Research is equally clear that police can be successful at crime management when they use the proactive tactics associated with community policing to reduce crime and make citizens feel safer. Among others, these tactics include managing disorder while patrolling in localized crime “hot spots”; paying attention to minor offenses that are often precursors to serious crimes; identifying and working with those at the highest risk of violence; helping citizens with problem-solving and crime-prevention exercises; patrolling on foot and bicycle; and partnering with mental-health and social-service counselors on co-response efforts. Many of these methods do not focus directly on serious offenses, though the reduction or prevention of criminal activity may be the ultimate goal. Some are implemented in response to community requests for police assistance in helping to maintain quality of life in neighborhoods; others are designed to address underlying causes of community problems that can lead to serious crime.
Research and practice demonstrate that community crime problems are specific to individual locations; there is no “one size fits all” technique that works all the time or everywhere. Proactive tactics work best when designed in partnership with the communities where they are implemented. These methods are entirely consistent with core community-policing principles, which emphasize police accountability to local neighborhoods and police-citizen collaboration.
Countering the narrative advanced by many defunding advocates, most people—of all races and ethnicities—want to see more police in their neighborhoods, not fewer.