NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Community Policing

March 7, 2011

During the 1990s, New York City achieved stunning drops in crime from the "broken windows" community policing strategy adopted by Police Commissioner William Bratton.  In two years, murder declined by 39 percent, robberies by about 33 percent and burglaries by 25 percent.  New York's approach completed the evolution of community policing from a reactive model into a proactive one, focusing on aggressive, effective crime-reduction that maintains order and holds police officers accountable.  Aspects of this approach have been successfully adopted by a number of cities, according to a new Goldwater Institute report by George L. Kelling and Catherine M. Coles. 

The report takes the broken windows approach to the next level by showing how to institute high-performance policing.  It consolidates the best practices adopted by the nation's most innovative police departments and provides a framework for policing that is consistent with community values and priorities; makes a commitment to the ultimate objective of keeping people safe; and produces more measurable outcomes.

  • The authors recommend private sector concepts of benchmarks to track the use of best practices and to report quantifiable outcomes for comparison against other departments.
  • They also recommend the balanced scorecard, which counts outcomes such as reducing crime and victimization and also assesses police relationships with community members, partners and other groups.

Source: George L. Kelling and Catherine M. Coles, "Keeping Americans Safe: Best Practices to Improve Community Policing and to Protect the Public," Goldwater Institute, February 16, 2011.


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