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San Diego

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Problem Oriented Policing

Problem Oriented Policing is the primary strategy of Community Oriented Policing. The community and police work together analyzing community problems and developing customized responses to them.

How are problems identified and addressed?

Problems are identified by the community as recurring incidents or matters of concern. Problems are addressed with a four step process known as the SARA Model.

  • Scanning: Problems are identified.
  • Analysis: Questions are asked to learn everything possible about the problem.
  • Response: Based on careful analysis, a custom-made response to the problem is tried.
  • Assessment: The response is evaluated to see if the problem was solved or reduced.

Examples of Problem Oriented Policing

  • The police, community and City Council worked to attack drug and gang problems in the Skyline and Meadowbrook community. Those efforts led to an organized community association, and a reduction in criminal activity.
  • A trolley station was the location of gang fights, violent crimes, and narcotic activity. A squad of officers collected information to show the local transit board that the design of the station contributed to crime. Based on the careful work of the officers, the board agreed to provide funds to redesign the station.
  • Calls of narcotic activity at an 80-unit apartment complex alerted officers to try a problem solving approach. Working with residents, the on-site manager, the management company, the Housing Commission, and other police units, the officers were able to evict problem residents and stop the drug dealing.