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Defining the "Community" in Community Policing

NCJ Number
Daniel W. Flynn
Date Published
July 1998
29 pages
This booklet analyzes aspects of communities in the context of community policing.
The booklet presents an overview of the typical or traditional concept of community and explains how variations of that concept can expand the horizons of community policing. The police definition of what constitutes a community must conform to parameters within which each police department must function. These parameters include jurisdictional boundaries, division of labor within the department, service demand and reporting requirements. As a result, over time, the police have solidified a paradigm of community that generally is limited to residential and business/residential neighborhoods. Shifting that paradigm to a more generic paradigm of community allows the police to develop new applications of the community policing strategy in non-traditional communities, those with shared geography, character or identity and common concerns or problems. By recognizing that non-traditional communities need not be primarily residential or permanent, police departments can derive the full benefits of the community policing strategy in the community structures that make sense for each jurisdiction. Figures, references