Traditional policing usually consists of officers answering calls for service. Traditional methods of policing rely heavily on deterrence through a visible presence of the police on patrol. However, many social changes have occurred over the decades and traditional policing methods may not be as effective in addressing the needs of the communities. Communities have become more diverse and the problems have changed as drugs and violent crimes have become more common in urban communities. Additionally, the budget deficits of the early 1990s prompted law enforcement administrators to seek out more creative solutions for providing law enforcement services to the community.
Community policing differs from traditional policing in how the community is perceived and in its expanded policing goals. While crime control and prevention remain central priorities, community policing strategies use a wide variety of methods to address these goals. The police and the community become partners in addressing problems of disorder and neglect (e.g.,
gang activity, abandoned cars, and broken windows) that, although perhaps not criminal, can eventually lead to serious crime. As links between the police and the community are strengthened over time, the ensuing partnership will be better able to pinpoint and mitigate the underlying causes of crime.
Community policing is certainly not the traditional sort, and the two can have trouble existing in the same police department, or the same city, or among people with different ideologies. Put simply, community policing as a theory is an alternative form of policing. It is proactive instead of reactive, progressive instead of regressive, compassionate instead of angry. And it can be hard to sell to hard-line conservatives who support a "lock-em-up-and-toss-the-key" approach to law enforcement.
Traditional policing tends to appeal to conservatives who believe that a police force should solve crimes on their own, using tough strategies to deter...