Advocate: The promise of community policing

Wesley G. Skogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

101 Scopus citations


Community policing is very popular. So popular is the concept with politicians, city managers, and the general public, that few police chiefs want to be caught without some program they can call community policing. In a 1997 survey of police departments conducted by the Police Foundation, 85 percent reported they had adopted community policing or were in the process of doing so (Skogan 2004). The biggest reason for not doing so was that community policing was “impractical” for their community, and my own tabulations of the data found these replies were mostly from small departments with only a few officers. Bigger cities included in the survey (those with populations greater than 100,000) all claimed in the 1997 survey to have adopted community policing – half by 1991 and the other half between 1992 and 1997. By 2000, a federal survey with a much larger sample found that more than 90 percent of departments in cities over 250,000 in population reported having full-time, trained community policing officers in the field (Bureau of Justice Statistics 2003). What do cities that claim they are “doing community policing” actually do? They describe a long list of projects. Under the rubric of community policing, officers patrol on foot (in the 1997 survey, 75 percent listed this), or perhaps on horses, bicycles, or segways. Departments variously train civilians in citizen police academies, open small neighborhood storefront offices, conduct surveys to measure community satisfaction, canvass door-to-door to identify local problems, publish newsletters, conduct drug education projects, and work with municipal agencies to enforce health and safety regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPolice Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationContrasting Perspectives
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780511489334
ISBN (Print)052183628x, 9780521836289
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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