Jerry H. Ratcliffe
Many of modern policing’s accountability mechanisms and performance criteria remain rooted in a narrow mandate of combating violence and property crime. Police chiefs across the country are discovering however that a focus on crime and disorder is too limiting for policing in the 21st century. While crime has decreased significantly over the last 20 years, the workload of police departments continues unabated, with growing areas of concern such as behavioral health and harmful community conditions dominating the work of departments. There is also an increasing recognition that some traditional police tactics, such as stop-and-frisk and other approaches to enforcement, come with a price in terms of community support and police legitimacy. This Ideas in American Policing paper examines how a refocus towards community harm can help police departments integrate more of their actual workload into measures of harmful places and harmful offenders.
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