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Meeting the Needs of Racine Citizens: Evaluation of a Community Policing Program

NCJ Number
Helen Rosenberg; John H. Ernst; Scott Lewis
Date Published
29 pages
This project evaluated community policing in Racine, Wis., by examining multiple perspectives on community policing, using a multi-method approach.
The study used a three-time-point panel survey of citizen attitudes toward community policing in three community-policed neighborhoods in Racine. It also compared citizen attitudes toward community policing between residents in community-policed neighborhoods and residents in a control neighborhood, using the survey design. A two-time-point survey of police attitudes toward community policing was conducted as well. In addition, the study involved a qualitative analysis of focus group discussions with community leaders, an analysis of crime statistics over the study period, and an analysis of health and building department statistics regarding calls for service in the context of a new "sweeps" program in partnership with the Racine Police Department. Findings show that from the perspective of community leaders, there has been improvement in conditions in the city that has promoted cooperative programs by businesses, schools, community organizations, and the police. Today, citizens feel safer in their neighborhoods than before the advent of community policing. Police attitudes toward community policing are neutral at best. Although police behaviors are changing so that citizens see more police officers at community meetings than before community policing was instituted, for the most part police continue to patrol neighborhoods in squad cars. Further, most citizens who have encounters with police report dissatisfaction with the experience. It is both disturbing and informative that citizen attendance at community meetings is higher in the control group area than in the community policing neighborhoods. 10 tables and 10 references