Crime has declined in the United States over the past 25 years; however, the decrease in victimization has not been equal across all communities. As a result, many law enforcement agencies have concentrated their efforts in high-risk areas, and this concentration of policing can lead to resentment among members of the community, especially if they feel the officers are disrespectful, use excessive force, or disregard their civil rights. These residents are in double jeopardy – experiencing the negative consequences of living in dangerous communities and enduring the direct and indirect costs of aggressive policing. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss community policing as a potential means to increase police legitimacy, strengthen community resilience, and promote prosocial interactions between officers and residents. Community policing is a philosophy that advances organizational approaches designed to leverage citizen engagement and problem solving as proactive strategies to deal with public safety issues, including crime, disorder, and fear of crime. Because community policing is grounded in trust, cooperation, and problem solving, it has the potential to improve residents’ quality of life by developing and strengthening mechanisms of social control and support. Community policing can increase police legitimacy by providing opportunities for community members to examine the actions and policies of the police, assess the alignment of these state-sanctioned activities with residents’ values and needs, and bring the two into agreement. In this chapter the basic principles of community policing will be discussed within the context of how these concepts are related to the exercise of social control and residents’ perceptions of police legitimacy.
Schuck, A.M. (2019), "Community Policing, Coproduction, and Social Control: Restoring Police Legitimacy", Rabe-Hemp, C.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 63-77. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720190000031007
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Copyright © 2019, by Amie M. Schuck