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This memo highlights the recommendations needed to address the increasing robberies in and near the Anytown Gallery Shopping Mall. The target-specific law enforcement strategies formulated in this memo draw on the philosophy of community-oriented policing (COP), which involves improving the connection between law enforcement officials and citizens, and working in partnership with the primary objective of enhancing public safety. The design of COP involves the establishment of an open relationship between the police force and the public, which in turn gives the law enforcement a proactive role in addressing specific crimes in the community (Hickman, 2008). The name of this COP program is “Anytown Community for its own safety”. The main objectives of the COP program include community empowerment; increasing belief in the police function; increasing the confidence of law enforcement on the public for authority, partnership and information; and development of specific tactics instead of using general tactics to address armed robberies in and near the shopping mall.
Social Forces That Exist Within the Assignment Scenario
The armed robberies in Anytown shopping mall are being committed by local transients, indicating that the main social forces in the scenario are poverty and economic deprivation. According to Weisburd & Eck (2004), there is a casual relationship between homelessness and criminal behavior. The survey reported that 30 percent of homeless persons engage in crime and antisocial behavior as a means of getting out of poverty and economic deprivation. There is the likelihood that economic deprivation in Anytown was caused by the increasing business entities getting out of the shopping center. As a result, the local transients view armed robberies as the solution out of poverty and economic deprivation (Weisburd & Eck, 2004).
The third social force in the scenario is residential segregation. This is because the community and the local authority have not adopted effective strategies to reduce the number of homeless people in the city, which in turn increases the number of armed of robberies in and near the Anytown shopping mall. Weisburd & Eck (2004) assert that residential segregation is a significant causation factor for crime. This particular scenario involves income segregation that is manifested in homelessness.
This COP program places emphasis on strengthening police partnerships with the Anytown community, which poses the need for organizational changes at the APD in terms of police interaction and communication with the community. In addition, the SPD requires sufficient allocation of financial and human resources towards the implementation of the Program. The focus of this COP program is problem solving. The APD will still maintain its response to other emergencies (Wilson & Petersilia, 2004). As part of the preparation plan, law enforcement officials should spend more time with the public to address the increasing rates of robbery in the shopping mall. The APD will also embark on an improved police-citizen communication to ensure that the police force use and distribute the crime information to the public. It is essential that police officers have knowledge of the problems facing the community; this is used to establish connections with other public and private agencies that can be of significant aid in addressing the problems facing the residents. According to Weisburd & Eck (2004), interagency cooperation is needed when addressing complex social issues; therefore, APD will embark on joint efforts with other law enforcement agencies and community-police efforts in order to guarantee public safety. The APD will establish a COP squad division, which will comprise of specialized law enforcement personnel who have knowledge of community policing.
Social or Special Interest Groups to Be Included in the COP Program
Wilson & Petersilia (2004) point out that COP programs are established basing on the philosophy that there is a casual relationship between crime and macro-social conditions like lack of education, economic and health deprivation, and oppression. This is because community-oriented policing holds the belief that macro social conditions have an effect on the social relations within the community. Therefore, numerous social interest groups can be incorporated in the COP program to help in solving social issues. The social interest groups that can be included in this program include public interest groups that focus on resolving social issues such as public housing and economic disparities. Public interest groups are important in the program because they will influence the government policy in addressing the macro social conditions resulting in the increase in crime, which in this case involves homelessness and economic disparities. It is vital to note that the public interest group included in the program should offer feasible solutions to the social issue (Wilson & Petersilia, 2004). For instance, economic disparities can be eliminated by aiding the community in seeking employment while homelessness can be eliminated by offering housing solutions to the affected members of the community. Public interest groups have an effect on the final course of the program since they advocate for government policies to solve social issues. This is because the APD may lack the capability offer solutions to the root social causes of crime such as economic disparities and housing. Therefore, the interest groups serve to fill the gap left between APD and root social forces (Wilson & Petersilia, 2004).
Designing the COP program requires extensive data collection and research in order to modify the program to address the needs posed by the complex social issue. Designing the program requires the collection of demographic data for the city involving variables such as levels of income and economic disparity, race, age, gender, social class, levels of residential segregation, employment rates and number of homeless people. These are helpful in explaining the causes of homeless in the city, which can be used as a framework for establishing feasible solutions to the macro social conditions resulting in the crime (Weisburd & Eck, 2004).
Data regarding the prevalence of crime is to be gathered prior to the design of the COP program. This involves an analysis of the trends and types of crimes committed in the area and the efficiency of the law enforcement agencies and community in preventing the occurrence of such crimes.
It is also vital to evaluate the public opinions towards the APD, which will be used for determining loopholes and strengths of using community oriented policing in Anytown city. Public opinions ensure that the program is designed to address the needs of community members, which is central in guaranteeing success of the program.
Organizational Review: The Impact of the Program on the Daily Operations of APD
In order to minimize the impacts of the program on the daily operation of APD, the program will make use of a separate COP unit. The notable impact of the program is that it will result in the decentralization of police services due to the increase in outreach efforts within the community and customization of policing services to meet the needs of the community. Beat integrity will be a central theme during the implementation of the program; this is based in the predisposition that it is essential for a police officer to have knowledge of the community prior to administering police service. COP unit officers must define and claim ownership of the designated area. The residents must also lay claim to the police officers working in their beats. Another impact associated with the implementation of the COP program is departmental training. The selected COP unit members will undergo continuous training on COP.
The Effect of the Program on the Organizational Culture of the Department
The implementation of this COP program will have significant effects on the organizational culture at APD by establishing a belief that policing embraces joint efforts between the police and the community to reduce the rates of crime. The implementation of the program will result in the extension of police boundaries to include community participation and input, and sharing the commitment towards the decentralization of policing structure. In addition, implementing the COP program will result in the APD perceiving the local government and attention of the media as prospective resources for increasing the effectiveness of policing. As a result, APD will embark on strengthening its relationships with these organizations. In sum, adopting the program will result in viewing COP as the most effective policing model, increase collaboration, extend policing boundaries. In addition, it will result in organizational change from hierarchy to decentralization, and viewing the political system as a resource for improving policing efforts. This will result in the creation of an organizational culture that places emphasis on community collaboration, establishing ties with the city agencies, collaborative empowerment and beat integrity (Hickman, 2008).
The implementation of the program will pose the need for organizational transformation within APD so that the basic values will serve as guidelines for delivery of police services. Organizational transformation will entail the incorporation of community policing philosophy in all organizational elements at APD. COP unit officers will be given greater freedom in matters relating to community problems because they are most familiar with the local community. As a result, they are placed to establish positive relations with the community and come up with long-term solutions.
The community plays a vital role in guaranteeing the success of COP programs, the community is represented using various groups including advocacy groups and appointed representatives. The greatest role in the community is undertaken by community organizations associated with neighborhoods. This is because they serve to represent the largest number of residents in the designated area affected by increasing cases of armed robberies.
The community members will play a role in sharing information associated with crime in the area. Since the social conditions have a direct effect on the relationship between the offenders and the community members, the program will aim at reconciling the differences in social conditions that cause crime. For instance, the community will be requested to adopt initiatives to reduce homelessness, which is a significant social factor contributing towards high crime rates in the mall. Housing projects can be initiated at the community level to reduce the number of homeless individuals in the city.
The business community at the mall must collaborate with the APD in order to ensure that security is reinforced in the mall. Additionally, the business community will liaise with APD to obtain information relating to methods that can be used to enhance security in the mall. This requires that businesses resume in the mall to offer employment opportunities to eliminate economic disparities in the city, which will ultimately reduce crime rates.
Extending the Program to Members of a Multicultural Community
The program will aim at identifying multicultural social issues contributing to the increase in crime. For instance, there is the probability that racial and ethnic oppression are some of the social factors contributing to high rates of armed robberies. This implies that the program will reach the members of a multicultural community using religious organizations and cultural institutions in the city. As a result, the COP program will solicit for help from cultural and religious institutions. They will play a key role in issuing guidance to the offenders after root social causes have been addressed.
Media Relations With Regard To the Program
The program aims at establishing positive ties with media agencies since they are central in guaranteeing success of the law enforcement strategy. The strategy will exploit the informative and persuasive nature of the media to influence positive outcomes in the community. Community oriented policing should place emphasis on using the media to inform and build relations with the community (Wilson & Petersilia, 2004). The activities of the media will play an integral role in determining the success of the program. The media will be used to sensitize the community regarding their roles in alleviating increasing cases of armed robberies in and near the Anytown gallery shopping mall.
The COP program will be implemented immediately after APD receives funding from the state and local government. The program will involve training of police officers to be designated in the COP unit. The implementation will pose the need to make changes in internal policies and practices in order to strengthen community-police relations. This will involve the establishment of the following:
- COP Steering Committee comprising of citizens, APD COP unit members and civic leaders. The committee will be established for purposes of facilitating distribution of community policing funds.
- Citizen Police Academy will be used to offer citizens with information regarding the functions of APD and to create positive ties between APD and community public.
Monitoring and evaluation is needed to track the success of the COP program (Weisburd & Eck, 2004). Preliminary evaluation will mainly involve an assessment of community response towards the implemented law enforcement strategy. High community response and immediate reduction in crime rates will indicate the program has succeeded in implementation. Feedback relating to preliminary feedback will be obtained from community members, COP unit members and statistics indicating crime prevalence.
Continued effectiveness of the program will be assessed using long-term reduction and elimination of armed robbery cases in the shopping mall. Elimination of macro social conditions resulting in the crime will also serve as an indicator of long-term effectiveness (Giacomazzi & Brody, 2004).
In times of economic decline, poverty-stricken populations in the COP program will be addressed using economic incentives such as government grants. This will serve to ensure that income disparities do not motivate their involvement in crime. The challenge associated with a poverty-stricken population is that it requires the incorporation of huge funds in the program. In addition, poverty-stricken populations can jeopardize the success of the program when the strategy does not meet their needs. Crime is usually associated with poverty; there is no guarantee that the program will meet the entire needs of this population. This has the potential of jeopardizing the effectiveness and success of the program.
Considering the possibility of a terrorist attack, the fear instilled in the public will be addressed by assuring the public of their safety, this helps in eliminating cases associated with panic. If the terrorist attack is inevitable, the public must be assured of effective disaster mitigation and prevention strategies to reinforce their safety.