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Police Patrols

Essay by   •  December 16, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  576 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,086 Views

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Since the 19th century, police organizations have placed police officers throughout communities for the purpose of patrolling (Fritsch, Liederbach and Taylor, 2008 p. 18). The presence of these officers was presumed to prevent crime and disorder and to reassure citizens of their safety (Fritsch, 2008). Patrol remains the backbone of police operations today. On a patrol an officer makes regular circuits or passes through a specific area called a beat. Patrolling can be conducted on foot or in a vehicle.

According to O.W. Wilson, patrol is an indispensable service, which plays a leading role in the accomplishment of police purpose (Fritsch, 2008 p. 18). The basic purpose of patrolling is to eliminate any opportunity of a crime to take place (Fritsch, 2008). Wilson's ideal of patrol was to give the perception that the police are present in all places at all times (Fritsch, 2008). Even though patrolling a it won't diminish a thief's desire to steal, but it will hamper their attempt to carry out the crime. According to Fritsch, Liederbach and Taylor, a revisionist philosophy concludes that police agencies can impact the level of crime and disorder in a community and they do make a difference (2008 p. 20).

To ensure patrolling is an effective crime fighting tool, police agencies use a variety of patrol deployment strategies that have been shown to be effective (Fritsch, 2008). Three of the strategies are: Offender-specific strategies, which focus on serious and repeat offenders, have been effective in specific deterrence (Fritsch, 2008 p. 20). Place-specific strategies, such as "hot-spot" patrols, have been effective in reducing calls for service and repeat victimization at a small number of addresses (Fritsch, 2008 p. 20). Finally, Offense-specific strategies, which focus on a certain offense or class of offense, have shown to be effective (Fritsch, 2008 p. 20). There are several other deployment strategies available for police agencies across our nation to include, Order Maintenance Policing, Crime Analysis and Patrol, POP, Foot Patrol and Hot Spots, just to name a few.

Another way to see if patrolling really has an effect on crime is to experiment using different strategies and tactics in a community. In 1972, a police agency in Kansas City, MO conducting a preventive patrol experiment, which lasted from October 1, 1972 through September 30, 1973 (Brown, Dieckman, Kelling and Pate, 1974). The experiment consisted of three beats with similar demographics. In one beat, everything was placed in a status quo mode, meaning the traditional method of answering calls for service and the number of patrols on the beat, remained the same (Aragon, 2004). In the second beat, the amounts of patrols were tripled and the calls for service remained the same. In the third beat, all patrols were removed except to respond to a call of service. Results of the experiment showed that the level of patrol

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