilante groups are known to have existed; their distinctive feature was
that their members did take the law into their own hands, by acting as judge, jury, and often
executioner as well as policeman. Today, the vigilante movement is conspicuous by its rarity, despite
the great fear expressed by citizens that the older cities are becoming “urban frontiers.” But some
community-watchmen groups have skirted the line, and others may cross it in the future. An

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ambiguous case, reported in The Wall Street Journal involved a citizens’ patrol in the Silver Lake area
of Belleville, New Jersey. A leader told the reporter, “We look for outsiders.” If a few teenagers from
outside the neighborhood enter it, “we ask them their business,” he said. “If they say they’re going
down the street to see Mrs. Jones, fine, we let them pass. But then we follow them down the block to
make sure they’re really going to see Mrs. Jones.”

Though citizens can do a great deal, the police are plainly the key to order maintenance. For one
thing, many communities, such as the Robert Taylor Homes, cannot do the job by themselves. For
another, no citizen in a neighborhood, even an organized one, is likely to feel the sense of
responsibility that wearing a badge confers. Psychologists have done many studies on why people fail
to go to the aid of persons being attacked or seeking help, and they have learned that the cause is not
“apathy” or “selfishness” but the absence of some plausible grounds for feeling that one must
personally accept responsibility. Ironically, avoiding responsibility is easier when a lot of people are
standing about. On streets and in public places, where order is so important, many people are likely
to be “around,” a fact that reduces the chance of any one person acting as the agent of the community.
The police officer’s uniform singles him out as a person who must accept responsibility if asked. In
addition, officers, more easily than their fellow citizens, can be expected to distinguish between what
is necessary to protect the safety of the street and what merely protects its ethnic purity.

But the police forces of America are losing, not gaining, members. Some cities have suffered
substantial cuts in the number of officers available for duty. These cuts are not likely to be reversed in
the near future. Therefore, each department must assign its existing officers with great care. Some
neighborhoods are so demoralized and crime-ridden as to make foot patrol useless; the best the
police can do with limited resources is respond to the enormous number of calls for service. Other
neighborhoods are so stable and serene as to make foot patrol unnecessary. The key is to identify
neighborhoods at the tipping point—where the public order is deteriorating but not unreclaimable,
where the streets are used frequently but by apprehensive people, where a window is likely to be
broken at any time, and must quickly be fixed if all are not to be shattered.

Most police departments do not have ways of systematically identifying such areas and assigning
officers to them. Officers are assigned on the basis of crime rates (meaning that marginally threatened
areas are often stripped so that police can investigate crimes in areas where the situation is hopeless)
or on the basis of calls for service (despite the fact that most citizens do not call the police when they
are merely frightened or annoyed). To allocate patrol wisely, the department must look at the
neighborhoods and decide, from first-hand evidence, where an additional officer will make the
greatest difference in promoting a sense of safety.

One way to stretch limited police resources is being tried in some public housing projects. Tenant
organizations hire off-duty police officers for patrol work in their buildings. The costs are not high (at
least not per resident), the officer likes the additional income, and the residents feel safer. Such
arrangements are probably more successful than hiring private watchmen, and the Newark
experiment helps us understand why. A private security guard may deter crime or misconduct by his
presence, and he may go to the aid of persons needing help, but he may well not intervene—that is,
control or drive away—someone challenging community standards. Being a sworn officer—a “real
cop”—seems to give one the confidence, the sense of duty, and the aura of authority necessary to

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perform this difficult task.

Patrol officers might be encouraged to go to and from duty stations on public transportation and,
while on the bus or subway car, enforce rules about smoking, drinking, disorderly conduct, and the
like. The enforcement need involve nothing more than ejecting the offender (the offense, after all, is
not one with which a booking officer or a judge wishes to be bothered). Perhaps the random but
relentless maintenance of standards on buses would lead to conditions on buses that approximate the
level of civility we now take for granted on airplanes.

But the most important requirement is to think that to maintain order in precarious situations is a
vital job. The police know this is one of their functions, and they also believe, correctly, that it cannot
be done to the exclusion of criminal investigation and responding to calls. We may have encouraged
them to suppose, however, on the basis of our oft-repeated concerns about serious, violent crime, that
they will be judged exclusively on their capacity as crime-fighters. To the extent that this is the case,
police administrators will continue to concentrate police personnel in the highest-crime areas
(though not necessarily in the areas most vulnerable to criminal invasion), emphasize their training in
the law and criminal apprehension (and not their training in managing street life), and join too
quickly in campaigns to decriminalize “harmless” behavior (though public drunkenness, street
prostitution, and pornographic displays can destroy a community more quickly than any team of
professional burglars).

Above all, we must return to our long-abandoned view that the police ought to protect communities
as well as individuals. Our crime statistics and victimization surveys measure individual losses, but
they do not measure communal losses. Just as physicians now recognize the importance of fostering
health rather than simply treating illness, so the police—and the rest of us—ought to recognize the
importance of maintaining, intact, communities without broken windows.

This article available online at:


Copyright © 2014 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

Policing Communities: What Works?

Lawrence W. Sherman

Source: Crime and Justice, Vol. 8, Communities and Crime (1986), pp. 343-386
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
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Lawrence W. Sherman

Policing Communities:
What Works?


Communities vary widely in the ways in which police exercise discretion;
in their resources; in their mixtures of public police, private police,
and voluntary citizen policing; in the nature and severity of problems
requiring policing; and in the physical geography that shapes options
for policing. Yet communities vary relatively little in basic police
strategy. Residential neighborhoods in American metropolitan areas are
policed primarily by officers driving around in unfocused patrol, largely
waiting for calls for service. Public police should probably supplement
the single-complaint strategy in most communities with a variety of
mixed-strategy models. The specific strategies employed in any particular
community should be based on the community’s unique characteristics.
Recent research suggests some conclusions about the relative effectiveness
of various policing strategies in general, but it says little about interaction
effects between strategies and neighborhoods. Informal experimentation
may provide guidance for fitting strategies to the characteristics and
problems of specific communities.

Policing varies substantially across communities. This variation is best

documented at the citywide level of analysis by systematically observed

police discretion (Black and Reiss 1967; Friedrich 1977; Smith 1984)
and officially recorded rates of arrests per reported offense (Wilson
1968; Swanson 1978); of arrests per capita (Gardiner 1969; Wilson and
Boland 1978); and of citizens killed by police (Robin 1963; Matulia
1982; Blumberg 1983; Sherman and Cohn 1986a). Such variation has also

Lawrence W. Sherman is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Center for
Crime Control at the University of Maryland. Albert J. Reiss, Jr., Franklin Zimring, and
Ronald V. Clarke provided helpful comments on earlier drafts.

? 1986 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


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344 Lawrence Sherman

been documented in neighborhoods within cities. Fyfe (1978) has
shown enormous variation across New York City precincts in the rates

at which police use deadly force. Croft (1985) has suggested substantial
variation across Rochester, New York, patrol divisions in the use of
nonlethal force. And Smith (in this volume) has presented systematic
observation evidence on variation in arrests, use of force, and crime

reporting across neighborhoods.

This essay addresses the consequences of variations in police practice

that result from planned and purposive efforts of policymakers. The
question of which policing strategies work best to control crime (or to

improve the quality of life, or to improve police-community relations,
or to reduce public fear of crime) has received increased attention over

the past two decades, especially at the community level of analysis. But
the question has never been formulated in terms of the difference that

community context makes in police effectiveness. Do different types of

policing produce different gains and costs in different types of com-

munities? What interaction effects, if any, exist between community
characteristics and policing in shaping police effectiveness?

Unfortunately, little systematic evidence can be brought to bear on

these questions. The measurement of interaction effects requires ade-

quate sample sizes, and community-level evaluations of policing prac-
tices are woefully short on sample size even for main effects. Alterna-

tively, it requires replication of experiments that test virtually identical

policing strategies in many different types of communities. These ques-

tions can be approached through a review of the literature on police
effectiveness in general, focusing on the implications it may hold for

interaction effects of policing and community.

This essay defines “policing” in the means-oriented approach of
Egon Bittner (1970) and Carl Klockars (1985). Policing clearly encom-
passes “institutions or individuals given the general right to use coercive

force by the state within the state’s domestic territory” (Klockars 1985,

p. 12). But it should also encompass persons or institutions watching
for crime, threatening to act if crime is committed, or mobilizing others

to act. This definition allows this essay to focus on the question of
which approaches to policing communities work best in controlling

There is both more and less variation in the policing of communities
than the existing literature describes. There is more variation in the mix

of organizational structures of policing arrangements than the literature
suggests, which implies much greater variation across communities in

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Policing Communities: What Works? 345

resources for policing than is apparent in the literature’s concentration

on the number of public police officers or the size of the public police

budget. There is arguably less contemporary variation across com-
munities in basic police strategies than the literature on discretion
seems to imply.

Section I of this essay presents a model of the interaction between
community characteristics and policing. Section II develops the model
with an inventory of the basic choices of organizational structure, re-

sources, and strategy in policing communities. Section III reviews the
recent research critique of the prevailing “single-complaint” policing
strategy found in the majority of metropolitan residential communities.

Some possible alternatives to that strategy are examined from the per-

spective of public police, citizens, and private police. This essay con-
cludes with some hypotheses and tentative policy recommendations on

how police should take community characteristics into account.
The essay excludes many of the strategies that public police depart-

ments employ–including detective units, vice squads, hostage negoti-
ation units, tactical units, and harbor police-for two reasons. First,
there is almost no published evidence on the effectiveness of these units

(but see Eck 1986). Second, these units are not usually designed to
operate at a neighborhood level. The value in considering the difference

that community context can make to policing is found largely in the
“patrol” function, whether performed by citizens, public police, or
private police.

I. Varieties of Community Policing
This essay assumes that there is substantial interaction between the
characteristics of each community and the way it is policed. There is
enormous variation in policing across cities and within cities across
neighborhoods. There is variation in the “natural” characteristics of the

community, ranging from physical geography and demographics to
political power. There is also variation in the decisions made by police
executives and others constrained by community characteristics about

policing in each community. Those decisions largely determine the
structures, resources, and strategies of policing each community.

The consequences that strategic decision makers expect from polic-
ing a specific community in a given manner may vary. The selection of
options for community policing may depend heavily on the theories or
research that decision makers rely on in predicting the effects of various
police actions. These anticipated consequences include both costs and

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346 Lawrence Sherman

benefits, such as judgments about how harsh a crackdown on crime is

feasible without adverse effects on community relations or pressures
from specific interest groups.

A third interaction is the feedback of actual and perceived conse-
quences of community policing on the specific problems it may ad-
dress. What community residents and organizations may think about
the effectiveness of their community’s policing, or what police officials

may find in tracking crime trends or citizen complaints, or what news-

papers or citywide interest groups may say can all be important in
changing or sustaining the policing practices of a specific community.

Some examples may help to clarify each of these points. Wilson
(1968) has shown, for example, that some cities are far more likely than
are others to make arrests for public intoxication. Sherman and Cohn

(1986b) have shown that cities vary widely in their responses to minor

domestic violence, from encouraging arrest to letting police officers
ignore the problem. Both kinds of variation may be due to differences

in political pressures or political values in different cities.

Substantial differences in police practices can be found also at the
neighborhood level within cities (e.g., Westley 1970, p. 97). Such vari-
ation is a joint product of what police expect will be the consequences
of their differing behaviors in different neighborhoods and of what the

political power of the different neighborhoods will let them get away

with. A neighborhood that objects to police behavior may or may not

be able to generate sufficient political pressure to change that behavior.

Neighborhood policing strategies aimed at solving specific problems

are often generated by the changing power bases of different neighbor-

hoods. Gentrification of previously poor areas, for example, can gener-

ate substantial pressure on police to eliminate street prostitution that
may have a long neighborhood history.

Neighborhood policing strategies can also change simply because an
old problem seems to be getting worse. New York City police under-
took a massive effort to suppress drug dealing in the Lower East Side of
Manhattan in 1984-85 after the problem received renewed media atten-

tion. Washington, D.C., police in 1985 cracked down on parking in
Georgetown, which was closely linked to disorder problems caused by
teenagers drinking in and around parked cars on main streets.

Some would argue that these kinds of neighborhood variations in
police practices are widespread in American cities, with police officials
and officers constantly adjusting their practices according to changing
community characteristics. Others argue, as I do, that organizational

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Policing Communities: What Works? 347

structures and resources may vary widely across neighborhoods but
that the basic strategy of putting the bulk of police resources into rapid

response to dispatched calls for service varies little. Few would disagree

that there could be greater diversity of police strategies across neighbor-

hoods. There is ample room for more mixing of approaches and more
sensitivity to community differences.

II. Basic Choices in Policing Communities
Basic choices are made in each community about at least three aspects

of policing-the organizational structures of policing, the nature and
the level of policing resources, and the strategies used to deploy those

resources. These choices are obviously interrelated since organizational

structure choices may limit the availability of resources, which in turn

may limit strategic possibilities. The choices may vary substantially
over time. Because all these choices are not made by any centralized
decision-making body, it is always difficult to measure exactly which
choices any given community has made.

These choices are made for each community by public police offi-
cials, private business property owners, and residents. Some commu-
nities can afford a great deal of private policing; others cannot. Some

communities are public spirited enough to generate substantial volun-
teer labor for policing; others are too atomized. Some communities
have substantial numbers of young people or others creating disorder
problems on the streets; others have little visible crime or disorder.

Some communities feature a great deal of commercial and business
activity; others are exclusively residential. The physical geography of
communities creates different needs and limitations for policing; popu-
lation and automobile density, type of housing structure, presence or

absence of sidewalks, and street patterns vary greatly. Some com-
munities are highly dense, with much foot traffic and ample opportuni-

ties for surveillance of public places from private residences. Other
communities are geographically spread out, with few public or private

places under surveillance. These differences determine the range of
choices that can be made for community policing and create different
requirements for an appropriate mix of policing strategies.

A. Organizational Structures

The ideal mixture of policing produced by private organizations,
public organizations, or citizen volunteers has long been a central pol-
icy issue. The solution has important implications for police efficiency

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348 Lawrence Sherman

and effectiveness and for the accountability of police use of force and

the character of a democratic society.

At the heart of the debate are the twin problems of what government

should do and how much tax money it should spend. In the “taxpayers’

revolt” atmosphere of the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was fashionable

to call for greater voluntary citizen participation in policing (e.g., Lav-

rakas 1985). At the same time, privately paid policing efforts have
grown rapidly (Cunningham and Taylor 1985). The reality of modern
America is a mixed model of citizen volunteers, privately paid guards,
and full-time publicly paid police, with substantial variation across

Klockars (1985) distinguishes different organizational systems for
policing according to whether policing is vocational (a paid, full-time
job) or avocational (unpaid and usually not full-time), whether it is done

on an obligatory basis by governmental order (such as paying taxes) or

done voluntarily, and whether it is done for fixed wages or on a fee-for-

service basis. Table 1 similarly distinguishes different “structures” of
policing in terms of who does the work and why. Much of the table is

derived from the legal distinctions among the powers and obligations of
the different actors performing police services. The table omits many

important differences among the models, such as the nature of their
hierarchy and accountability, the organization of their intelligence
about crime, and the process by which they are mobilized.

The first structure, occasional voluntary citizen policing, may vary
widely among communities. Citizen’s arrest is the most dramatic ex-

ample and is far from rare. A study of Part I arrests in Kansas City
immediately after the offense found that 20 percent were made by


Typology of Police Organizational Structures

Who Does the Work?

Why? Citizens Private Police Public Police

Occasional Citizen’s arrest Off-duty arrest Off-duty arrest
Regular Citizen patrols Take-home cars Take-home cars

Occasional Hue and cry Felony in presence Felony in presence
Regular Watch Foreseeable crime Special request


Public funds … “Privatization” City police
Private funds … Private security Special details


Public funds Informants Bounty hunters
Private funds Crimestoppers Private detectives Moonlighting

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Policing Communities: What Works? 349

citizen volunteers at the scene (Kansas City Police Department 1977, p.

29). Another study found that burglars in one jurisdiction have a better
chance of being shot by their victims than they do of going to prison
(Kleck [1979], as cited in Wright, Rossi, and Daly [1983], p. 139). Such
“self-help” (cf. Black 1983) is central to political debates over gun con-

trol and “vigilantism.”

The voluntary occasional policing of off-duty police and security
guards can also be quite substantial. One-fourth of the 239 officers
killed in the line of duty from 1844 to 1978 in New York City were off

duty (Margarita 1980, p. 83). Other studies found that 12-17 percent of

the citizens killed by police are killed in off-duty incidents (Milton et al.

1977, p. 27; Fyfe 1980, p. 73). A substantial regular and predictable
police presence may also result when public or private police officers
are permitted to take marked police cars home and use them for per-
sonal business.

Regular voluntary citizen patrols in this country date back to the
colonial watch system and were revitalized by civil defense work of the

two world wars. Some cities, like New York, continued those patrols in

uniform for trained auxiliary police; as of 1986, 8,700 volunteers were

certified and armed with nightsticks for regular patrol to supplement

some 25,000 paid police officers (Bird and Dunlap 1986). New York
and other cities have also encouraged untrained and uncertified citizens

to patrol in plainclothes as part of the Neighborhood Watch program.

These programs seem particularly strong in middle-class or lower-
middle-class, ethnically transitional neighborhoods (Marx and Archer
1971). The Guardian Angels movement of young people patrolling
subways and other public places in groups (Klockars 1985, pp. 33-34)
seems strongest in low-income minority neighborhoods.

Obligatory policing is now virtually gone as a matter of criminal law

but has recently been revived in the civil law. The obligation of private

citizens and even of public police to police public places has all but
disappeared, but the obligations of property owners to their invitees
and of public police to those who call on them have intensified. The
expansion of tort law in recent years has affected the legal obligations of
both private and public policing. Since entertainer Connie Francis won

over a million dollars in a lawsuit against a motel where she was raped
(Garzilli v. Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodges, Inc., 419 F. Supp. 1210
[1976]), many more such lawsuits have been filed and won (Sherman
and Klein 1984). State supreme courts have upheld and expanded the
duty of landlords to police their property adequately against foresee-
able crimes committed by third parties (e.g., Isaacs v. Huntington Memo-

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350 Lawrence Sherman

rial Hospital, 695 P.2d 653 [Cal. 1985]) and have upheld the duty of
public police departments to respond effectively to requests for assis-
tance. Failure to meet these legal obligations to provide police protec-
tion has, in recent years, produced a $2 million award against the New

York police for failing to investigate a complaint of possible child abuse

(“Court of Appeals Tells City to Pay $2 Million to Girl Father Stabbed”

1985); a $2.3 million verdict against a Connecticut police department
for failing to arrest a wife beater (“Officers Must Pay $2.3 Million to Wife

Maimed by Husband” 1985); and a decision against a Washington state
police department that did not respond quickly enough to a 911 call to

keep the callers from being attacked (Chambers-Castanes v. King County,

669 P.2d 451[1983]). The extent of these new obligations varies from
state to state and practically across communities.

“Contract” policing denotes policing as a full-time job, generally, in a

bureaucratic organization. The most common version is publicly
funded and publicly operated in municipal and county police agencies.

The latest and still quite rare innovation in police structure is pub-
licly funded and privately contracted policing in which public tax levies

are used to retain a private, for-profit firm to provide basic police
services. Reminderville, Ohio, became one of the first communities to

employ this “privatization” arrangement with its small ($90,000 per
year) police budget when the county sheriff raised the fee it would
charge the city to twice that amount (Gage 1982). Although the ar-
rangement was later discontinued because of persisting questions about

the legal authority of private employees acting as city police officers
(Tolchin 1985a), it has been employed in several small cities in Florida
(George Zoley, personal communication, 1985). In a more common
variant, communities contract with other public police agencies, which

often creates competition among the candidate agencies and permits a

community to change its police force almost overnight.

Privately funded and operated contract policing personnel now out-

number publicly funded personnel by over two to one (Cunningham
and Taylor 1984, p. 3). Many work behind factory walls and apart
from the community, but many are employed to protect public places
such as parking lots, hospitals, and hotels. Many upper-middle-class
and upper-class residential communities retain such patrol services on a

collective basis, and the millions of individual home owners purchasing
“central station” burglar alarms are paying, in effect, for a rapid re-
sponse by private police to a signal from their home.

Less attention has been given to the privately funded public police

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Policing Communities: What Works? 351

activities, ranging from downtown Oakland property owners commit-

ting $300,000-$400,000 annually to the police department for extra
downtown patrols (Reiss 1985, p. 18) to private interests in old north-

eastern cities hiring police to work overtime at construction sites, enter-

tainment events, and late-night commercial establishments (Tolchin
1985b). In some cities, the number of public police on duty at any given

time performing private tasks may be greater than the number perform-

ing public tasks.

Although Anglo-American policing once relied heavily on publicly
funded rewards and fees to support apprehension of criminals (Rad-
zinowicz 1956, p. 33), the role of such incentives is greatly restricted
today. The “thief taker” has been replaced with the informant, who is

generally rewarded with leniency more often than with money.

Privately funded reward policing is probably stronger now than it
has been since the nineteenth century. The most visible example is the

“Crimestoppers” program organized by business people in 443 cities to

offer rewards for the solution of highly publicized crimes (Rosenbaum,

Lurigio, and Lavrakas 1985). The Crimestoppers program uses free
television or radio time to describe the facts of a crime shortly after it

occurs and announces a telephone number that informants can call to
arrange to provide information leading to the arrest of the guilty par-

ties; if a conviction (or, in some cases, an arrest or even just recovery of

property) results, the informant will be rewarded, with anonymity
guaranteed (Rosenbaum et al. 1985). Such activity is more visible but
probably smaller than the privately funded rewards or fees paid on a
case-by-case basis to professional detectives.

Many of these structural choices are made at the city rather than at

the neighborhood level. But even such citywide structures as a Crime-

stoppers program may be used more by citizens in some communities

than in others. A citywide policy of allowing police to take cars home

would create more policing in some communities (where police live)
than in others (where they do not). Other structural choices are made

by many individual decision makers, ranging from the operators of a
shopping center who decide to hire private guards to citizens who chase
a purse snatcher.

The possible combinations of policing structures present in any com-
munity are numerous and complex. The combinations may also be
highly transitory, although some structures are clearly more stable than

are others. There are limitations to the possible combinations set by
both community resources and the public interest. Too much reliance

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352 Lawrence Sherman

on privately funded policing would leave poor areas greatly disadvan-
taged and could make people “prisoners” of well-guarded private
places. As Reiss (1985, p. 17) points out, it may be more important to
put our social resources into creating a safer public environment than

into creating private “fortresses.” Similarly, we cannot rely too much

on voluntary citizen “self-help,” given the difficulty of controlling citi-

zen use of force and the virtual absence of residents from many neigh-

borhoods during working hours. Whatever the combination of organi-
zational structures, however, it will influence the level of resources

allocated to policing and the probability that crime in the community
will be deterred or intercepted.

None of this touches on the variation within public police organiza-

tion. Cities vary widely in how their patrol forces are organized; some

use a primarily temporal structure, with citywide command changing
every eight hours. Others use community-oriented structures of com-

mand, with area commanders given twenty-four-hour, seven-day re-
sponsibility for all patrol work in their community. Both cities and
communities also vary in their levels of police corruption and theft of

time (loafing or doing personal errands while on duty), which also affect

the actual level of resources brought to bear on community problems.

B. Resources

Perhaps the most important policy question about police in any city

is the number of police officers the department should have. On a per

capita basis, cities vary by as much as 300 percent: big cities range
roughly from one to three police officers per 1,000 citizens (Federal
Bureau of Investigation 1985). At the community level, however, the
variation can be much greater. Harlem, for example, at one point had

ten times as many officers per 1,000 citizens as had Bay Ridge, a white,

middle-class section of Brooklyn. Yet Bay Ridge had many more police
officers per reported crime than had Harlem (Ruth 1971).

Police managers in the 1950s developed mathematical formulas for
determining how many police each community “needed” based on re-
ported crime, calls for service, and other quantifiable factors (Levine
and McEwen 1985). In the 1970s, more sophisticated models of patrol
allocation were developed that used queuing theory to maximize the
efficiency of patrol car responses to emergency calls for service (Larson
1972; Chaiken 1975). But the structures of policing presented above

should also be taken into account in measuring the level of public

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Policing Communities: What Works? 353

resources allocated to policing in any given community. The presence
of other structures may reduce the need for public police officers.

Resource levels vary by factors other than the number of police
officers. The number of private police assigned to work in a community
either for commercial establishments or under a contract from the home

owners is an obviously important factor. So is the number of public and

private police who reside in a community, whether they bring their
cars home, and whether they are employed after hours on special details

in the community. The relative involvement of citizens in making ar-

rests, conducting patrols, and providing police with information also
affects the resource levels of community policing.

Some of these alternative structures may be strongest in communities

where the public police are present in strength. The same social factors

that enhance citizen policing may also enhance community effec-
tiveness in lobbying for a larger number of officers. In the Hasidic
community of Borough Park in Brooklyn, for example, the citizens
often mount a hue and cry to apprehend muggers or purse snatchers.

At the same time, community leaders work hard at election time to earn

political capital, much of which is spent on obtaining more police pres-
ence. In the heavily Polish-American northeastern section of Min-
neapolis, there is substantial volunteer citizen surveillance and little
reported crime. But the police chiefs 1985 reduction in the number of

officers assigned there touched off a bloody political battle that re-
sulted, among other things, in the chiefs temporary suspension by the

Nonetheless, the strong trend of recent years is toward increased
resources for the organizational structures other than public police de-

partments. Private police have tripled in strength since 1950 (Cunning-

ham and Taylor 1984, p. 3). A 1982 Gallup poll reported that 17
percent of a national sample said they were aware of some sort of
volunteer crime prevention effort in their neighborhood (Sherman
1983, p. 145), which seems likely to be a large rise over recent years.

The rise of the alternative structures accompanies a decline in the
resources allocated to public police. This decline contrasts sharply with
the steady growth in prestige and budgets throughout much of the
twentieth century, especially the years after the riots of the late 1960s,
when both salary levels and numbers of police officers increased dra-
matically. The growth curve of public police has been flat and has even
declined slightly since the late 1970s (Bureau of Justice Statistics 1986).

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354 Lawrence Sherman

Massive layoffs in New York, Detroit, and other cities, once inconceiv-

able under any circumstances, were accomplished in the face of rising
crime. This may help explain the rise of alternative structures.

C. Strategies

Policing strategies consist of four basic elements: information gather-

ing, mobilization of action, the nature of the action, and the target, or

focus, of the action. Unlike the structures and resources of policing,
which vary widely across communities, these strategic elements of po-

licing have become remarkably similar in the public police agencies in

urban communities around the country. Any progress in making polic-

ing more effective may depend heavily on our ability to diversify these
strategies and to make them more sensitive to the characteristics of local

1. Information. Policing is essentially an information-processing en-

terprise, which produces a relatively small amount of people process-
ing. Most police work consists of seeking out information about poten-

tial trouble and troublemakers, communicating information about the

potential consequences of troublemaking, recording and analyzing in-

formation about trouble that has aliready occurred, and presenting in-
formation about accused and apprehended troublemakers to judicial
authorities. The technology and organization of these information sys-

tems are important factors shaping the effectiveness of the police.
The first public police departments at Scotland Yard and in New

York had little technology for communicating crime reports rapidly.

The geographic dispersion of large numbers of officers throughout a
dense city encouraged citizens to report crimes to the police by creating

a virtual “wall-to-wall-cops” system (Reiss 1971) in which it was possi-

ble to run into the street, shout “police,” and have a foot-patrol officer
respond fairly quickly. The officer could then use a whistle to summon

his colleagues. The invention of the telegraph made it possible for
police stations to communicate rapidly with each other, but it did little
to help citizens notify police of crimes. Even the invention of the tele-

phone, in itself, failed to alter the situation much because police on
patrol could not be reached by phone except at regularly appointed
times when they called into the station from a police telephone box; the
actual uses of that system were more for controlling police loafing on
duty than for directing their work (Rubinstein 1973, chap. 1).

It was only the invention of the radio and its reduction in size to fit

into an automobile that made it possible to connect crime victims al-

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Policing Communities: What Works? 355

most instantly to an officer who could respond quickly enough to make

an apprehension. The rapid availability of that information trans-
formed the way that police thought about information, changing their
focus from information with long-term payoff potential to information

with very short term payoff. The short term, of course, was the oppor-

tunity to apprehend an offender red-handed. The long-term payoff was

in solving crimes where the offender gets away as well as deterring
crimes by criminals who know the police are “on to them.”

This technological change did not necessitate the change in informa-

tional focus, but it clearly facilitated it. With the rise of low-density

communities relying primarily on automobile transportation, the infor-

mation system of wall-to-wall police gave way to the “dial-a-cop.” This

change reduced the amount of “nonemergency” information that police
received as well as limiting personal relationships with local community

members. Once officers were put at the other end of requests for emer-

gency response, everything else-including preventive patrol-
became secondary to waiting for that exciting call.

What exactly was that “everything else” of information gathering
besides responding to emergency calls? That is a matter of some de-
bate. As Lane (1980, p. 13) observes, we can learn relatively little
through historical research about ordinary patrol work or routine in-

teractions with the public. Some scholars (Fogelson 1977; Walker 1977)

are skeptical that police did much at all, at least by way of police work.

But other sources, such as novelists who lived in turn-of-the-century

urban communities (e.g., Smith 1943), describe police as fairly well
integrated into the life of the neighborhood. The information that
police acquired through informal contacts with local residents was of-

ten essential to solving crimes or even to preventing crimes by helping
to solve family or youth problems (Murphy and Plate 1977).

Whether police actually spend less time talking to neighborhood
residents today than they did two decades or half a century ago is
unclear. But a number of developments have clearly encouraged them
to move in that direction. One is air conditioning, which led police to

drive through the streets with their car windows rolled up, maintaining
a splendid and sanitary isolation from the sounds and smells of the
streets. More important, perhaps, and clearly more variable across
communities within cities is the availability of residential air condition-

ing. Air conditioning keeps people inside more months of the year,
discouraging the sidewalk community dialogues on summer evenings
that police can join in so easily. Air conditioning in communities of

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356 Lawrence Sherman

detached homes also led to the architectural decline of the front porch,

that facilitator of informal, avocational surveillance of all aspects of
public neighborhood social life. Neighborhood residents in many com-
munities became less knowledgeable about each other and less able to
share their insights with the police. The possibility that there may be

much more contextual knowledge to obtain in communities without air

conditioning has been lost in the process of developing a relatively
uniform information-gathering strategy for all kinds of communities.

Police administrators have long been aware of these problems. As
early as the 1960s, the Chicago police attempted to combine walking
and riding on patrol so that police would have more informal contacts.

Police in other cities employed motorcycles, scooters, motorbikes,
bicycles, and horses as forms of transportation that posed less of a
barrier to police-citizen contacts. In theory, all these programs show
how there is no necessary conflict between rapid police mobility and
informal intelligence gathering. But virtually every evaluation of such

programs shows that they encounter enormous resistance from police

officers, who find it much easier to stay with their vehicles and talk

with other police than to park, walk, and talk with the citizenry (e.g.,

Sherman, Milton, and Kelley 1973; Sherman 1983). Police isolation
may not be an inherent characteristic of mobile patrol, but it is a
consequence that is difficult to reverse.

Information exchange among police officers is also important for
contextual knowledge and may vary widely across communities. Com-

munities with local precinct stations may have better exchange among
officers than do communities whose officers report to work in a down-

town headquarters. But even precinct stations may have minimal for-

mal exchange. Despite the television image of police roll call as an
announcement session (as in “Hill Street Blues”), most actual roll calls

are confined to announcements of bureaucratic imperatives such as
training sessions and pension forms. A detailed picture of recent crime

events throughout an entire precinct would take too long to relate in a

brief roll call. Written handouts are also discouraged because the mass
of crime information changes so quickly.
The consequence of these changes in the technology and organiza-

tion of police information is that police work has become ahistorical.
Each police task is approached without information on the past or on
the likely future of the parties involved. The primary unit of analysis is

the single complaint, the telephone call to which a patrol car responds.
Urban police must usually enter a situation stripped of any contextual

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Policing Communities: What Works? 357

knowledge about its causes or likely consequences. They often spend a
great deal of time trying to elicit that information, although they are

frequently plagued by suspicions that the information may not be reli-

able. The same people may have encountered other police officers a few

hours ago, yet most urban police officers would have little chance of
knowing that fact. The typical car-patrol officers are as unknown a
quantity to the people they police as the people are to them.

2. Mobilization. The most controversial aspect of community polic-
ing is the manner in which police efforts are mobilized (Reiss and
Bordua 1967). The mobilization of police at their own initiative, or
proactive policing, is often associated with restriction of individual
freedom and privacy. The mobilization of the police at the initiative of
citizens is often viewed as the most democratic and fair method of

policing a free society (Black 1973). The choice is not mutually exclu-
sive, of course, since almost all societies feature both systems of
mobilizing police, and totalitarian societies have a frightening capacity

to induce citizens to volunteer information to the police.

Modern American urban communities may differ very little in the

way that police are mobilized except to the extent that they are policed

by foot-patrol officers. Foot-patrol officers, historically, have been es-

pecially proactive in the maintenance of public order. Early American

police bureaucracies generated phenomenal numbers of public order
arrests per officer per day (Levett 1975), which is hardly likely to have
been a result of reacting to specific citizen requests. Even as late as 1966

in three inner-city communities, police in patrol cars initiated some 13

percent of all their mobilizations (Reiss 1971, p. 11).
But the rise of the modern police information system described above

substantially changed the nature of proactive policing. The bulk of
police patrol time and of police resources in general were drawn into
single-complaint, rapid-response, reactive mobilization. Just as they
rarely stop to chat with neighborhood residents, the police driving by

in air-conditioned cars may rarely keep an eye on any known suspicious

The evidence of variation in proactivity is substantial at the intercity
level. Friedrich (1977, p. 251) found that Boston police stopped one-
tenth as many motorists per tour of duty as did Chicago police.
Whether it varies as much across communities within cities is unclear.

But even substantial variation would probably leave reactive mobiliza-
tion with the vast majority of all contacts in all communities.

Moreover, modern proactive patrolling is based less on direct knowl-

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358 Lawrence Sherman

edge and observation of community residents and more on the use of
computerized information systems. Proactive patrol is now less a mat-

ter of stopping local drunks or breaking up visible fights than it is a
matter of checking license plates against a computerized list of stolen

cars or stopping suspicious people to check their identification against a
computerized list of persons wanted on arrest warrants. These modern

“stranger” policing methods are often criticized for hurting police-
community relations (National Advisory Commission on Civil Disor-
ders 1968) and may further undermine the flow of intelligence through
informal citizen contacts.

3. Action and Targets. Once police are mobilized to deal with certain

information, they can take a variety of actions. These could theoreti-

cally vary across communities, but they rarely seem to in practice.
Targets include locations, perpetrators, complainants, victims, rela-
tionships, generic problems (such as the mentally ill), suspected classes

(such as young men in groups), and, of course, neighborhoods.
Methods include surveillance-either visible or covert, roving or sta-
tionary-and street stops, roadblocks, interviews, community meet-
ings, informants, traps or “stings,” raids, warnings or threats to arrest,

arrest, mediation and negotiation, referral to social or health agencies,

and a myriad of other options (Goldstein 1977). But most policing in
most communities is confined to the complainant as target and is lim-

ited to the actions of interviews, warnings, negotiations, and arrests.

The roving, visible surveillance is relatively unfocused as to target;
patrol is rarely addressed to specific communities as distinct from the

city in general. Private police probably differ from public police in their

greater focus on the properties of their clients, just as citizen patrols are
more focused on the citizens’ own communities.

Other combinations of targets and methods produce familiar police
strategies. A highly crime-prone physical location target approached
with fixed, covert surveillance constitutes a “stakeout,” for example.
Traps and stings used to catch highly crime-prone perpetrators are the

common strategy of at least one police department’s “Repeat Offender

Project” (Martin and Sherman 1986). Street stops of the suspicious
class of young, poor males constitute a large part of the “aggressive
patrol,” or field interrogation, strategy. But all these strategies are rela-

tively rare. Moreover, their selection is rarely linked to community
characteristics that may make them more or less effective. They are
usually adopted at the citywide level to supplement the basic single-
complaint, reactive strategy common to most communities.

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Policing Communities: What Works? 359

III. Critique of Single-Complaint Policing
Recent research has suggested that single-complaint policing is wasteful
and possibly ineffective. The critique began early (Wilson 1963, p.
237). As crime grew rapidly in the 1960s, some observers began to
blame the increase on the shift in police strategy (President’s Commis-

sion on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice 1967, p. 54).
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968, pp.
304-5) blamed poor police-community relations on the motorization of

patrol and the attendant loss of contact with the community, which
adversely affects law enforcement. The commission blamed proactive
policing in the absence of this contextual knowledge for causing minor-

ity perceptions of police harassment and attacked the aggressive style of
proactive “stranger” patrol.

Ironically, the justification for moving to single-complaint policing

was to focus the police role on crime fighting. The abandonment of
proactive order maintenance and intelligence gathering was the price of

this emphasis on crime control. But recent research has supported the

theory that single-complaint policing is less effective in controlling
crime than was community policing.

1. Preventive Patrol in Cars. The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Ex-
periment (Kelling et al. 1974a) tested the assumption that police driving

around streets in cars create a visible presence that prevents crime in

public places through general deterrence. The experiment varied the
level of patrol presence in three groups of five beats each and compared
the before and the after differences in literally hundreds of measures of

crime. The Kansas City police chief (McNamara 1974, p. vi) concluded
that the lack of significant differences in the three types of beats showed

“that routine preventive patrol in marked police cars has little value in

preventing crime or making citizens feel safe.” Others were more re-

served in their judgment, especially given some question about the
actual extent of the differences in patrol presence across the three types

of beats (Larson 1975) and the manner in which levels of patrol were
assigned to the different beats (Farrington 1982). A more basic re-
search-design problem of small sample sizes used in evaluating commu-
nity policing efforts also limits scientific confidence in the findings.

Despite these questions, the Kansas City findings have been widely
accepted among police executives as showing that modest increases in
the number of patrol cars are unlikely to reduce crime. One reason for

this gradual acceptance may be the suspicion that police managers have

that the officers are not using their patrol time very productively but

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360 Lawrence Sherman

are just waiting for calls for service to come in. Since the experiment

found that this waiting encompassed about 60 percent of on-duty patrol

time, it raised the question of what better use police might make of that

time. But many plans to develop new tasks have run afoul of police
union opposition (since the plans mean more work for police), cloaked

in the argument that such tasks would increase police response time to
calls for service.

2. Rapid Response Time. Arguments are made that ready availability of

officers in cars, geographically dispersed throughout the community, is

imperative if rapid responses are to be logistically feasible. Rapid re-
sponse has been justified as necessary to increase the deterrent threat of
apprehension for criminals.

A second research project in Kansas City (Kansas City Police De-
partment 1977), however, undermined those arguments. It began by
systematically analyzing the components of “response” time, including

time of crime occurrence, time involved in reporting (by telephone) to a

police operator, time involved in sending a radio dispatch to a police
car, and travel time of that car to the scene of the crime. Response time

is important, even in theory, only for “involvement” crimes, in which

the victim confronted the offender who escaped immediately thereaf-

ter. Response time is clearly not an issue for “discovery” crimes, in
which the offender may have fled hours earlier. So the study examined
departmental records and other data on 352 involvement crimes.

The findings showed that, by the time a police car begins its travel to

the scene of most involvement crimes, so much time has elapsed that
the chances of apprehending an offender are extremely small. Of the

average fifty-minute total response time, only four and a half minutes

consisted of police travel time. On average, it took crime victims and
witnesses almost forty-one minutes to report the crimes (Kansas City

Police Department 1977, p. 19). Since the availability of police waiting
in cars can only reduce travel time, the citizen delay in reporting poses

a major obstacle to apprehension of fleeing criminals. Only 12 percent
of 949 Part I crime calls analyzed resulted in arrests at the scene. Of
these, only one-third-3 percent of all calls to police for Part I crimes-
could reasonably be attributed to the rapid police response (p. 29).

Police chiefs who were skeptical that these findings applied to their
cities volunteered to have the Police Executive Research Forum repli-
cate the citizen-delay study. The National Institute of Justice-funded
study in San Diego, California; Peoria, Illinois; Jacksonville, Florida;
and Rochester, New York, found similarly long delays and confirmed

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Policing Communities: What Works? 361

the need for police to rethink the rapid-response, single-complaint
strategy (Spelman and Brown 1981). Some chiefs said that the solution

lay in public education to stimulate more rapid reporting. But others
saw a need for alternative strategies to supplement-not replace-the
rapid-response strategy.

3. Public Demands for Rapid Response. Many chiefs believed that, re-
gardless of the ideal mix of strategies, their hands were tied because of

citizen demands for rapid response. But further research sponsored by

the National Institute of Justice falsified that argument as well.
In a field test in Toledo, Ohio; Garden Grove, California; and

Greensboro, North Carolina, a differential police response (DPR) strat-

egy was implemented on a random-assignment basis. The control
group received the standard rapid response for most kinds of calls for

service. The experimental groups received a variety of responses, de-
pending on the nature of the call: rapid response, referral to a telephone

report unit for taking reports over the phone, a delayed mobile response

(in which callers would be told that police would not be there for thirty

to sixty minutes), referral of the call to another agency, scheduled
appointments with police, walk in, or mail in (McEwen, Connors, and
Cohen 1984, p. 8). The results in all three sites showed that the number

of nonemergency calls handled with a rapid response could be reduced

significantly without any reduction in citizen satisfaction (p. 17). Citi-

zens seemed willing to accept both delayed responses and alternative
responses as long as the dispatchers clearly told them what to expect.

The DPR experiments suggest that it may be politically feasible to
abandon rapid responses to most incidents and even any personal re-
sponse to some kinds of incidents. More research is needed to be certain

about the costs and benefits of different kinds of response to the differ-

ent kinds of calls. Much will depend on the kind of information that
police seek to obtain and are able to use. But the experiments provide
added evidence against the use of rapid, single-complaint policing as
the nearly exclusive strategy for policing residential communities. All

communities will continue to demand, and police must continue to
provide, a rapid-response capacity for some calls. Depending on the
nature of the community, however, much of the time now devoted to

rapid response could more usefully be devoted to other strategies.
There are many examples of mixed-strategy policing tailored to the

needs of specific communities. Many of the decisions to employ such
mixed strategies are politically determined responses to demands for
police action on specific and highly newsworthy community problems

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362 Lawrence Sherman

(e.g., crackdowns on prostitution in newly gentrified red-light areas).

But in the absence of such political pressures, most communities still
feature little mixing of policing strategies, relying primarily on single-
complaint responses.

Assuming that it is politically feasible to reallocate some of the police

resources currently devoted to rapid response, the question then be-
comes, What alternatives can be pursued most productively? What
strategies can public police, private police, and private citizens employ
to supplement the single-complaint model in ways sensitive to the
unique characteristics of each community?

IV. What Can Public Police Do?

Many alternatives to single-complaint policing have recently been tried

or experimented with. Some are widely used. These strategies have
been evaluated only to a limited extent, and the evaluations all suffer

from a major problem of interpretation.

A. The Evaluation Problem

The problem is sample size, in two respects: the number of citizens
that researchers must survey to estimate criminal victimization rates in

any given community and the number of communities that must be

included in any test of policing strategy at the community level. Most
kinds of crime are relatively rare, in absolute numbers, within the
boundaries of most patrol beats or neighborhoods. That rarity biases
most statistical tests. Given the small numbers involved, even large
percentage differences in crime across beats can fail to achieve statistical

significance at conventional levels, and justifiably so since such small
absolute differences can be obtained by chance.

In the original Kansas City experiment, a 300 percent difference in
the average before-after change in reported outside robberies each
month was not statistically significant, although it came close (Kelling
et al. 1974b, p. 96). The enormous percentage difference reflected the
absolute difference between an increase of .936 outside robberies per
month in the beats with reduced patrol and an increase of only .003
outside robberies per month in the beats with a doubled level of patrol
(the beats with unchanged patrol intensity were close to the doubled
beats, at .269). This pattern is all the more important because it is
consistent with the hypothesis that patrol can deter and with what is

arguably the most suppressible kind of crime. Whether a larger sample
size, or higher absolute levels of crime, would have produced

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Policing Communities: What Works? 363

significant differences is impossible to say. But the problem clearly
complicates interpretation of the study.

In their redesign of the Kansas City experiment, Fienberg, Larntz,
and Reiss (1976) suggest abandoning public surveys as the principal
method for measuring community policing effectiveness. Concluding
that the sample sizes in the Kansas City experiment were much too
small, they recommend using a variety of official police records to
measure deterrent effects in more creative ways than simply counting

the number of recorded crimes, including data on offender modus
operandi, rearrest rates and place of occurrence of rearrest, demo-
graphic characteristics of arrested street criminals, ratio of property to

person crimes, ratio of first to repeat offenders arrested, and distance
from the place of arrest to the arrestee’s residence. While these indi-

cators would not yield estimates of prevalence of victimization in the
community, they would yield more reliable estimates of indirect mea-

sures of that concept than victimization surveys are ever likely to pro-
duce-and at far less cost.

The largely unheeded Fienberg et al. (1976) paper also solves the
second sample-size problem. The bias toward finding no effect from an

innovation is related to the small number of patrol beats (fifteen) used in

the Kansas City study and to the even smaller numbers used in other

studies. Because expensive victimization surveys would not be used,
much larger numbers of communities or patrol beats can be included in

experiments. The authors recommend a minimum of at least twenty-
eight patrol beats for their sophisticated three-year, three-treatment
design, in which crossovers make each beat act as its own control, and

each “primary treatment” beat is cushioned from the others by a layer
of secondary beats that surround each primary beat with a common

This design is not without its drawbacks. It would, for example, be
almost impossible to use with citizen participation strategies, given the

need to change strategies each year in each community-something to
which few communities would be likely to agree. The three-year time

frame is also troublesome, given the political instability surrounding
both police and (some) research organizations. In a three-year experi-
ment in citizen-police action in Minneapolis, for example, the action
program director resigned in a dispute with the city council in the first

year, and the evaluation project director was replaced in the third year.
Maintaining experimental conditions and analyzing data with full con-
textual knowledge of the project are difficult with such turnover. Fi-

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364 Lawrence Sherman

nally, the large number of communities in the proposed design would

create substantial practical problems of experimental control, with am-

ple opportunities for officers or others to sabotage the design by altering

the designed treatment in an area.
Nonetheless, the Fienberg et al. design appears to be the only feasi-

ble way of removing the bias toward the null hypothesis in reliably
estimating the effect of community policing strategies. There may be

no better alternative design for testing for interaction between policing

strategy and community characteristics, which requires even larger
sample sizes. Whether any of these designs have much future in an era

of research-funding austerity seems doubtful.

In the absence of research results from such designs, we can only
accept the premise that knowledge derived from less rigorous sources

still has validity for policy-making purposes (Lindblom and Cohen
1979). Both limited evaluations and practitioner intuition may thus be

usable data (until proven otherwise by more systematic tests) for assess-

ing which strategies are most promising in general and in specific kinds
of communities.

Wilson (1983) has offered a useful distinction in theories of how these

various approaches can reduce crime. He defines the community-
service approach as any means of making officers more familiar with

their neighborhoods in order to win the confidence and cooperation of

local residents as well as better intelligence about criminal activities.
The crime-attack approach, in contrast, while not logically incompat-
ible with community service, places officers as close as possible to likely

locations or perpetrators of crimes “in ways that will enable them to
apprehend the criminal in the act, or at least cut short his crime almost

as soon as it begins” (Wilson 1983, p. 68). One might add efforts to
deter crime by visible surveillance of potential targets (e.g., bodyguards

and off-duty police at late-night commercial establishments) as an addi-

tional element of the crime-attack approach. The evidence for both
strategies is mixed, although the evidence against at least one of the
crime-attack strategies (“tailing” suspects) is quite strong.

B. Community Service

The 1967 Crime Commission report stimulated many police depart-
ments to undertake neighborhood team policing, one of the earliest
versions of the community-service approach. These programs varied,
but they generally fostered greater police knowledge of their com-
munities through greater geographic focus and stability of patrol as-

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Policing Communities: What Works? 365

signments, increased communication with the community, and in-
creased communication among the officers working in the small beat
area (Sherman et al. 1973). The beat teams were led generally by
sergeants, who were given unusual flexibility to schedule their officers

and assign them to various tasks. Like many organizational innovations,

however, a variety of organizational constraints generally blocked this

one from being implemented and ultimately discredited both the idea
and its name.

One leading constraint was the unrelieved imperative to answer the
calls for service on the beat. To the extent that the beat-team officers

spent time in neighborhood meetings, playing basketball with mar-
ginally delinquent kids, staking out the welfare office, or doing other
innovative, proactive things, the other officers in the precinct would
have to come into their beat to answer the radio calls they could not
handle. This created rivalry and tension across beats.

More important was the power balance between the team-leader
sergeants and the middle managers above them (Sherman 1975). The
demonstration projects often gave sergeants more power than lieuten-

ants and captains, whose jealousy led them to countermand and sabo-
tage the orders of the team leader. While the sergeant’s unusual author-

ity made programmatic sense, it made little sense from the standpoint

of the larger bureaucratic turf concerns. Thus what could have been a
substantive innovation never went beyond the problems of structural


One consequence of all these implementation problems was that,
even when the innovation was carefully evaluated, as in the Police
Foundation experiment in Cincinnati (Schwartz and Clarren 1977), it
was impossible to tell whether the theory of the program was successful

in controlling crime. The program failure meant that the theory was

not properly tested. Perhaps in the wake of DPR (McEwen et al. 1984)
it will be possible to try again to use the beat-team approach to gather-

ing information. Failing that, the idea could still be pursued at the level
of the individual officer. For example, a demonstration project in San
Diego showed the feasibility (but not the effects on crime) of having
individual police officers, working in the normal chain of command,
develop detailed profiles of the communities they policed (Boydstun
and Sherry 1975).

Other community-service strategies have been evaluated in recent
years. Foot patrol, which is feasible only in dense areas (and desirable
for police only in good weather), has been evaluated in several experi-

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366 Lawrence Sherman

ments. All suffered from a small number of beats available for evalua-

tion and the small numbers of crimes within each beat. Not surpris-
ingly, then, a major experiment in Newark (Police Foundation 1981)
found that foot patrol had no effect on crime as measured through
victimization surveys. A Northeastern University project is now exam-

ining a much larger data set on changes in reported crime on beats in
Boston over the course of several introductions and withdrawals of

foot-patrol officers (Bowers 1985).

Perhaps more important was the Newark finding concerning fear of

crime, which was lower in the beats receiving foot patrol. Wilson and

Kelling (1982) explained this finding as a result of the proactive order-

maintenance efforts of the foot-patrol officers. Given research findings

that fear of crime is generated by such “signs of crime” as disorderly
youths, panhandlers, garbage-strewn streets, and broken windows
(Skogan and Maxfield 1981), it makes sense that foot patrol aimed at
controlling pedestrian disorder could reduce the fear of crime. Fear

reduction is legitimately an explicit goal for neighborhood policing, and
the Newark experiment showed that it could be accomplished.

The recent experiments in police fear-reduction strategies conducted
by the Police Foundation in Houston and Newark also included a
community-service strategy (Wycoff et al. 1985a). In one of the Hous-
ton experiments, officers were trained to focus on one beat and to

attempt to make as many contacts as possible with people who lived
and worked on that beat. They ultimately visited one-third of all the
households on the beat, introducing themselves and asking residents to

tell them of any concerns or neighborhood problems they could iden-

tify. The outreach effort was combined with an increased presence of
police cars in the beat, although surveys showed no difference in citizen

awareness of police presence. The outcome was not only a substantial
reduction in the fear of crime but also a statistically significant reduc-

tion in the percentage of households reporting that someone in the
household had been victimized by crime-almost all of which was
property crime (Wycoff et al. 1985a). The experiment was limited by a
sample of two: the demonstration beat and an unchanged, matched-
comparison beat. But it was also limited by the usual bias toward the
null hypothesis, which is not what was found.

The Houston findings may conceivably result from some unique
event such as the incarceration of an active neighborhood delinquent,
or the neighborhood crime may simply have been displaced to other
areas where police were not quite so active. But it is also possible that

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Policing Communities: What Works? 367

the community-service approach–when done with enthusiasm by
officers enjoying a Hawthorne effect and in a racially mixed but pre-

dominantly white lower-middle-class neighborhood of single-family
detached houses-might just work to reduce crime.

C. Crime Attack

Somewhat less evidence is available about the effectiveness of proac-

tive crime-attack strategies. That evidence suggests that some such
strategies are clearly ineffective but that others can be used to increase

arrests of serious criminals and perhaps to decrease crime. Perhaps even

more than with the community-service strategies, success may depend

on very subtle aspects of how an approach is implemented and how
well it fits within a particular community.

1. Decoys. Wycoff, Susmilch, and Brown’s (1981) evaluation of a
Police Foundation-funded experiment in Birmingham, Alabama, dem-
onstrated that crime-attack strategies cannot always be transported eas-

ily from one police department to another. The plan to test the crime-

control effectiveness of an antirobbery unit using decoy methods ran

into a number of snags, not the least of which was the police officers’

relative disinterest in dealing with crime. For example, they decided to

run their decoy operation during the “high robbery hours” of Monday

through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. They were also reluctant to
engage in any dirty or dangerous methods of decoy operation. Thus an

idea that had received much prominence in New York and elsewhere
failed to work in Birmingham because it did not fit the local culture of

The effectiveness of decoy operations-a classic crime-attack strat-

egy-remains unclear. Some critics argue that decoys often attract
people to commit crimes who otherwise might not have committed
them. Given the high risk of danger to both police and citizens, a
careful evaluation of this strategy merits high priority and should con-

sider whether effects depend on the kind of neighborhood in which a

decoy operation is attempted. For example, decoys in center-city vice
areas may attract predisposed assailants, while decoys in residential
areas may entice people to commit crimes who otherwise would not

2. Covert Patrol. Patrol in disguise is another common crime-attack

strategy that remains unevaluated. This strategy obviously requires a
community with a high-enough street-crime rate per square foot so that
it is feasible for anyone to intercept crimes in progress. New York City,

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368 Lawrence Sherman

or parts of it, clearly qualifies. The 5 percent (or less) of the patrol force

assigned to this strategy in the early 1970s accounted for over 18 per-

cent of all felony arrests, including over half the robbery arrests and 40

percent of the burglary and robbery arrests (Wilson 1983, p. 70). But
the effect of these efforts on crime remains unclear.

3. Field Interrogations. The National Advisory Commission on Civil
Disorders (1968) attacked field interrogations for breeding poor police-

community relations. It is a crime-attack strategy in which many police

have a good deal of confidence as a way to deter crime. The anecdotal
evidence that this strategy can cause race riots is substantial. But such

accounts are counterbalanced by the results of a careful evaluation of an

experiment in the San Diego Police Department.
In a context in which police had a long history of active use of field

interrogations, the experiment compared three patrol beats: in one,
field interrogations were stopped altogether; in a second, they remained

unchanged; and in a third, police were given special training in how to
conduct the street stops in a sensitive and nonabrasive fashion. The
evaluation found little difference in the crime rates between the special
training and the normal areas. But it did find that, where field interro-

gations were withdrawn compared with the other areas, there was a
statistically significant increase over a nine-month period in the average
monthly number of reported total crimes, total Part I crimes, and
burglaries. Moreover, there was no difference in the results of before-

and-after surveys of community attitudes toward the police (Boydstun

1975). These results were obtained despite the bias in favor of the null

hypothesis about crime rates and despite no bias about community
attitudes (which, unlike crime, are not exactly rare and more easily lead

to significant differences). The small sample size (three patrol areas)
again means that some unique phenomenon may have affected the
crime-rate differences. But barring that, the experiment suggests that

field interrogations can deter certain kinds of crime without annoying

the community-at least in a community that is already accustomed to

having an intrusive, proactive police department.

Such departments can generally deter robberies more effectively
than can their more reactive counterparts in other cities. In a cross-
sectional analysis of cities with high and low traffic-enforcement rates,

Wilson and Boland (1978) concluded that the high-traffic-enforcement

departments produced lower robbery rates. They acknowledge the
difficulties in interpreting such cross-sectional data but suggest the
importance of further experimentation along those lines.
One of the Newark fear-reduction experiments (Pate et al. 1985a)

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Policing Communities: What Works? 369

addressed the question of what effect intensified field interrogations can

have in the context of generally intensified proactive enforcement. The

“signs of crime” strategy in one Newark patrol beat was designed in
part to test the Wilson-Kelling (1982) argument about controlling crime

through control of disorder. The program consisted of a twenty-four-

officer, specially trained task force that performed a variety of tasks

within the experimental area at least three times a week. The task force

spent over 2,500 hours in the program area over the course of nine
months. Seventy percent was devoted to foot patrol, 15 percent to
radar speed checks, 7.5 percent to bus checks, 4 percent to enforcement

of disorderly conduct laws, and 3 percent to conducting road checks.
The disorderly conduct enforcement was particularly aggressive, con-

sisting of an order to clear the sidewalk (if four or more people were

congregating) and arresting anyone who failed to comply.

The results were mixed and hard to interpret. Before-and-after sur-

vey data were largely negative: area residents were less satisfied with
the area and reported significantly higher levels of crime victimization

than did residents of a matched comparison area. Yet the residents
perceived the police as becoming less aggressive. The recorded crime
data showed statistically significant reductions in total Part I crimes,
burglary, and personal crimes, while no significant reductions were
found in the comparison area. It is possible that both measures of crime

may be correct since the survey measured the prevalence of crime (the

percentage of households suffering one or more crimes during the ex-
perimental period) while the recorded crime data measured the inci-
dence of crime (the total number of crimes recorded, including repeated

victimizations of the same people or households). It is also possible that

the recorded crime data were manipulated to produce an apparent
program effect. But the findings are at least as strong as the San Diego
experiment in showing that recorded crime is lower under conditions of

aggressive field interrogation and proactive citizen street contacts.

4. Repeat Offenders. The increasing policy attention to repeat offend-

ers has spilled over from prosecution and sentencing into police. The
first evaluation of this strategy was done in Kansas City by Pate, Bow-
ers, and Parks (1976), who found more of a program failure than a
theory failure. The Kansas City police at that time insisted that all its
tactical officers, including those assigned to covert surveillance of sus-
pected active criminals, drive official (if unmarked) police cars and
remain clean shaven and close cropped. Their identity was frequently
recognized, and much of the surveillance was unproductive.

A similar unit, devoted to apprehending highly active offenders, was

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370 Lawrence Sherman

implemented in Washington, D.C., a decade later, with much greater
sophistication. What they found, however, was that covert surveillance
of individual suspects was an extremely inefficient and frustrating way
for police to spend their time. The strategy produced more “serendipi-

tous” arrests of nontargets committing crimes in the presence of the

covert officers than it did of the intended targets (Martin and Sherman

1986). Other methods of the Repeat Offender Project (ROP) paid off,
however, such as searching out the whereabouts of reportedly active
offenders who were already wanted on warrants, using sting-type de-

coys, and responding to hot tips from informants about the immediate

whereabouts of an active offender who had incriminating evidence on

The effects of these efforts on crime is unclear, but a randomized

experiment (Martin and Sherman 1986) found, predictably, that the
ROP unit was five times more likely to apprehend someone they
targeted than was the rest of the department in the course of its normal

operations (not knowing that such persons were designated as targets).

Moreover, the average length of the criminal history of persons arrested

by ROP officers increased substantially over those of the persons they

had been arresting in other units prior to their assignment to ROP. The

number of arrests per officer declined after their transfer to ROP, but

that is a predictable result of working in four- to six-officer teams. Such

a program, then, only makes sense to the extent that the longer records

of those apprehended indicate a higher current rate of offending than

the suspects who would have been arrested by the same officers pro-
ducing a greater quantity of arrests in patrol.

Overall, ROP succeeded in focusing scarce police resources on per-
sons for whom there was probable cause to believe were highly active

criminals. At the same time, ROP suffered relatively little controversy

or questions about the constitutionality of their methods. Since ROP is

a citywide venture, however, it is not clear that it is the kind of program
that can be varied in its administration across communities.

5. Saturation Patrol. What most communities dream of, of course, is

having lots of police patrolling the neighborhood. Several tests of this

idea all show the same result, although with varying degrees of rigor.
The first was the “Operation 25” pretest/posttest design in New York
City in 1954, in which the presence of foot-patrol officers in a Manhat-
tan precinct was about tripled and street crime fell dramatically (Wilson

1983, p. 62). A later analysis of a similar change in personnel resources,
with two comparison precincts, showed similar if less dramatic results

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Policing Communities: What Works? 371

(Press 1971). The most rigorous test was an experiment in four high-
crime residential areas of Nashville, Tennessee, which increased patrol
presence by 400 percent and increased slow patrol movement (under
twenty miles per hour) by 3,000 percent for ten days (Schnelle et al.
1977). Time-series analysis showed statistically reliable reductions in
nighttime, but not daytime, Part I offenses. These levels of patrol
presence may be too costly to implement on a widespread basis, but the

tests do support police executives’ views that saturation patrol can in-
deed reduce crime.

6. Repeat Complaint Address Policing. Many crime-attack strategies re-

main unevaluated. One possible approach, for example, is to focus
police efforts on those addresses that account for the highest propor-
tions of calls for police service. According to an analysis of Boston
citizen call data (Pierce, Spaar, and Briggs 1984), as few as 10 percent of

the addresses that police are ever dispatched to may account for up to
40 percent of all dispatches, for some types of calls. It follows that
solving the underlying problems producing those repeat calls at those

most active locations would theoretically reduce the total call load by
up to 40 percent.

Such problems can be addressed through a strategy of repeat com-
plaint address policing (RECAP) (Sherman 1985). The strategy would
consist of four steps: (1) analysis, in which the police-dispatching com-

puter would rank all addresses responded to by frequency of responses

over a fixed period; (2) diagnosis, in which the most highly ranked
addresses would be studied through written reports and site visits; (3)

action, in which police officers would implement an action plan re-
viewed with their supervisors, encompassing anything from threaten-

ing to arrest a repeat wife beater to assisting a bank manager in having
the alarm system rewired to reduce false burglary alarms; and (4) fol-

low-up, in which the officers who implemented the action plan monitor
the address regularly for the next several months to determine how well

the plan is working and whether another plan is needed.

The RECAP strategy would require highly creative officers who can

imagine how best to use their unique position as dispensers of coercive
threats to cope with the problems underlying the repeat calls. It would

also require a substantial reorganization of most police departments to

allow some patrol officers to devote full time to such problem solving

and remain free of the need to answer radio calls. But it would be easy
to test the RECAP strategy on a limited scale prior to any broader
implementation (Sherman 1985). Simply by dividing the most active

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372 Lawrence Sherman

addresses in half on a lottery basis, RECAP officers could work on one-

half and leave the other half alone, thus creating a controlled experi-
ment. Any differences between the groups over the follow-up period in

the number of repeat calls or the seriousness of subsequent problems
could then be attributed to the difference in police strategy.

Like several of the crime-attack strategies, RECAP is not especially
neighborhood sensitive. The basic strategy could be pursued in almost

any neighborhood. But the creative search for solving the unique prob-

lem generating each set of repeat calls could be done much better by
officers familiar with the neighborhood context and resources.

V. What Can Private Police Do?

Many, if not all, things the public police do could be done by private
police. More important, private police perform many functions that
public police and citizens would rarely perform because of the labor
cost involved, such as controlling access to parking garages or to lobbies

of apartment buildings. The contribution of private policing to commu-

nity crime control is probably substantially underestimated.

1. Routine Patrol. The use of private guards for routine patrol in
wealthier neighborhoods grew substantially in the 1970s. Residents
who were dissatisfied with public police patrol banded together or
worked through existing homeowners’ associations to raise funding for
private uniformed patrols in marked cars. In dense cities like New
York, some blocks hired private foot-patrol officers. And in the grow-

ing realm of quasi-public spaces, such as shopping centers, all kinds of

parking lots, and other private property open to the public, private
police often conduct routine patrol at the expense of the property
owner. Much of this patrol is performed indoors, which is generally
defined by public police as beyond their scope of responsibility. While

few guards are armed with guns, they usually wear enough other arma-

ment (like nightsticks) to communicate a threat that they will use force
if necessary.

2. Order Maintenance. Whatever deterrent value these patrols may
have, their order maintenance value is demonstrably substantial. Pri-
vate police keep people from drinking from bottles, arguing loudly,
running around recklessly, or playing loud music. Nonuniformed pri-
vate employees such as bouncers and doormen also maintain order on
the streets immediately off the premises where they are employed. And

because their job is tied to a specific location, they perform such tasks
far more thoroughly and intensively than public police usually do. If,

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Policing Communities: What Works? 373

as Wilson and Kelling (1982) suggest, the failure to maintain order can

lead to serious crime, the order-maintenance efforts of private police
may help control crime as much or more than their deterrent value. At

the very least, as the Newark foot-patrol experiment suggests (Police
Foundation 1981), such private policing should help reduce public fear
of crime.

3. Saturation Patrol. Many operators of quasi-public places have
adopted saturation patrol techniques. The defendant hospital in a land-
mark California Supreme Court case on landlord liability for third-
party crime (Isaacs v. Huntington Memorial Hospital, 695 P.2d 653 [Cal.

1985]) provides a good example. After a doctor was shot in 1978 in an
apparent robbery attempt in a parking lot right across the street from

the emergency room, the hospital increased its outside nighttime secu-

rity patrols so that the lot would almost always be in view of a guard

(during selected high-risk hours). The hospital also constructed a guard
kiosk in a central location and added a surveillance camera to monitor

the doctors’ parking lot at all times. If the intensity of private policing
has increased as much at many other locations where crimes occurred

during the 1970s, it could be one factor in the slight decline of stranger
crime in the 1980s.

4. Access Control. One function public police perform only for
officials and for virtually no one else is controlling access to secured
places. Private police control access to parking garages, apartment and

office buildings, and entire residential developments. These services
are more common in rich neighborhoods than in poor ones. Their role

in reducing the crime risk of those they protect is nonetheless hard to

5. Location Defense. More ubiquitous are the private police who de-
fend specific locations from armed robbery. These guards, usually
armed, can be found in banks and late-night retail operations from
supermarkets to fast-food stores. There is a substantial debate among
practitioners about whether these guards attract more violence (from

criminals looking for a challenge) than they deter (Johnson 1984). They
may also displace crime from one kind of target to another-from
commercial establishments to more vulnerable individuals. But their

presence also adds to the order-maintenance aspects of local policing.

VI. What Can Private Citizens Do?

One limitation of all the strategies discussed above is that none of them

involve citizens in any major way. Some proponents of such involve-

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374 Lawrence Sherman

ment seem committed to the idea for ideological reasons, while others

have theoretical justifications (Curtis 1985). One motivation for citizen

involvement in policing, for example, may be an agenda for disman-
tling the public sector in favor of a philosophically preferable voluntar-
ism in many spheres (Currie 1985). It is therefore no surprise that many

police unions are suspicious of citizen-involvement programs.
As much as police might like to keep such programs under their

control, community policing is increasingly done outside the auspices
of the public vocational police. Foundation and even federal grants are

often made directly to community groups, many of which operate
without any funding to provide patrol and other forms of surveillance.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to compare the relative effec-
tiveness of police-directed and other programs since very little research

has been done on the nonpolice programs.

A. Police Programs for Citizens

Police programs for fostering citizen involvement consist generally of

efforts to organize voluntary efforts to watch the neighborhood for
anything suspicious and to call the police when appropriate. Such pro-

grams have been hard to sustain since one meeting with a police officer

can cover the basic point of the program. What they usually lack is
continuing neighborhood leadership to keep people watching the
streets and a systematic plan for insuring that the neighborhood is
watched at all vulnerable times-especially during business hours.

More recently, some police projects have taken a broader approach to
organizing citizen and private efforts. They have also tested some strat-

egies of communication, as distinct from organizing, to establish more
of a direct link to individual citizens. Recent research sheds some in-

sight on several of these efforts.

1. Police Organizing. From 1983 to 1985, the Minneapolis Police
Department made a sustained effort to involve some twenty-five police

officers in a community-organizing effort led by the city’s independent

community crime prevention agency. Their planned role was to serve
as the “cop of the block” for several blocks each, combining the commu-
nity-service model of stimulating grass-roots voluntarism. The block
cop’s responsibilities were to include daily visits to the block to stop and
talk with residents, assistance to the block club in drawing up a plan for
identifying and dealing with local quality-of-life problems (not neces-
sarily criminal in nature), and communication to block residents about

recent crime developments on and around their block.

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Policing Communities: What Works? 375

The problem was that the plan called for the officers to perform these

new tasks in addition to their regular duties of answering calls. The
preliminary indications were that few police officers actually played the

kind of role the program called for. No matter what the impact evalua-

tion may show about the overall program (including the independent
agency’s efforts to organize citizen policing), it is unlikely that the cop-

of-the-block element will contribute much to that impact. Moreover,

the police resistance may have been related to citizen resistance that
was more prevalent in lower-class, transient, single-occupant, and
minority neighborhoods, the areas with highest crime that needed the
program most.

A niore successful organizing project was included in the Houston
fear-reduction experiments. In one middle-class patrol beat, a specialist

group of officers (who were not obliged to answer radio calls while
working on this task) worked for nine months to create a community

organization in a neighborhood where none had existed. They began
by conducting a door-to-door survey of neighborhood residents (as
distinct from the evaluation survey done by Police Foundation re-
searchers) to ask them to identify neighborhood problems and potential

interest in voluntary efforts. The survey was followed by thirteen
neighborhood meetings attended by twenty to sixty people each, which
in turn were followed by police asking twelve residents to meet each
month with the precinct captain to identify community problems and

solutions. The twelve-member task force was then encouraged to turn

itself into a community organization, which took responsibility for
carrying out such programs as “safe houses” for children, a drug infor-

mation seminar, and identification of household goods with marked

The evaluation of the Houston Community Organizing Response
Team program (Wycoff et al. 1985c) showed no effect on the prevalence
of victimization (which was not its goal) or on the fear of crime (which

was), but it did reduce perceptions (compared with a matched compari-
son area) of the level of social disorder and crime in the area. And like

other fear-reduction experiments in Houston, the evaluation suggested
that the program had relatively less beneficial effect on, and was less

successful in reaching, blacks and Hispanics.
A related fear-reduction experiment in Newark (Pate et al. 1985b)

examined the effect of police-organizing efforts in the context of a
program of multiple strategies in one neighborhood. The program in-
cluded a community police storefront center, a door-to-door police

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376 Lawrence Sherman

contact program, a neighborhood police newsletter, intensified law-en-

forcement and order-maintenance efforts, and neighborhood cleanups.

Given the multiple treatments, it is impossible to draw any conclusions

about the effect of any single element on the community problems of

crime and fear. But this highly intensive effort, according to the results

of before and after panel surveys, did produce these statistically
significant findings in relation to the comparison area: a reduction in

fear of crime and dissatisfaction with the quality of life in the area at the

same time as an increase in the prevalence of households victimized by

A similar problem of multiple simultaneous treatments limits our
ability to draw conclusions about the effect of police organizing efforts

in the Hartford Asylum Hill project in the early 1970s (Murray 1983).

The program was an ambitious combination of redesigning the physical

environment and of building neighborhood organizations with the in-

volvement of a local neighborhood police team. The program was not
focused on particular crime-prevention activities but rather on creating

an environment for neighborhood self-control. After three years, the

evaluation showed an increase in such control, including residents’
ability to recognize strangers and willingness to take action in suspi-
cious circumstances. But it also found that, despite a first-year decline
in burglary and robbery, crime rose thereafter and returned to the
levels predicted from citywide trends.

2. Police Communicating. The idea of informing the public about
crimes has great appeal not only as news but also as practical informa-

tion that people can use to protect themselves. It is consistent with the

American commitment to an informed public. It is not consistent,
however, with the modern information glut. Two of the fear-reduction

experiments, one each in Houston and Newark, probably encountered
this problem in attempting to use a police newsletter to address crime

and fear problems. The newsletter in both cities was tested through a

randomized experimental design with three comparison groups: house-

holds mailed no newsletter, a newsletter with only general area news
about police and crime, and the same newsletter with an insert giving
detailed information about all recently reported crimes in the beat area.

The Newark and Houston newsletters differed only slightly in content,
format, and frequency. Before-and-after personal interviews of house-
hold members in the three conditions showed relatively low levels of
recall of having seen or read the newsletter although very high levels of
appreciation for the police effort in producing the newsletter.

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Policing Communities: What Works? 377

The evaluation (Pate et al. 1985c) showed no effect of either version

of the newsletter (with or without crime information) on a wide range

of fear- and crime-related behavior measures. It is possible that the
experiment measured the wrong things and that, at least among those
who read it, the information had some beneficial effects. But it is also

possible that such a communication strategy needs to be reconcep-
tualized in a more tightly theoretical fashion, such as tying crime infor-

mation to crime analysis on which citizens can act. For example, such
analysis might advise citizens to stay away from certain street corners

or parts of streets during certain hours.

Encouraging communication to flow the other way (from citizens to

police) is also an old idea, with a few modern twists. In Oakland,
California, for example, the special central business district police proj-

ect distributed thousands of report forms on which citizens could write

up their description of a problem or an incident that made local quality

of life suffer, for example, a drunken panhandler or a prostitute accost-

ing them, witnessing an openly visible narcotics transaction, or teen-

agers running wild. Citizens were encouraged to give these completed
report-it-directly forms to police or to security guards, who would pass

them on to police. In theory, police would then analyze the information

and use it to direct police attention to those problems, and that is how

the program worked initially. But, like many of the programs reviewed

here, it encountered difficulty in keeping going. For example, many of

the reports given to security guards were not passed on to the police
until long after they were received, which made it unlikely that the
forms had much more value than as a catharsis for citizen anger. Fewer

cards were turned in over time, although that may have been because

foot-patrol officers obtained much of the same information through
word of mouth (Reiss 1985, pp. 22-23).

A more common means of fostering two-way communication flow is

the police storefront idea. Its starting point is that police precinct sta-

tions have become backstage areas for police use rather than an on-stage

scene for relaxed and cordial citizen-police communication. The store-
front provides a setting that is free of the symbolic overtones of coer-
cion and administrative pressures. Depending on their location,
staffing, and hours of operation, they may be more or less successful in
gathering information; depending on how the mission of the storefront

is conceived, they may be more or less successful in communicating
crime-related information. Most of them appear to be largely reactive in
this respect.

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378 Lawrence Sherman

The Houston and Newark storefronts that were created for the fear-

reduction experiments, however, took a proactive stance toward com-

munication. It is again hard to assess the effect of the Newark store-
front in the context of the multiple programs in that area. But the
Houston storefront stood alone, reaching out to tell the community
about the storefront’s activities: monthly neighborhood meetings,
a truancy program, fingerprinting of children for parents’ records, a

monthly blood-pressure screening test, a ride-along program, and a
program for increasing use of and reducing vandalism at a local park.

The evaluation (Wycoff et al. 1985b) found that the area served by the

Houston storefront experienced significant reductions in fear of crime

and in perceptions of the level of crime against persons. The evaluation

did not detect any effect on the prevalence of household victimization.

3. Citizens Acting Alone. One of the first evaluations of a non-police-

coordinated community policing program was done in Seattle (Cirel et

al. 1977). The program consisted of governmentally funded project
personnel helping residents do three things: mark their property
through operation identification, improve the physical security of their

homes by implementing the recommendations of a security inspection,

and increase their surveillance of neighborhood activities. A before-
and-after survey of this program over a one-year period suggested sub-

stantial reductions in burglary rates for citizens within experimental

areas who cooperated with the program as compared with citizens who

did not and marginally significant burglary reductions in the experi-

mental areas compared with the comparison areas. While it is not clear

whether such effects can be sustained over the long term, they are
nonetheless impressive.

Such a program is not strictly citizens acting alone since they were

assisted by tax-supported professionals. Nor is the Chicago program
(recently evaluated by Rosenbaum, Lewis, and Grant [1985]), which
was funded by the Ford Foundation to continue efforts initiated under

federal grants and without police involvement. Yet the results of that

evaluation are important and disturbing. The evaluation found that the

program succeeded in implementing its strategy of organizing residents
of selected neighborhoods through door-to-door canvassing, block
meetings, and neighborhood meetings, all aimed at increasing citizen
surveillance of the neighborhood. The experimental areas showed sub-
stantial awareness of these efforts, but the efforts did not work. Instead

they may have backfired.

Using pretest/posttest interviews of over 3,000 respondents, the

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Policing Communities: What Works? 379

evaluation found that the large majority of comparisons revealed no

significant differential change over time between the treated and the
untreated areas. But in the three treatment areas with the strongest

program implementation, there were statistically significant increases
in such measured problems as fear of crime, perceptions of the severity

of the crime problem, vicarious victimization, and concern about the
future of the neighborhood. The authors conclude (p. iii) that “crime
prevention meetings may have exacerbated preexisting concerns about

neighborhood decline. In any event, the interventions were unable to
retard these negative processes.” The findings show (p. iv) “a pressing
need to rethink our expectations for these popular programs,” just as

there is a need for rethinking community policing in general.

VII. Fitting Policing to Communities
The best answer to the question of what works in policing different
kinds of communities is that we do not know. Beyond the basic
minimum of having tax-supported police, the optimal combination of

public and private and vocational and avocational structures, of their
information systems, and of their strategies is unclear. Yet, for all that

we do not know, the research of the past fifteen years has put us light-

years ahead of our knowledge for most of the past two centuries. Fur-

ther research may contradict the current state of that knowledge, but at

this point these tentative conclusions about community policing in gen-
eral seem to be warranted:

1. The allocation of patrol cars for rapid response should be
systematically varied by neighborhood according to the expected
rate of calls truly requiring such a response.
2. A system of differential police response could satisfy most
citizens and free enormous amounts of police time for
alternative strategies of crime control.
3. Saturation patrol and field interrogations may be useful in
suppressing street crimes and disorder, especially in dense
high-crime areas.
4. Done properly, proactive strategies need not abuse minority
rights or constitutional due process nor hinder community
relations. But the difficulties of implementing such strategies are
substantial, and great care is required to succeed at
5. Police efforts to involve citizens in policing may have positive
effects on community quality of life, which may have long-term

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380 Lawrence Sherman

benefits for crime control, but they have shown little evidence of
short-term crime-control benefits.

6. In general, policing will probably be more effective to the
extent that it relies on a mix of strategies appropriate to each
neighborhood rather than relying on the single complaint strategy
as the primary approach for all neighborhoods.

As for the question of what works best in different kinds of com-

munities, the research suggests these meager policy considerations:

1. Police efforts to involve citizens in policing will be more
successful in stable middle-class and lower-middle-class family
neighborhoods than in transient, singles, apartment-building, or
poverty-stricken neighborhoods.
2. In analyzing and planning community-level policing strategies,
public police should consider the residence of police officers, the
employment of private police, and the propensity of citizens to
render voluntary policing services as factors enhancing the
possibilities of strategies available.
3. Foot patrol is obviously more efficient in high-density,
pedestrian communities than in low-density, automobile
communities, but door-to-door policing visits in the latter type
may produce the same effects as does foot patrol in the former.
4. Community police commanders should be given the authority
to conduct informal experiments with different strategies to
determine the optimal fit between the unique characteristics of the
community and the mixture of policing strategies.

The last recommendation could be undertaken in a quasi-
experimental, trial-and-error fashion. For example, Washington, D.C.,

police in Georgetown noticed in 1985 that teenagers were causing in-
creased disorder problems on the streets and were drinking in their
cars. They launched an order-maintenance crackdown of intense foot-

patrol and parking enforcement, which was followed by an immediate,

though not statistically significant, reduction in police-recorded crime
(Sherman 1986). This kind of analysis is obviously limited for purposes
of broad generalizations (Campbell and Ross 1968), but it is well suited
for guiding specific policy decisions about specific communities.

The basic question underlying all these issues is whether the commu-

nity is the most appropriate unit of analysis for policing structures and
strategy. While nostalgia for small-town community life may lead our

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Policing Communities: What Works? 381

thinking in that direction, it is possible that policing may be equally or

more effective when focused on other units of analysis or on other
targets for proactive efforts. Offenders, addresses, problems, relation-

ships, and social networks may be as important targets as are com-
munities, especially with modern revolutions in life-style that make
many residential neighborhoods largely empty for most of the business

day. The optimum balance between focusing on communities and on
other targets should be recognized as an empirical question. But, what-

ever the focus, police effectiveness will probably be enhanced by pay-
ing more attention to community context and how it interacts with
police strategies.


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  • Contents
  • 343












































  • Issue Table of Contents
  • Crime and Justice, Vol. 8, Communities and Crime (1986), pp. i-viii+1-421

    Front Matter [pp. i-vi]

    Preface [pp. vii-viii]

    Why Are Communities Important in Understanding Crime? [pp. 1-33]

    Ecological Stability and the Dynamics of Delinquency [pp. 35-66]

    Community Careers in Crime [pp. 67-100]

    Housing Tenure and Residential Community Crime Careers in Britain [pp. 101-162]

    Does Gentrification Affect Crime Rates? [pp. 163-201]

    Fear of Crime and Neighborhood Change [pp. 203-229]

    Economic Conditions, Neighborhood Organization, and Urban Crime [pp. 231-270]

    Crime in Cities: The Effects of Formal and Informal Social Control [pp. 271-311]

    The Neighborhood Context of Police Behavior [pp. 313-341]

    Policing Communities: What Works? [pp. 343-386]

    Environmental Design, Crime, and Prevention: An Examination of Community Dynamics [pp. 387-416]

    Back Matter [pp. 417-421]

U.S. nt of Justice

Office ui .-:itlice Programs

National Institute ofJustice

November 1988 No. 4

A publication of the National Institute of Justice,U.S. Department of Justice, and the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management,
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

The Evolving Strategy of Policing
By George L. Kelling and Mark H. Moore

Policing, like all professions, learns from experience.
It follows, then, that as modem police executives search
for more effective strategies of policing, they will be guided
by the lessons of police history. The difficulty is that police
history is incoherent, its lessons hard to read. After all,
that history was produced by thousands of local departments
pursuing their own visions and responding to local condi-
tions. Although that varied experience is potentially a rich
source of lessons, departments have left few records that
reveal the trends shaping modem policing. Interpretation
is necessary.


This essay presents an interpretation of police history that
may help police executives considering alternative future
strategies of policing. Our reading of police history has
led us to adopt a particular point of view. We find that a
dominant trend guiding today’s police executives-a trend

5 that encourages the pursuit of independent, professional

! autonomy for police departments-is carrying the police
. away from achieving their maximum potential, especially

. 2 in effective crime fighting. We are also convinced that this
trend in policing is weakeningpublic policing relative to
private security as the primary institution providing security
to society. We believe that this has dangerous long-term
implications not only for police departments but also for
society. We think that this trend is shrinking rather than”enlarging police capacity to help create civil communities.
Our judgment is that this trend can be reversed only by
refocusing police attention from the pursuit of professional

f autonomy to the establishment of effective problem-solving
partnerships with the communities they police.


This is one in a series of reports originally developed with
some of the leading figures in American policing during their
periodic meetings at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy
School of Government. The reports are published so that
Americans interested in the improvement and the future of
policing can share in the information and perspectives that
were part of extensivedebates at the School’s Executive
Session on Policing.

The police chiefs, mayors, scholars,and others invited to the
meetings have focused on the use and promise of such
strategies as community-based and problem-oriented policing.
The testing and adoption of these strategies by some police
agencies signalimportant changes in the way American
policing now does business. What these changes mean for the
welfare of citizensand the fulfillmentof the police mission in
the next decades has been at the heart of the Kennedy School
meetings and this series of papers.

We hope that through these publications police officials and
other policymakers who affect the course of policing will
debate and challenge their beliefsjust as those of us in the
Executive Sessionhave done.

The Executive Session on Policing has been developed and
administered by the Kennedy School’s Program in Criminal
Justice Policy and Management and funded by the National
Institute of Justice and private sources that includethe Charles
Stewart Mott and GuggenheimFoundations.

James K. Stewart
National Institute of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice

Mark H. Moore
Faculty Chairman
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management
John F. Kennedy School of Government

Delving into police history made it apparent that some
assumptions that now operate as axioms in the field of
policing (for example that effectiveness in policing depends
on distancing police departments from politics; or that the
highest priority of police departments is to deal with serious
street crime; or that the best way to deal with street crime
is through directed patrol, rapid response to calls for service,
and skilled retrospective investigations) are not timeless
truths, but rather choices made by former police leaders
and strategists. To be sure, the choices were often wise
and far-seeing as well as appropriate to their times. But the
historical perspective shows them to be choices nonetheless,
and therefore open to reconsideration in the light of later
professional experience and changing environmental

We are interpreting the results of our historical study through
a framework based on the concept of “corporate strategy.”‘
Using this framework, we can describe police organizations
in terms of seven interrelated categories:

The sources from which the police construct the
legitimacy and continuing power to act on society.

The definition of the police function or role in

The organizational design of police departments.

The relationships the police create with the external

The nature of police efforts to market or manage the
demand for their services.

The principal activities, programs, and tactics on
which police agencies rely to fulfill their mission
or achieve operational success.

The concrete measures the police use to define
operational success or failure.

Editor’s note: This paper, among the many papers
discussed at the Kennedy School’s Executive Session
on Policing, evoked some of the most spirited
exchanges among Session participants. The range
and substance of those exchanges are captured in
a companion Perspectives on Policing, “Debating
the Evolution of American Policing.”

Using this analytic framework, we have found it useful
to divide the history of policing into three different eras.
These eras are distinguished from one another by the
apparent dominance of a particular strategy of policing.
The political era, so named because of the close ties
between police and politics, dated from the introduction
of police into municipalities during the 1840’s, continued
through the Progressive period, and ended during the early
1900’s. The reform era developed in reaction to the political.
It took hold during the 1930’s, thrived during the 1950’s and
1960’s, began to erode during the late 1970’s. The reform
era now seems to be giving way to an era emphasizing
community problem solving.

6 6 The reform era now seems to be giving
way to an era emphasizing community
problem solving. ))

By dividing policing into these three eras dominated by a
particular strategy of policing, we do not mean to imply that
there were clear boundaries between the eras. Nor do we
mean that in those eras everyone policed in the same way.
Obviously, the real history is far more complex than that.
Nonetheless, we believe that there is a certain professional
ethos that defines standards of competence, professionalism,
and excellence in policing; that at any given time, one set
of concepts is more powerful, more widely shared, and better
understood than others; and that this ethos changes over
time. Sometimes, this professional ethos has been explicitly
articulated, and those who have articulated the concepts
have been recognized as the leaders of their profession.
O.W. Wilson, for example, was a brilliant expositor of the
central elements of the reform strategy of policing. Other
times, the ethos is implicit-accepted by all as the tacit
assumptions that define the business of policing and the
proper form for a police department to take. Our task is to
help the profession look to the future by representing its
past in these terms and trying to understand what the past
portends for the future.

The political era

Historians have described the characteristics of early
policing in the United States, especially the struggles
between various interest groups to govern the p ~ l i c e . ~
Elsewhere, the authors of this paper analyzed a portion
of American police history in terms of its organizational
~trategy.~ 4The following discussion of elements of the ii
police organizational strategy during the political era
expands on that effort. +%a

8 –

Legitimacy and authorization

Early American police were authorized by local municipali-
ties. Unlike their English counterparts, American police
departments lacked the powerful, central authority of the
crown to establish a legitimate, unifying mandate for their
enterprise. Instead, American police derived both their
authorization and resources from local political leaders,
often ward politicians. They were, of course, guided by the
law as to what tasks to undertake and what powers to utilize.
But their link to neighborhoods and local politicians was so
tight that both Jordan4 and Fogelson5 refer to the early police
as adjuncts to local political machines. The relationship was
often reciprocal: political machines recruited and maintained
police in office and on the beat, while police helped ward
political leaders maintain their political offices by encourag-
ing citizens to vote for certain candidates, discouraging
them from voting for others, and, at times, by assisting in
rigging elections.

The police function

Partly because of their close connection to politicians, police
during the political era provided a wide array of services to
citizens. Inevitably police departments were involved in
crime prevention and control and order maintenance, but
they also provided a wide variety of social services. In the
late 19th century, municipal police departments ran soup
lines; provided temporary lodging for newly arrived immi-
grant workers in station houses$ and assisted ward leaders
in finding work for immigrants, both in police and other
forms of work.

Organizational design

Although ostensibly organized as a centralized, quasi-
military organization with a unified chain of command,
police departments of the political era were nevertheless
decentralized. Cities were divided into precincts, and
precinct-level managers often, in concert with the ward
leaders, ran precincts as small-scale departments-hiring,
firing, managing, and assigning personnel as they deemed
appropriate. In addition, decentralization combined with
primitive communications and transportation to give police
officers substantial discretion in handling their individual
beats. At best, officer contact with central command was
maintained through the call box.

External relationships

During the political era, police departments were intimately
connected to the social and political world of the ward.
Police officers often were recruited from the same ethnic
stock as the dominant political groups in the localities,
and continued to live in the neighborhoods they patrolled.

Precinct commanders consulted often with local political
representatives about police priorities and progress.

Demand management

Demand for police services came primarily from two
sources: ward politicians making demands on the organiza-
tion and citizens making demands directly on beat officers.
Decentralization and political authorization encouraged the
first; foot patrol, lack of other means of transportation, and
poor communications produced the latter. Basically, the
demand for police services was received, interpreted, and
responded to at the precinct and street levels.

Principal programs and technologies

The primary tactic of police during the political era was
foot patrol. Most police officers walked beats and dealt
with crime, disorder, and other problems as they arose, or
as they were guided by citizens and precinct superiors.
The technological tools available to police were limited.
However, when call boxes became available, police adminis-
trators used them for supervisory and managerial purposes;
and, when early automobiles became available, police used
them to transport officers from one beat to an~ the r .~ The new
technology thereby increased the range, but did not change
the mode, of patrol officers.

Detective divisions existed but without their current prestige.
Operating from a caseload of “persons” rather than offenses,
detectives relied on their caseload to inform on other
criminal^.^ The “third degree” was a common means of
interviewing criminals to solve crimes. Detectives were
often especially valuable to local politicians for gathering
information on individuals for political or personal, rather
than offense-related, purposes.

6 6 ~ o s tpolice o f f e r s walked beats
and dealt with crime, disorder, and
other problems as they arose .. . 9 )

Measured outcomes

The expected outcomes of police work included crime and
riot control, maintenance of order, and relief from many of
the other problems of an industrializing society (hunger and
temporary homelessness, for example). Consistent with their

political mandate, police emphasized maintaining citizen and
political satisfaction with police services as an important
goal of police departments.

In sum, the organizational strategy of the political era of
policing included the following elements:

Authorization-primarily political.

Function-crime control, order maintenance,
broad social services.

Organizational design-decentralized and

Relationship to environment-close and personal.

Demand-managed through links between politicians
and precinct commanders, and face-to-face contacts
between citizens and foot patrol officers.

Tactics and technology-foot patrol and rudimentary

Outcome-political and citizen satisfaction with
social order.

The political strategy of early American policing had
strengths. First, police were integrated into neighborhoods
and enjoyed the support of citizens-at least the support of
the dominant and political interests of an area. Second, and
probably as a result of the first, the strategy provided useful
services to communities. There is evidence that it helped
contain riots. Many citizens believed that police prevented
crimes or solved crimes when they occurred? And the
police assisted immigrants in establishing themselves in
communities and finding jobs.

66Officers were often required to
enforce unpopular laws foisted on
immigrant ethnic neighborhoods by
crusading reformers …9 )

The political strategy also had weaknesses. First, intimacy
with community, closeness to political leaders, and a
decentralized organizational structure, with its inability
to provide supervision of officers, gave rise to police
corruption. Officers were often required to enforce unpopu-

lar laws foisted on immigrant ethnic neighborhoods by
crusading reformers (primarily of English and Dutch
background) who objected to ethnic values.1° Because
of their intimacy with the community, the officers were
vulnerable to being bribed in return for nonenforcement
or lax enforcement of laws. Moreover, police closeness to
politicians created such forms of political corruption as
patronage and police interference in elections.ll Even those
few departments that managed to avoid serious financial or
political corruption during the late 19th and early 20th
centuries, Boston for example, succumbed to large-scale
corruption during and after Prohibition.’*

Second, close identification of police with neighborhoods
and neighborhood norms often resulted in discrimination
against strangers and others who violated those norms,
especially minority ethnic and racial groups. Often ruling
their beats with the “ends of their nightsticks,” police
regularly targeted outsiders and strangers for rousting
and “curbstone ju~tice.”‘~

Finally, the lack of organizational control over officers
resulting from both decentralization and the political
nature of many appointments to police positions caused
inefficiencies and disorganization. The image of Keystone
Cops-police as clumsy bunglers-was widespread and
often descriptive of realities in American policing.

The reform era

Control over police by local politicians, conflict between
urban reformers and local ward leaders over the enforcement
of laws regulating the morality of urban migrants, and abuses
(corruption, for example) that resulted from the intimacy
between police and political leaders and citizens produced
a continuous struggle for control over police during the
late 19th and early 20th centuries.14 Nineteenth-century
attempts by civilians to reform police organizations by
applying external pressures largely failed; 20th-century
attempts at reform, originating from both internal and
external forces, shaped contemporary policing as we knew
it through the 1970’s.15

Berkeley’s police chief, August Vollmer, first rallied police
executives around the idea of reform during the 1920’s
and early 1930’s. Vollmer’s vision of policing was the
trumpet call: police in the post-flapper generation were
to remind American citizens and institutions of the moral
vision that had made America great and of their responsibili-
ties to maintain that vision.I6 It was Vollmer’s protege,
O.W. Wilson, however, who taking guidance from
J. Edgar Hoover’s shrewd transformation of the corrupt
and discredited Bureau of Investigation into the honest

and prestigious Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
became the principal administrative architect of the police
reform organizational strategy.17

Hoover wanted the FBI to represent a new force for law
and order, and saw that such an organization could capture
a permanent constituency that wanted an agency to take
a stand against lawlessness, immorality, and crime. By
raising eligibility standards and changing patterns of recruit-
ment and training, Hoover gave the FBI agents stature as
upstanding moral crusaders. By committing the organization
to attacks on crimes such as kidnapping, bank robbery,
and espionage-crimes that attracted wide publicity and
required technical sophistication, doggedness, and a national
jurisdiction to solve-Hoover established the organization’s
reputation for professional competence and power. By
establishing tight central control over his agents, limiting
their use of controversial investigation procedures (such as
undercover operations), and keeping them out of narcotics
enforcement, Hoover was also able to maintain an unparal-
leled record of integrity. That, too, fitted the image of a
dogged, incorruptible crime-fighting organization. Finally,
lest anyone fail to notice the important developments within
the Bureau, Hoover developed impressive public relations
programs that presented the FBI and its agents in the most
favorable light. (For those of us who remember the 1940’s,
for example, one of the most popular radio phrases was,
“The FBI in peace and war”-the introductory line in a radio
program that portrayed a vigilant FBI protecting us from
foreign enemies as well as villains on the “10 Most Wanted”
list, another HooverIFBI invention.)

6620th-century attempts at reform,
originating from both internal and
external forces, shaped. ..policing as
we knew it through the 1970’s. 9.9

Struggling as they were with reputations for corruption,
brutality, unfairness, and downright incompetence, munici-
pal police reformers found Hoover’s path a compelling one.
Instructed by O.W. Wilson’s texts on police administration,
they began to shape an organizational strategy for urban
police analogous to the one pursued by the FBI.

Legitimacy and authorization

Reformers rejected politics as the basis of police legitimacy.
In their view, politics and political involvement was the
problem in American policing. Police reformers therefore
allied themselves with Progressives. They moved to end the

close ties between local political leaders and police. In some
states, control over police was usurped by state government.
Civil service eliminated patronage and ward influences in
hiring and firing police officers. In some cities (Los Angeles
and Cincinnati, for example), even the position of chief of
police became a civil service position to be attained through
examination. In others (such as Milwaukee), chiefs were
given lifetime tenure by a police commission, to be removed
from office only for cause. In yet others (Boston, for
example), contracts for chiefs were staggered so as not
to coincide with the mayor’s tenure. Concern for separation
of police from politics did not focus only on chiefs, however.
In some cities, such as Philadelphia, it became illegal for
patrol officers to live in the beats they patrolled. The purpose
of all these changes was to isolate police as completely as
possible from political influences.

Law, especially criminal law, and police professionalism
were established as the principal bases of police legitimacy.
When police were asked why they performed as they did,
the most common answer was that they enforced the law.
When they chose not to enforce the law-for instance,
in a riot when police isolated an area rather than arrested
looters-police justification for such action was found in
their claim to professional knowledge, skills, and values
which uniquely qualified them to make such tactical deci-
sions. Even in riot situations, police rejected the idea that
political leaders should make tactical decisions; that was a
police responsibility.18

So persuasive was the argument of reformers to remove
political influences from policing, that police departments
became one of the most autonomous public organizations in
urban g~vernment.’~ Under such circumstances, policing a
city became a legal and technical matter left to the discretion
of professional police executives under the guidance of law.
Political influence of any kind on a police department came
to be seen as not merely a failure of police leadership but as
corruption in policing.

The police function

Using the focus on criminal law as a basic source of police
legitimacy, police in the reform era moved to narrow their
functioning to crime control and criminal apprehension.
Police agencies became law enforcement agencies. Their
goal was to control crime. Their principal means was the use
of criminal law to apprehend and deter offenders. Activities
that drew the police into solving other kinds of community
problems and relied on other kinds of responses were

identified as “social work,” and became the object of
derision. A common line in police circles during the 1950’s
and 1960’s was, “If only we didn’t have to do social work,
we could really do something about crime.” Police retreated
from providing emergency medical services as well-
ambulance and emergency medical services were transferred
to medical, private, or firefighting organization^.^^ The 1967
President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Admini-
stration of Justice ratified this orientation: heretofore, police
had been conceptualized as an agency of urban government;
the President’s Commission reconceptualized them as part
of the criminal justice system.

Organizational design

The organization form adopted by police reformers generally
reflected the scientific or classical theory of administration
advocated by Frederick W. Taylor during the early 20th
century. At least two assumptions attended classical theory.
First, workers are inherently uninterested in work and, if
left to their own devices, are prone to avoid it. Second,
since workers have little or no interest in the substance of
their work, the sole common interest between workers
and management is found in economic incentives for
workers. Thus, both workers and management benefit
economically when management arranges work in ways
that increase workers’ productivity and link productivity to
economic rewards.

Two central principles followed from these assumptions:
division of labor and unity of control. The former posited
that if tasks can be broken into components, workers can
become highly skilled in particular components and thus
more efficient in carrying out their tasks. The latter posited
that the workers’ activities are best managed by apyramid of
control, with all authority finally resting in one central office.

66 .. . a generation of police officers
was raised with the idea that they merely
enforced the law .. . ))

Using this classical theory, police leaders moved to routinize
and standardize police work, especially patrol work. Police
work became a form of crimefighting in which police
enforced the law and arrested criminals if the opportunity
presented itself. Attempts were made to limit discretion in
patrol work: a generation of police officers was raised with
the idea that they merely enforced the law.

If special problems arose, the typical response was to create
special units (e.g., vice, juvenile, drugs, tactical) rather
than to assign them to patrol. The creation of these special
units, under central rather than precinct command, served
to further centralize command and control and weaken
precinct commander^.^^

Moreover, police organizations emphasized control over
workers through bureaucratic means of control: supervision,
limited span of control, flow of instructions downward and
information upward in the organization, establishment of
elaborate record-keeping systems requiring additional layers
of middle managers, and coordination of activities between
various production units (e.g., patrol and detectives), which
also required additional middle managers.

External relationships

Police leaders in the reform era redefined the nature of
a proper relationship between police officers and citizens.
Heretofore, police had been intimately linked to citizens.
During the era of reform policing, the new model demanded
an impartial law enforcer who related to citizens in profes-
sionally neutral and distant terms. No better characterization
of this model can be found than television’s Sergeant Friday,
whose response, “Just the facts, ma’am,” typified the idea:
impersonal and oriented toward crime solving rather than
responsive to the emotional crisis of a victim.

The professional model also shaped the police view of the
role of citizens in crime control. Police redefined the citizen
role during an era when there was heady confidence about
the ability of professionals to manage physical and social
problems. Physicians would care for health problems,
dentists for dental problems, teachers for educational
problems, social workers for social adjustment problems,
and police for crime problems. The proper role of citizens
in crime control was to be relatively passive recipients of
professional crime control services. Citizens’ actions on
their own behalf to defend themselves or their communities
came to be seen as inappropriate, smacking of vigilantism.
Citizens met their responsibilities when a crime occurred
by calling police, deferring to police actions, and being good
witnesses if called upon to give evidence. The metaphor that
expressed this orientation to the community was that of the
police as the “thin blue line.” It connotes the existence of
dangerous external threats to communities, portrays police
as standing between that danger and good citizens, and
implies both police heroism and loneliness.

Demand management

Learning from Hoover, police reformers vigorously set out
to sell their brand of urban policing.22 They, too, performed
on radio talk shows, consulted with media representatives

about how to present police, engaged in public relations
campaigns, and in other ways presented this image of police
as crime fighters. In a sense, they began with an organiza-
tional capacity-anticrime police tactics-and intensively
promoted it. This approach was more like selling than
marketing. Marketing refers to the process of carefully
identifying consumer needs and then developing goods
and services that meet those needs. Selling refers to having
a stock of products or goods on hand irrespective of need and
selling them. The reform strategy had as its starting point a
set of police tactics (services) that police promulgated as
much for the purpose of establishing internal control of
police officers and enhancing the status of urban police as
for responding to community needs or market demands.23
The community “need” for rapid response to calls for
service, for instance, was largely the consequence of
police selling the service as efficacious in crime control
rather than a direct demand from citizens.

66~ o o t when demanded by
citizens, was rejected as an outmoded,
expensivef& 9.9

Consistent with this attempt to sell particular tactics, police
worked to shape and control demand for police services.
Foot patrol, when demanded by citizens, was rejected as an
outmoded, expensive frill. Social and emergency services
were terminated or given to other agencies. Receipt of
demand for police services was centralized. No longer were
citizens encouraged to go to “their” neighborhood police
officers or districts; all calls went to a central communica-
tions facility. When 91 1 systems were installed, police
aggressively sold 91 1 and rapid response to calls for service
as effective police service. If citizens continued to use
district, or precinct, telephone numbers, some police
departments disconnected those telephones or got new
telephone numbers.24

Principal programs and technologies

The principal programs and tactics of the reform strategy
were preventive patrol by automobile and rapid response to
calls for service. Foot patrol, characterized as outmoded and
inefficient, was abandoned as rapidly as police administra-
tors could obtain cars.25 The initial tactical reasons for
putting police in cars had been to increase the size of the
areas police officers could patrol and to take the advantage
away from criminals who began to use automobiles. Under
reform policing, a new theory about how to make the best
tactical use of automobiles appeared.

O.W. Wilson developed the theory of preventive patrol by
automobile as an anticrime tactic.26 He theorized that if
police drove conspicuously marked cars randomly through
city streets and gave special attention to certain “hazards”
(bars and schools, for example), a feeling of police
omnipresence would be developed. In turn, that sense of
omnipresence would both deter criminals and reassure good
citizens. Moreover, it was hypothesized that vigilant patrol
officers moving rapidly through city streets would happen
upon criminals in action and be able to apprehend them.

As telephones and radios became ubiquitous, the availability
of cruising police came to be seen as even more valuable:
if citizens could be encouraged to call the police via
telephone as soon as problems developed, police could
respond rapidly to calls and establish control over situations,
identify wrong-doers, and make arrests. To this end, 91 1
systems and computer-aided dispatch were developed
throughout the country. Detective units continued, although
with some modifications. The “person” approach ended and
was replaced by the case approach. In addition, forensic
techniques were upgraded and began to replace the old
“third degree” or reliance on informants for the solution
of crimes. Like other special units, most investigative units
were controlled by central headquarters.

Measured outcomes

The primary desired outcomes of the reform strategy were
crime control and criminal apprehensi~n.~’ To measure
achievement of these outcomes, August Vollmer, working
through the newly vitalized International Association of
Chiefs of Police, developed and implemented a uniform
system of crime classification and reporting. Later, the
system was taken over and administered by the FBI and the
Uniform Crime Reports became the primary standard by
which police organizations measured their effectiveness.
Additionally, individual officers’ effectiveness in dealing
with crime was judged by the number of arrests they made;
other measures of police effectiveness included response
time (the time it takes for a police car to arrive at the location
of a call for service) and “number of passings” (the number
of times a police car passes a given point on a city street).
Regardless of all other indicators, however, the primary
measure of police effectiveness was the crime rate as
measured by the Uniform Crime Reports.

In sum, the reform organizational strategy contained the
following elements:

Authorization-law and professionalism.

FunctionArime control.

Organizational design–centralized, classical.

Relationship to environment-professionally remote.

Demand~hanneledthrough central dispatching

Tactics and technology-preventive patrol and rapid
response to calls for service.

Outcome–crime control.

66…officers’ effectiveness in dealing
with crime was judged by the number
of arrests they made …9 )

In retrospect, the reform strategy was impressive. It success-
fully integrated its strategic elements into a coherent para-
digm that was internally consistent and logically appealing.
Narrowing police functions to crime fighting made sense. If
police could concentrate their efforts on prevention of crime
and apprehension of criminals, it followed that they could be
more effective than if they dissipated their efforts on other
problems. The model of police as impartial, professional law
enforcers was attractive because it minimized the discretion-
ary excesses which developed during the political era.
Preventive patrol and rapid response to calls for service
were intuitively appealing tactics, as well as means to control
officers and shape and control citizen demands for service.
Further, the strategy provided a comprehensive, yet simple,
vision of policing around which police leaders could rally.

The metaphor of the thin blue line reinforced their need to
create isolated independence and autonomy in terms that
were acceptable to the public. The patrol car became the
symbol of policing during the 1930’s and 1940’s; when
equipped with a radio, it was at the limits of technology.
It represented mobility, power, conspicuous presence,
control of officers, and professional distance from citizens.

During the late 1960’s and 1970’s, however, the reform
strategy ran into difficulty. First, regardless of how police
effectiveness in dealing with crime was measured, police
failed to substantially improve their record. During the

1960’s, crime began to rise. Despite large increases in the
size of police departments and in expenditures for new
forms of equipment (91 1 systems, computer-aided dispatch,
etc.), police failed to meet their own or public expectations
about their capacity to control crime or prevent its increase.
Moreover, research conducted during the 1970’s on
preventive patrol and rapid response to calls for service
suggested that neither was an effective crime control or
apprehension tactic.28

Second, fear rose rapidly during this era. The consequences
of this fear were dramatic for cities. Citizens abandoned
parks, public transportation, neighborhood shopping centers,
churches, as well as entire neighborhoods. What puzzled
police and researchers was that levels of fear and crime did
not always correspond: crime levels were low in some areas,
but fear high. Conversely, in other areas levels of crime were
high, but fear low. Not until the early 1980’s did researchers
discover that fear is more closely correlated with disorder
than with crime.29 Ironically, order maintenance was one of
those functions that police had been downplaying over the
years. They collected no data on it, provided no training to
officers in order maintenance activities, and did not reward
officers for successfully conducting order maintenance tasks.

Third, despite attempts by police departments to create
equitable police allocation systems and to provide impartial
policing to all citizens, many minority citizens, especially
blacks during the 1960’s and 1970’s, did not perceive their
treatment as equitable or adequate. They protested not only
police mistreatment, but lack of treatment-inadequate or
insufficient services-as well.

6 6 ~ o tuntil the early 1980’s did
researchers discover that fear is more
closely correlated with disorder than
with crime. 9 )

Fourth, the civil rights and antiwar movements challenged
police. This challenge took several forms. The legitimacy
of police was questioned: students resisted police, minorities
rioted against them, and the public, observing police via live
television for the first time, questioned their tactics. More-
over, despite police attempts to upgrade personnel through
improved recruitment, training, and supervision, minorities
and then women insisted that they had to be adequately
represented in policing if police were to be legitimate.

Fifth, some of the myths that undergirded the reform
strategy-police officers use little or no discretion and

the primary activity of police is law enforcement-simply
proved to be too far from reality to be sustained. Over
and over again research showed that use of discretion
characterized policing at all levels and that law enforcement
comprised but a small portion of police officers’ a~tivities.~’

Sixth, although the reform ideology could rally police chiefs
and executives, it failed to rally line police officers. During
the reform era, police executives had moved to professional-
ize their ranks. Line officers, however, were managed in
ways that were antithetical to professionalization. Despite
pious testimony from police executives that “patrol is the
backbone of policing,” police executives behaved in ways
that were consistent with classical organizational theory-
patrol officers continued to have low status; their work was
treated as if it were routinized and standardized; and petty
rules governed issues such as hair length and off-duty
behavior. Meanwhile, line officers received little guidance
in use of discretion and were given few, if any, opportunities
to make suggestions about their work. Under such circum-
stances, the increasing “grumpiness” of officers in many
cities is not surprising, nor is the rise of militant unionism.

Seventh, police lost a significant portion of their financial
support, which had been increasing or at least constant over
the years, as cities found themselves in fiscal difficulties.
In city after city, police departments were reduced in size.
In some cities, New York for example, financial cutbacks
resulted in losses of up to one-third of departmental person-
nel. Some, noting that crime did not increase more rapidly
or arrests decrease during the cutbacks, suggested that
New York City had been overpoliced when at maximum
strength. For those concerned about levels of disorder and
fear in New York City, not to mention other problems,
that came as a dismaying conclusion. Yet it emphasizes
the erosion of confidence that citizens, politicians, and
academicians had in urban police-an erosion that was
translated into lack of political and financial support.

Finally, urban police departments began to acquire competi-
tion: private security and the community crime control
movement. Despite the inherent value of these develop-
ments, the fact that businesses, industries, and private
citizens began to search for alternative means of protecting
their property and persons suggests a decreasing confidence
in either the capability or the intent of the police to provide
the services that citizens want.

In retrospect, the police reform strategy has characteristics
similar to those that Miles and Snow3′ ascribe to a defensive
strategy in the private sector. Some of the characteristics of
an organization with a defensive strategy are (with specific
characteristics of reform policing added in parentheses):

Its market is stable and narrow (crime victims).

Its success is dependent on maintaining dominance
in a narrow, chosen market (crime control).

It tends to ignore developments outside its domain

It tends to establish a single core technology (patrol).

New technology is used to improve its current
product or service rather than to expand its product
or service line (use of computers to enhance patrol).

Its management is centralized (command and

Promotions generally are from within (with the
exception of chiefs, virtually all promotions are
from within).

There is a tendency toward a functional structure with
high degrees of specialization and formalization.

A defensive strategy is successful for an organization when
market conditions remain stable and few competitors enter
the field. Such strategies are vulnerable, however, in unstable
market conditions and when competitors are aggressive.

66…the reform strategy was unable
to adjust to the changing social
circumstances of the 1960’s and 1970’s.) )

The reform strategy was a successful strategy for police
during the relatively stable period of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Police were able to sell a relatively narrow service line and
maintain dominance in the crime control market. The social
changes of the 1960’s and 1970’s, however, created unstable
conditions. Some of the more significant changes included:
the civil rights movement; migration of minorities into
cities; the changing age of the population (more youths and
teenagers); increases in crime and fear; increased oversight
of police actions by courts; and the decriminalization and
deinstitutionalization movements. Whether or not the private
sector defensive strategy properly applies to police, it is clear
that the reform strategy was unable to adjust to the changing
social circumstances of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The community problem-solving era

All was not negative for police during the late 1970’s and
early 1980’s, however. Police began to score victories which
they barely noticed. Foot patrol remained popular, and in
many cities citizen and political demands for it intensified.
In New Jersey, the state funded the Safe and Clean Neigh-
borhoods Program, which funded foot patrol in cities, often
over the opposition of local chiefs of police.32 In Boston,
foot patrol was so popular with citizens that when neighbor-
hoods were selected for foot patrol, politicians often made
the announcements, especially during election years.
Flint, Michigan, became the first city in memory to return
to foot patrol on a citywide basis. It proved so popular
there that citizens twice voted to increase their taxes to
fund foot patrol-most recently by a two-thirds majority.
Political and citizen demands for foot patrol continued to
expand in cities throughout the United States. Research
into foot patrol suggested it was more than just politically
popular, it contributed to city life: it reduced fear, increased
citizen satisfaction with police, improved police attitudes
toward citizens, and increased the morale and job satisfaction
of police.33

Additionally, research conducted during the 1970’s
suggested that one factor could help police improve their
record in dealing with crime: information. If information
about crimes and criminals could be obtained from citizens
by police, primarily patrol officers, and could be properly
managed by police departments, investigative and other
units could significantly increase their effect on crime.34

Moreover, research into foot patrol suggested that at least
part of the fear reduction potential was linked to the order
maintenance activities of foot patrol officers.35 Subsequent
work in Houston and Newark indicated that tactics other
than foot patrol that, like foot patrol, emphasized increasing
the quantity and improving the quality of police-citizen
interactions had outcomes similar to those of foot patrol
(fear reduction, e t ~ . ) . ~ ~ Meanwhile, many other cities were
developing programs, though not evaluated, similar to those
in the foot patrol, Flint, and fear reduction experiment^.^’

The findings of foot patrol and fear reduction experiments,
when coupled with the research on the relationship between
fear and disorder, created new opportunities for police to
understand the increasing concerns of citizens’ groups about
disorder (gangs, prostitutes, etc.) and to work with citizens
to do something about it. Police discovered that when they
asked citizens about their priorities, citizens appreciated the
inquiry and also provided useful information-ften about

problems that beat officers might have been aware of, but
about which departments had little or no official data (e.g.,
disorder). Moreover, given the ambiguities that surround
both the definitions of disorder and the authority of police
to do something about it, police learned that they had to
seek authorization from local citizens to intervene in
disorderly situation^.^^

66 …foot patrol and fear reduction
experiments [helped] police to understand
the increasing concerns of citizens. ..))

Simultaneously, Goldstein’s problem-oriented approach
to policing39 was being tested in several communities:
Madison, Wisconsin; Baltimore County, Maryland; and
Newport News, Virginia. Problem-oriented policing rejects
the fragmented approach in which police deal with each
incident, whether citizen- or police-initiated, as an isolated
event with neither history nor future. Pierce’s findings about
calls for service illustrate Goldstein’s point: 60 percent of the
calls for service in any given year in Boston originated from
10 percent of the households calling the police.40 Further-
more, Goldstein and his colleagues in Madison, Newport
News, and Baltimore County discovered the following:
police officers enjoy operating with a holistic approach to
their work; they have the capacity to do it successfully; they
can work with citizens and other agencies to solve problems;
and citizens seem to appreciate working with police-
findings similar to those of the foot patrol experiments
(Newark and Flint)4′ and the fear reduction experiments
(Houston and N e ~ a r k ) . ~ ~

The problem confronting police, policymakers, and academi-
cians is that these trends and findings seem to contradict
many of the tenets that dominated police thinking for a
generation. Foot patrol creates new intimacy between
citizens and police. Problem solving is hardly the routinized
and standardized patrol modality that reformers thought was
necessary to maintain control of police and limit their
discretion. Indeed, use of discretion is the sine qua non of
problem-solving policing. Relying on citizen endorsement
of order maintenance activities to justify police action
acknowledges a continued or new reliance on political
authorization for police work in general. And, accepting the
quality of urban life as an outcome of good police service
emphasizes a wider definition of the police function and the
desired effects of police work.

These changes in policing are not merely new police tactics,
however. Rather, they represent a new organizational

approach, properly called a community strategy. The
elements of that strategy are:

Legitimacy and authorization

There is renewed emphasis on community, or political,
authorization for many police tasks, along with law and
professionalism. Law continues to be the major legitimating
basis of the police function. It defines basic police powers,
but it does not fully direct police activities in efforts to
maintain order, negotiate conflicts, or solve community
problems. It becomes one tool among many others.
Neighborhood, or community, support and involvement
are required to accomplish those tasks. Professional and
bureaucratic authority, especially that which tends to isolate
police and insulate them from neighborhood influences,
is lessened as citizens contribute more to definitions of
problems and identification of solutions. Although in some
respects similar to the authorization of policing’s political
era, community authorization exists in a different political
context. The civil service movement, the political centraliza-
tion that grew out of the Progressive era, and the bureaucrati-
zation, professionalization, and unionization of police
stand as counterbalances to the possible recurrence of the
corrupting influences of ward politics that existed prior to
the reform movement.

The police function

As indicated above, the definition of police function
broadens in the community strategy. It includes order
maintenance, conflict resolution, problem solving through
the organization, and provision of services, as well as other
activities. Crime control remains an important function,
with an important difference, however. The reform strategy
attempts to control crime directly through preventive patrol
and rapid response to calls for service. The community
strategy emphasizes crime control andprevention as an
indirect result of, or an equal partner to, the other activities.

6 6 …police function .. . includes order
maintenance, conflict resolution,
problem solving . . .,and provision
of services . . .))

Organizational design

Community policing operates from organizational assump-
tions different from those of reform policing. The idea that
workers have no legitimate, substantive interest in their work

is untenable when programs such as those in Flint, Houston,
Los Angeles, New York City, Baltimore County, Newport
News, and others are examined. Consulting with community
groups, problem solving, maintaining order, and other such
activities are antithetical to the reform ideal of eliminating
officer discretion through routinization and standardization
of police activities. Moreover, organizational decentraliza-
tion is inherent in community policing: the involvement of
police officers in diagnosing and responding to neighbor-
hood and community problems necessarily pushes opera-
tional and tactical decisionmaking to the lower levels of the
organization. The creation of neighborhood police stations
(storefronts, for example), reopening of precinct stations,
and establishment of beat offices (in schools, churches, etc.)
are concrete examples of such decentralization.

Decentralization of tactical decisionmaking to precinct or
beat level does not imply abdication of executive obligations
and functions, however. Developing, articulating, and
monitoring organizational strategy remain the responsibility
of management. Within this strategy, operational and tactical
decisionmaking is decentralized. This implies what may at
first appear to be a paradox: while the number of managerial
levels may decrease, the number of managers may increase.
Sergeants in a decentralized regime, for example, have
managerial responsibilities that exceed those they would
have in a centralized organization.

At least two other elements attend this decentralization:
increased participative management and increased
involvement of top police executives in planning and
implementation. Chiefs have discovered that programs are
easier to conceive and implement if officers themselves
are involved in their development through task forces,
temporary matrix-like organizational units, and other
organizational innovations that tap the wisdom and experi-
ence of sergeants and patrol officers. Additionally, police
executives have learned that good ideas do not translate
themselves into successful programs without extensive
involvement of the chief executive and his close agents
in every stage of planning and implementation, a lesson
learned in the private sector as

One consequence of decentralized decisionmaking,
participative planning and management, and executive
involvement in planning is that fewer levels of authority
are required to administer police organizations. Some
police organizations, including the London Metropolitan
Police (Scotland Yard), have begun to reduce the number of
middle-management layers, while others are contemplating
doing so. Moreover, as in the private sector, as computerized

information gathering systems reach their potential in police
departments, the need for middle managers whose primary
function is data collection will be further reduced.

External relationships

Community policing relies on an intimate relationship
between police and citizens. This is accomplished in a
variety of ways: relatively long-term assignment of officers
to beats, programs that emphasize familiarity between
citizens and police (police knocking on doors, consultations,
crime control meetings for police and citizens, assignment
to officers of “caseloads” of households with ongoing
problems, problem solving, etc.), revitalization or develop-
ment of Police Athletic League programs, educational
programs in grade and high schools, and other programs.
Moreover, police are encouraged to respond to the feelings
and fears of citizens that result from a variety of social
problems or from victimization.

46community policing relies on an
intimate relationship between police
and citizens. 9.9

Further, the police are restructuring their relationship with
neighborhood groups and institutions. Earlier, during the
reform era, police had claimed a monopolistic responsibility
for crime control in cities, communities, and neighborhoods;
now they recognize serious competitors in the “industry” of
crime control, especially private security and the community
crime control movement. Whereas in the past police had
dismissed these sources of competition or, as in the case
of community crime control, had attempted to coopt the
movement for their own purpose^,^ now police in many
cities (Boston, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles, to
name a few) are moving to structure working relationships
or strategic alliances with neighborhood and community
crime control groups. Although there is less evidence of
attempts to develop alliances with the private security
industry, a recent proposal to the National Institute of Justice
envisioned an experimental alliance between the Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, Police Department and the Wackenhut
Corporation in which the two organizations would share
responses to calls for service.

Demand management

In the community problem-solving strategy, a major portion
of demand is decentralized, with citizens encouraged to
bring problems directly to beat officers or precinct offices.
Use of 91 1 is discouraged, except for dire emergencies.
Whether tactics include aggressive foot patrol as in Flint
or problem solving as in Newport News, the emphasis is
on police officers’ interacting with citizens to determine
the types of problems they are confronting and to devise
solutions to those problems. In contrast to reform policing
with its selling orientation, this approach is more like
marketing: customer preferences are sought, and satisfying
customer needs and wants, rather than selling a previously
packaged product or service, is emphasized. In the case of
police, they gather information about citizens’ wants,
diagnose the nature of the problem, devise possible solu-
tions, and then determine which segments of the community
they can best serve and which can be best served by other
agencies and institutions that provide services, including
crime control.

Additionally, many cities are involved in the development
of demarketing programs.45 The most noteworthy example
of demarketing is in the area of rapid response to calls for
service. Whether through the development of alternatives to
calls for service, educational programs designed to discour-
age citizens from using the 91 1 system, or, as in a few cities,
simply not responding to many calls for service, police
actively attempt to demarket a program that had been
actively sold earlier. Often demarketing 91 1 is thought of
as a negative process. It need not be so, however. It is an
attempt by police to change social, political, and fiscal
circumstances to bring consumers’ wants in line with police
resources and to accumulate evidence about the value of
particular police tactics.

44.. . demarketing 911 . . .is an attempt
by police to .. . bring consumers’ wants
in line with police resources .. . 9 )

Tactics and technology

Community policing tactics include foot patrol, problem
solving, information gathering, victim counseling and
services, community organizing and consultation, education,
walk-and-ride and knock-on-door programs, as well as
regular patrol, specialized forms of patrol, and rapid response
to emergency calls for service. Emphasis is placed on

information sharing between patrol and detectives to
increase the possibility of crime solution and clearance.

Measured outcomes

The measures of success in the community strategy are
broad: quality of life in neighborhoods, problem solution,
reduction of fear, increased order, citizen satisfaction with
police services, as well as crime control. In sum, the
elements of the community strategy include:

Authorization-community support (political), law,

Function-crime control, crime prevention, problem

Organizational design-decentralized, task forces,

Relationship to environment-consultative, police
defend values of law and professionalism, but listen
to community concerns.

Demand-channelled through analysis of underlying

Tactics and technology-foot patrol, problem
solving, etc.

Outcomes–quality of life and citizen satisfaction.


We have argued that there were two stages of policing in
the past, political and reform, and that we are now moving
into a third, the community era. To carefully examine the
dimensions of policing during each of these eras, we have
used the concept of organizational strategy. We believe
that this concept can be used not only to describe the
different styles of policing in the past and the present, but
also to sharpen the understanding of police policymakers
of the future.

For example, the concept helps explain policing’s perplexing
experience with team policing during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Despite the popularity of team policing with officers
involved in it and with citizens, it generally did not remain
in police depaitments for very long. It was usually planned
and implemented with enthusiasm and maintained for
several years. Then, with little fanfare, it would vanish-
with everyone associated with it saying regretfully that for
some reason it just did not work as a police tactic. However,
a close examination of team policing reveals that it was a

strategy that innovators mistakenly approached as a tactic.
It had implications for authorization (police turned to
neighborhoods for support), organizational design (tactical
decisions were made at lower levels of the organization),
definition of function (police broadened their service role),
relationship to environment (permanent team members
responded to the needs of small geographical areas), demand
(wants and needs came to team members directly from
citizens), tactics (consultation with citizens, etc.), and
outcomes (citizen satisfaction, etc.). What becomes clear,
though, is that team policing was a competing strategy
with different assumptions about every element of police
business. It was no wonder that it expired under such
circumstances. Team and reform policing were strategically
incompatible-one did not fit into the other. A police
department could have a small team policing unit or
conduct a team policing experiment, but business as
usual was reform policing.

Likewise, although foot patrol symbolizes the new strategy
for many citizens, it is a mistake to equate the two. Foot
patrol is a tactic, a way of delivering police services. In Flint,
its inauguration has been accompanied by implementation of
most of the elements of a community strategy, which has
become business as usual. In most places, foot patrol is not
accompanied by the other elements. It is outside the main-
stream of “real” policing and often provided only as a sop to
citizens and politicians who are demanding the development
of different policing styles. This certainly was the case in
New Jersey when foot patrol was evaluated by the Police
F~unda t ion .~~Another example is in Milwaukee, where two
police budgets are passed: the first is the police budget; the
second, a supplementary budget for modest levels of foot
patrol. In both cases, foot patrol is outside the mainstream
of police activities and conducted primarily as a result of
external pressures placed on departments.

66 …team policing. . . was usually
planned and implemented with enthu-
siasm. . . .Then, with little fanfare, it
would vanish. ..f f

It is also a mistake to equate problem solving or increased
order maintenance activities with the new strategy. Both
are tactics. They can be implemented either as part of a new

organizational strategy, as foot patrol was in Flint, or as an
“add-on,” as foot patrol was in most of the cities in New
Jersey. Drawing a distinction between organizational add-
ons and a change in strategy is not an academic quibble;
it gets to the heart of the current situation in policing.
We are arguing that policing is in a period of transition
from a reform strategy to what we call a community strategy.
The change involves more than making tactical or organiza-
tional adjustments and accommodations. Just as policing
went through a basic change when it moved from the
political to the reform strategy, it is going through a similar
change now. If elements of the emerging organizational
strategy are identified and the policing institution is guided
through the change rather than left blindly thrashing about,
we expect that the public will be better served, policymakers
and police administrators more effective, and the profession
of policing revitalized.

4 4 I f . . .policing . . is guided through
the change rather than left blindly
thrashing about, . . . the public will be
better served. ..))

A final point: the classical theory of organization that
continues to dominate police administration in most
American cities is alien to most of the elements of the new
strategy. The new strategy will not accommodate to the
classical theory: the latter denies too much of the real nature
of police work, promulgates unsustainable myths about the
nature and quality of police supervision, and creates too
much cynicism in officers attempting to do creative problem
solving. Its assumptions about workers are simply wrong.

George L. Kelling is a Professor of Criminal Justice at
Northeastern University, Boston, and a Research Fellow in the
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, John F.
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, where Mark
H. Moore is Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy and
Management and Faculty Chair of the Program.

Points of view or opinions expressed in this publication are those of
the authors and do not necessarily represent the oficialposition or
policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or of Harvard University.

The Assistant Attorney General, Ofice of Justice Programs, coordi-
nates the activities of the following program Ofices and Bureaus:
National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of
Justice Assistance, Ofice of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention, and Ofice for Victims of Crime.

Organizational theory has developed well beyond the stage
it was at during the early 1900’s, and policing does have
organizational options that are consistent with the newly
developing organizational strategy. Arguably, policing,
which was moribund during the 19707s, is beginning a
resurgence. It is overthrowing a strategy that was remarkable
in its time, but which could not adjust to the changes of
recent decades. Risks attend the new strategy and its imple-
mentation. The risks, however, for the community and the
profession of policing, are not as great as attempting to
maintain a strategy that faltered on its own terms during
the 1960’s and 1970’s.


1. Kenneth R. Andrews, The Concept of Corporate Strategy,
Homewood, Illinois, Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1980.

2. Robert M. Fogelson, Big-City Police, Cambridge, Harvard
University Press, 1977; Samuel Walker, A Critical History of
Police Reform: The Emergence of Professionalism, Lexington,
Massachusetts, Lexington Books, 1977.

3. Mark H. Moore and George L. Kelling, “To Serve and
Protect: Learning From Police History,” The Public Interest,
7. Winter 1983.

4 . K.E. Jordan, Ideology and the Coming of Professionalism:
American Urban Police in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Dissertation,
Rutgers University, 1972.

5, Fogelson,Big-City Police.

6. Eric H. Monkkonen, Police in Urban America, 1860-1920,
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1981.

7. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment, Washington, D.C.,
Police Foundation, 1981.

8. John Eck, Solving Crimes: The Investigation of Burglary
and Robbery, Washington, D.C., Police Executive Research
Forum. 1984.

9. Thomas A. Reppetto, The Blue Parade, New York, The Free
Press, 1978.

10. Fogelson,Big-City Police.

1 1. Ibid.

12. George L. Kelling, “Reforming the Reforms: The Boston Police
Department,” Occasional Paper, Joint Center for Urban Studies of
M.I.T.and Haward, Cambridge, 1983.

13. George L. Kelling, “Juveniles and Police: The End of the
Nightstick,” in From Children to Citizens, Vol. 11: The Role
of the Juvenile Court, ed. Francis X . Hartmann, New York,
Springer-Verlag, 1987.

14. Walker,A Critical History of Police Reform: The Emergence of

15.Fogelson, Big-City Police.

16.Kelling, “Juveniles and Police: The End of the Nightstick.”

17.Orlando W. Wilson, Police Administration, New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1950.

18.”Police Guidelines,” John F. Kennedy School of Government
Case Program #C14-75-24, 1975.

19. Herman Goldstein, Policing a Free Society, Cambridge,
Massachusetts, Ballinger, 1977.

20. Kelling, “Reforming The Reforms: The Boston Police

21. Fogelson,Big-City Police.

22. William H. Parker, “The Police Challenge in Our Great Cities,”
The Annals 29 (January 1954): 5-1 3.

23.For a detailed discussion of the differences between selling
and marketing, see John L. Crompton and Charles W. Lamb,
Marketing Government and Social Services, New York, John
Wiley and Sons, 1986.

24. Commissioner Francis “Mickey” Roache of Boston has said
that when the 91 1 system was instituted there, citizens persisted
in calling “their” police-the district station. To circumvent this
preference, district telephone numbers were changed so that citizens
would be inconvenienced if they dialed the old number.

25. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment.

26. O.W. Wilson, Police Administration.

27. A.E. Leonard, “Crime Reporting as a Police Management
Tool,” The Annals 29 (January 1954).

28. George L. Kelling et al., The Kansas City Preventive Patrol
Experiment: A Summary Report, Washington, D,C., Police
Foundation, 1974; William Spelman and Dale K. Brown,
Calling the Police, Washington, D.C., Police Executive Research
Forum, 1982.

29. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment; Wesley G. Skogan
and Michael G. Maxfield, Coping With Crime, Beverly Hills,
California, Sage, 198 1; Robert Trojanowicz, An Evaluation of the
Neighborhood Foot Patrol Program in Flint, Michigan, East
Lansing, Michigan State University, 1982.

30. Mary Ann Wycoff, The Role of Municipal Police Research
as a Prelude to Changing It, Washington, D.C., Police Foundation,
1982; Goldstein, Policing a Free Society.

3 1. Raymond E. Miles and Charles C. Snow, Organizational
Strategy, Structure and Process, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1978.

32. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment.

33. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment; Trojanowicz, An
Evaluation of the Neighborhood Foot Patrol Program in Flint,

34. Tony Pate et al., Three Approaches to Criminal Apprehension
in Kansas City: An Evaluation Report, Washington, D.C., Police

Foundation, 1976; Eck, Solving Crimes: The Investigation of
Burglary and Robbery.

35. James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, “Police and
Neighborhood Safety: Broken Windows,” Atlantic Monthly,
March 1982: 29-38.

36. Tony Pate et al., Reducing Fear of Crime in Houston and
Newark: A Summary Report, Washington, D.C., Police
Foundation. 1986.

37. JeromeH. Skolnick and David H. Bayley, The New Blue Line:
Police Innovation in Six American Cities, New York, The Free
Press, 1986; Albert J. Reiss, Jr., Policing a City’s Central District:
The Oakland Story, Washington, D.C., National Institute of Justice,
March 1985.

38. Wilson and Kelling, “Police and Neighborhood Safety: Broken

39. Herman Goldstein, “Improving Policing: A Problem-Oriented
Approach,” Crime and Delinquency, April 1979,236-258.

40. Glenn Pierce et al., “Evaluation of an Experiment in Proactive
Police Intervention in the Field of Domestic Violence Using Repeat
Call Analysis,” Boston, Massachusetts, The Boston Fenway
Project, Inc., May 13, 1987.

41. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment; Trojanowicz,An
Evaluation of the Neighborhood Foot Patrol Program in Flint,

42. Pate et al., Reducing Fear of Crime in Houston and Newark:
A Summary Report.

43. James R. Gardner, Robert Rachlin, and H.W. Allen Sweeny,
eds., Handbook of Strategic Planning, New York, John Wiley and
Sons, 1986.

44. Kelling, “Juveniles and Police: The End of the Nightstick.”

45. Crompton and Lamb, Marketing Government and Social

46. The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment.

The Executive Session on Policing, like other Executive
Sessions at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government,
is designed to encourage a new form of dialog between
high-level practitioners and scholars, with a view to
redefining and proposing solutions for substantive policy
issues. Practitioners rather than academicians are given
majority representation in the group. The meetings of the
Session are conducted as loosely structured seminars or
policy debates.

Since it began in 1985, the Executive Session on Policing
has met seven times. During the 3-day meetings, the 3 1
members have energetically discussed the facts and values
that have guided, and those that should guide, policing.

NCJ 114213

The Executive Session on Policing
convenes the following distinguished panel of leaders in the field of policing:

Allen Andrews
Superintendent of Police
Peoria, Illinois

Camille Cates Barnett, Ph.D.
Director of Finance and Administration
Houston, Texas

Cornelius Behan, Chief
Baltimore County Police Department
Baltimore County, Maryland

Lawrence Binkley, Chief
Long Beach Police Department
Long Beach, California

Lee P. Brown, Chief
Houston Police Department
Houston, Texas

Susan R. Estrich, Professor
School of Law
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Daryl F. Gates, Chief
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles, California

Herman Goldstein, Professor
School of Law
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

Francis X. Hartmann, Executive Director
Program in Criminal Justice Policy

and Management
John F. Kenneay School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Peter Hunt, former Executive Director
Chicago Area Project
Chicago, Illinois

George L. Kelling, Professor
School of Criminal Justice
Northeastern University
Boston, Massachusetts, and
Research Fellow, Program in Criminal

Justice Policy and Management

John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Justice

Washington,D.C. 20531

Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

U. S . GPO: 1989-241-714180023

Robert R. Kiley, Chairman
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
New York, New York

Robert B. Kliesmet, President
International Union of Police Associations
Washington, D.C.

Richard C. Larson, Professor and

Operations Research Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

George Latimer, Mayor
St. Paul, Minnesota

Edwin Meese I11
Former Attorney General of the

United States
Washingtor;, D.C.

Mark H. Moore
Daniel and Florence Guggenheim

Professor of Criminal Justice Policy
and Management

John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Patrick Murphy, Professor of Police Science
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York, New York

Sir Kenneth Newman
Former Commissioner
Scotland Yard
London, England

Oliver B. Revel1
Executive Assistant Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Francis Roache, Commissioner
Boston Police Department
Boston, Massachusetts

Michael E. Smith, Director
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, New York

Darrel Stephens, Executive Director
Police Executive Research Forum
Washington, D.C.

James K. Stewart, Director
National Institute of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Robert Trojanowicz, Professor and Director
School of Criminal Justice
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Kevin Tucker, Commissioner
Philadelphia Police Department
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Ward, Commissioner
New York City Police Department
New York, New York

Robert Wasserman, Research Fellow
Program in Criminal Justice Policy

and Management
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Daniel Whitehurst, President & CEO
Whitehurst California
Former Mayor of Fresno
Fresno, California

Hubert Williams, President
Police Foundation
Washington, D.C.

James Q. Wilson, Collins Professor
of Management

Graduate School of Management
University of California
Los Angeles, California


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