Community Policing Overview
The San Antonio Police Department has embraced Community Policing for many decades, through its Community Services and School Services Programs, Crime Prevention Programs (Neighborhood Watch, National Night Out), Store Fronts, Decentralized Patrol Substations, and the Downtown Foot and Bicycle Patrol Unit. In 1995 the Department created a special Community Policing Unit, the San Antonio Fear Free Environment Unit (SAFFE) which links closely with community involvement programs, such as Cellular on Patrol (initiated in 1993) and the Citizen Police Academy (initiated 1994).
What Is Community Policing?
Community Policing is a collaborative effort between a police department and community that identifies problems of crime and disorder and involves all elements of the community in the search for solutions to these problems. It is founded on close, mutually beneficial ties between police and community members. At the center of community policing are three essential and complementary core components:
- Partnerships between the police and the community.
- Problem Solving as a method to identify and solve problems of concern to the community
- Change Management within the police organization to accommodate increased community involvement.
What Is P.O.P.?
P.O.P., or Problem-Oriented Policing
is the tactic used to produce long-term solutions to
problems of crime or decay in communities. Police, residents,
and other agencies or organizations work together to identify
and find the causes for neighborhood crime problems, then
develop responses to the problems based on the problems'
causes. Responses are NOT cookie-cutter, one-response-fits-all.
Responses are not 100% police responses. In most cases, the
responses developed through P.O.P. are joint police-community
actions, which also involve participation by agencies such
as parks, code enforcement, youth services, solid waste, and
P.O.P. in San Antonio and in most police departments
throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. uses
the S.A.R.A. (or SARAM) method for problem solving:
- S = Scanning : Identify and describe the PROBLEM.
- A = Analyze : How much of a problem is it? When is it a
problem? Who is affected? What are the problem's causes?
- R = Response : Based on the two steps above, devise an
appropriate response to the problem. There may be several
responses. Responses may be done over a long period of time.
- A = Assess : Evaluate the results of the responses. If
the results are not satisfactory, re-analyze the problem,
or try another response.
- M = Maintenance: Problem solving is only successful if
it produces a long-term solution. A POP response may have
short-term positive results, but can these results be maintained
over a longer term (6-month? 1-2 years?) without constant
intervention by police, residents and/or other agencies?
In other words, "Has the Problem been Solved?"
P.O.P. is being used by police and residents
to produce long-term solutions to
persistent crime problems in communities throughout San
Antonio, resulting in reductions not only in crime rates,
but also in the fear of crime.