MEASURING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF COMMUNITY POLICING
Mora L. Hadden Fiedler
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1979
3.S., University of Colorado at Boulder, 1979
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
1999 by Mora L. Hadden Fiedler
All rights reserved.
This thesis for the Master of Arts
Mora L. Hadden Fiedler
has been approved
Fiedler, Mora L. Hadden (M. A, Sociology)
Measuring the Sustainability of Community Policing
Thesis directed by Professor Richard Anderson
The Colorado Springs, Colorado Police Department conducted a successful
community policing effort in 1996 to eliminate gangs and drug activity in a residential
area called Deerfield Hills. Since that effort, there has been a significant reduction in
calls for service, even though crime and disorder issues continue to surface in the
neighborhood. This study explores the residents living in this area and their
perceptions of police, crime, and safety in their neighborhood.
A door-to-door survey was distributed in a section of the Deerfield Hills subdivision
where the initial community policing effort took place. This area contains 174
residences, of which 43% participated in the study. Results found residents worked
with police to resolve problems; they believed they could prevent crime before it
begins; and, they took responsibility for the safety of their neighborhood. Although
residents did not have close friendships with people in their neighborhood, they
Residents who support community-policing activities also believe police are doing a
good job. They want additional officers on the street and more crime prevention
officers. Residents believe in partnering with police to address crime issues in their
neighborhood and believe police alone can never solve crime problems. These results
suggest that residents, who understand and take responsibility for their role in crime
and safety in their neighborhood, understand the diverse roles of police officers and
want more officers for both directed activity and community policing.
The success of this effort lies within the ongoing police and citizen partnership to
address crime and disorder issues, and the residents believing they can control crime
in their neighborhood. This study dispels the belief that community-policing success
is measured by the elimination of crime. It demonstrates that continued police and
community interaction are important factors in maintaining past accomplishments and
in addressing emerging problems. The results show that over time, a continued
partnership that strives for the elimination of crime and disorder in the neighborhood
also supports residents ownership in resolving community problems, their perceptions
of safety, and their satisfaction with police performance.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
I would like to thank Lome C. Kramer, Chief of Police, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Police Department (CSPD) for allowing me to conduct this study on community
policing and for his leadership in the police profession. It is an honor and privilege to
work with the personnel at CSPD. I would like to thank Deputy Chief Pat McEIderry,
Deputy Chief Luis Velez, Commander Joe Vernier, Sgt. John Taylor (NPU), Sgt.
Rafael Cintron, NPU Officers Maggie Santos, Dave Husted, Steve Tomberlin, Mike
Singels, Kent Wyatt, and Wyatt McBride, and Crime Analysts Sue Duffy, Cecilia
Buckman, and Bill Edmonds for their assistance in this study. Thank you to Lt. Dave
Moore and the Explorer Scouts for their assistance in the survey.
A special thank you to Mr. Thomas Paine, Planning Manager, and Edward Spivey,
Ph.D., Supervisor of Research and Development, who have provided invaluable
insights into community policing, organizational change, and strategic planning. I
would also like to thank Lt. Daniel Marques, Aurora, Colorado Police Department for
teaching me the application of the S.A.R.A. model and for his mentoring in the art of
community policing and working with community groups.
Last, but not least, my thanks to Dr. Richard Anderson, Dr. Karl Flaming, and Dr.
Leigh Ingram, University of Colorado at Denver, Department of Sociology, for their
guidance in completing my Masters Degree.
1. INTRODUCTION 1
Adopting Community Policing in an Organization................. 4
Identifying a Common Definition and
Method of Implementing Community Policing..................... 14
Measuring Organizational and Community
Policing Effectiveness........................................ 19
2. DEERFIELD HILLS PROBLEM ORIENTED POLICING PROJECT... 28
3. THE COMMUNITY................................................... 40
4. METHODS AND FINDINGS............................................ 49
I. Introduction.............................................. 49
II. Selection of Subjects.................................... 45
HI. Questionnaire............................................ 51
IV. Description of Sample.................................... 53
V. Results.................................................. 55
Neighborhood Boundaries and Social Strength............... 55
Perception of Problems.................................... 58
Views of Neighborhood Safety.............................. 61
Community Ownership in Problem Solving Activities......... 63
Perceptions of Police........................... 68
Perspectives of the 1996 POP Project............ 71
5. DISCUSSION AND
A. COLORADO SPRINGS CITIZENS SURVEY.................. 81
B. TABLES OF CROSSTABS............................... 91
This is an exciting time in the history of police work, organizational change, and
research application. Progressive and innovative police executives in the United
States are shaping and redefining a job that once was considered a blue collar job
into a professional status that relies on enhanced delivery of police services and
technology for standard police operations. The evolutionary process of community
policing has transformed through three distinct periods in police history marking
philosophical and application changes. Policing had been built upon police
accomplishments in the traditional political era (1840s to 1930s), the reform era of
policing (1930s to early 1980s), to the current community era (1982 to present)
(Pelfrey, 1998; Miller and Hess, 1994; Kelling and Moore, 1991;).
According to Kelling and Moore (1991) and also reported by Miller and Hess (1994),
the political era emphasized broad social services; decentralization of authority; close
relationships with the community; and, foot patrol tactics. The outcome sought was
citizen and political satisfaction. The reform era emphasized crime control;
centralization of authority; professional, but remote relationships with the public;
preventive patrol and rapid response to calls. This era sought outcomes that focused l
on crime control. In the community era, broad provisions of services are emphasized.
This includes: (1) decentralized authority, team policing, and task forces; (2)
intimate relationships with the community; foot patrol, problem-solving, and public
relations approaches; and, (3) police service outcomes of improved quality of life and
citizen satisfaction (Pelfrey, 1998; Miller and Hess, 1994; Kelling and Moore, 1991;
Goldstein, 1990; Wilson, 1958).
Many law enforcement agencies are transitioning their organizations, although some
faster than others, from crime control and reform policing to a comprehensive,
community and problem oriented policing approach. It is estimated that out of a total
of 20,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, 10,000 are claiming some type of
community policing program.1 If community policing is a better method of
conducting police services, then why are there only 50% of the departments in the
nation implementing this approach? Why is it so difficult to move from the traditional
model to the problem oriented policing model?
As community policing becomes more indoctrinated into law enforcement agencies,
certain organizational changes are occurring to accommodate new policing strategies
and departments are creating mechanisms for citizen input, such as citizen satisfaction 1
1 Tills figure is from an interview with Dr. Craig Uchida, 21 Century Solutions, Inc. formerly Director
of Grants, COPS Office. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
surveys and citizen advisory groups. Community policing principles allow officers
and community members to work together to identify and address problems in their
community and to address crime issues, fear of crime and disorder, and nuisance
problems in the neighborhood (Friedman, 1992). Philosophically it encourages
citizen input; broad policing functions (defined as resolving conflict, helping victims,
preventing the occurrence of accidents, solving problems, and reducing fear); and, to
provide personal services that are customized to community members problems
(Cordner, 1998). The principles of community policing include building positive
interactions with citizens, creating partnerships, and conducting problem-solving
activities (Cordner, 1998).
Organizational changes have also occurred to support this effort, which includes
decentralizing authority; enhancing officer accountability and authority; flattening of
the hierarchy; operating in teams; relying on information systems; conducting
strategic planning; and, adopting community policing as an organizational philosophy
versus an isolated program (Cordner, 1994; Friedman, 1992; Trojanowicz and
Bucqueroux, 1992). This proactive policing should eliminate or significantly reduce
calls for service in the future because officers have identified and solved the problem
before it proliferates into a more serious situation.
Community policing is the most pervasive topic of debate in the policing arena.
Many questions surround its application, especially pertaining to its effectiveness and
how it should be implemented into police operations. There are three obstacles that
keep community policing from being accepted as a standard practice in law
(1) adopting the community policing philosophy and inculcating it
into an organization is a time consuming and sometimes difficult
process, especially for police departments steeped in traditional
policing and where it does not hold a priority in the political
arena of local government;
(2) identifying a common definition and a method of
implementation for community and problem-oriented policing,
and community oriented policing, and
(3) measuring organizational effectiveness, demonstrating reduction
of crime through community policing efforts, and
communicating these results to the public are a challenging, time
intensive, and costly endeavor.
A discussion of each of these three factors are described below and will frame the
purpose of this case study on a community-policing project conducted by the
Colorado Springs, Colorado Police Department.
Adopting Community-Policing in an Organization
Adopting a community-policing model within an organization requires many
transformations, such as changes in: (1) the organizational infrastructure and cultural
philosophy; (2) the methods of recruiting, training, and evaluating officers; and, (3)
the resources and time dedicated to allow an officer to engage in problem-solving
Policing has come full circle from the political era and the days of Sir Robert Peel,
founder of the Metropolitan Police in Great Britain. Peel established police ethics
known as the Peelian Principles in 1829. These principles as reported by Miller and
Hess (1994) embrace many community policing concepts such as emphasizing the
interdependency of the police and the public and the prevention of crime and disorder.
These axioms that formed community policing began slowly changing and, in the
1950s, the concept that officers should detach themselves from the community
became the norm. Police service meant responding quickly to calls and maintaining a
physical presence. Beginning in the 1980s, a split between philosophical
perspectives occurred between officers dedicated to the reform model and others
dedicated to the community-policing model. This dichotomy has left some officers
viewing community policing and traditional enforcement as an either/or proposition,
and it is difficult for some to understand how the two philosophies can be integrated
into standard operating procedures.
As reform policing evolved through the work of such leaders as O.W. Wilson (1958),
emphasis was placed on officer and organization performance. Standard operating
procedures and organizational transformation that created order and accountability
occurred through bean counting reporting systems, personnel performance
evaluation, rapid response to calls for service, officer conduct, protection for all
citizens, and racial equality in the department.
Transforming an organizational infrastructure and philosophy based on fifty years of
traditional reform policing is no easy task. The perspective that police should
have limited interaction with the public and remain detached from the community to
ensure objectivity is why some researchers and academicians believe traditional
policing is synonymous with depersonalized policing (Trojanowicz and Moore, 1991;
Trojanowiz and Banas, 1985). Still others, such as Dr. Herman Goldstein (1990) from
his book Problem-Orietned Policing, have attributed it to the fact that:
...They [police] adopted operating procedures that had the effect of
divorcing them from the communities they policed. The professional
commitment to enforcing the law without fear or favor, malice or ill
will was accompanied by a commitment to keep personal feelings
from influencing decisions. These commitments, which extended to all
functions of the police not simply those incidents in which law
enforcement was involved resulted in all citizens being seen as
having the same needs, wherever they lived, with little allowance for
different life-styles and cultural backgrounds; and all police officers
were likewise seen as having uniform technical skills that could be
applied to whatever problems arose. (P. 22)
Technology and its applications in policing have left some officers relying only on
this information and less on daily interactions with citizens in the community.
Traditional officers on the street are poised for the big call and major crime is the
primary target, with little or no interest in proactive policing. For many other officers,
there is a desire for problem solving activities with the community, but there is little
time because they are understaffed and going from call to call.
In the midst of the debate whether citizens should have a voice as a partner with the
police, one important element should be not overlooked. Citizens will judge police
performance and satisfaction based upon the problems that are occurring in their
neighborhood and how responsive officers are to their needs. In addition, officers will
be judged on their interpersonal skills and their behaviors toward others, such as
courtesy and respect (Primeau et al., 1975 as reported by Friedman, 1992). Changing
the mindset of traditional officers immersed in that paradigm, can be a challenging,
time consuming, and arduous task, especially for those who are resistant to change.
To support the changes in enhanced performance expectations of officers, the
organizational infrastructure is adapting and reorganizing its operations. These
(1) designing operating procedures that incorporate community policing
(2) creating a participating management approach;
(3) decentralizing of authority;
(4) pushing decision-making to the line level;
(5) not penalizing officers for good-faith efforts;
(6) assigning geographic or sector areas of responsibility; and,
(7) scheduling officer time for proactive discretionary policing (Cordner,
1998; Carter, 1996; Goldstein, 1993; Mastrofski and Uchida, 1993).
In addition to organizational changes to support community policing, the criteria for
recruiting and hiring are changing. Traditional recruiting practices once focused on a
persons physical size and placed less emphasis on educational experience. This point
is taken by Richard Blum (1964), in his book Police Selection, which actually
discourages hiring highly intelligent people. He claims that an educated person will
either get bored and quit, become troublemakers in the organization, or become low-
morale grumblers. He states,
Another problem which is encountered when high educational
achievement is required is that of overtraining for police work.
The college graduate, usually with high aspirations for a career
must begin police work at the bottom...The monotonous and
routine nature of most lower level police assignments may not
be suited to the highly intelligent recruit... Industrial studies
have shown that bright people do poorly on monotonous jobs...
This is an example of how the reform era shaped officer recruitment. Many citizens,
unfortunately, hold this perception today and do not understand the complexity of
policing and the high level of analytical skills and sophisticated police expertise
needed for problem-solving activities. Due to the greater demands of community
policing, higher education has become extremely important, and an officers ability to
think, reason, and persuade people is critical to community and problem-oriented
policing (Friedman, 1992).
What once was considered a non-sophisticated job has become extremely
sophisticated. The greater challenge for law enforcement today is not keeping the
highly intelligent stimulated and challenged, but rather paying officers at a higher
rate to compensate them for these skills. The other challenge is helping citizens
understand this new policing approach and technology utilized for police services.
They need to understand that police work is more than sitting in a cruiser. Many
police departments across the nation now have a policy that requires an associates or a
bachelors degree for entry level employment.
Once officers are hired, the content and form of training programs also changes for
community policing, as explained by Herman Goldstein (1990) in Problem-Oriented
Policing, he states the training needs are:
(1) to convey a clear understanding of the overall concept of
problem-oriented policing as a way of thinking about the
(2) to equip officers to identify and analyze problems and to
develop effective responses to them; and
(3) to convey knowledge to officers about the most common
substantive problems that they are expected to handle and to
alert them to the issues involved. (P. 167)
Training on community policing occurs not only for the new recruits, but also for all
officers in the department. Often times it is met with resistance from the
traditionalists who see community policing as soft and believe it is unrealistic to
expect an officer who deals with criminals in society or working swing and midnight
shifts to interact with a community who is asleep. Other officers think that
community oriented policing is a new name for the type of policing they have been
doing for years. Regardless of the different perspectives, community policing can and
should occur twenty-four hours a day.
It is an easier bridge to build for those officers who understand the value of interacting
with citizens and include community-policing strategies in their daily routine.
Community policing requires an officer motivated to interact with citizens and who
understands how to engage and mobilize the community (Miller and Hess, 1994). It
also requires todays officers to be diverse in their skills, broad-based in their
knowledge, and adaptive to constant changes, both organizationally and in the
community they serve.
Officers duties will traverse a spectrum of skills, knowledge, and expertise.
Community policing skills require officers to have knowledge and expertise in
computer science and have an understanding of research and data analysis. They must
have an understanding of social and psychological factors that contribute to criminal
behavior, and officers should demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that
build rapport with the public. Officers are expected to identify crime patterns and
address those patterns through education, prevention, intervention, interdiction, and
suppression efforts with the community.
In addition, an officers daily routine includes administrative duties, such as writing
reports; attending court hearings; and participating in police training courses.
Participating in administrative teams to address department issues (which are
occurring in the more progressive police departments); keeping up with changing laws
and policies; and, training on the latest technology are also expectations of the job.
They must also respond to calls for service and within a moments notice be prepared
to be placed in a dangerous situation, and perhaps even make a life or death decision
in only a split second of time.
Given the multitude of duties in an officers workday, it is no wonder that some
departments have issues with changing from the traditional to the community-policing
paradigm. How these changes get made within an organization is difficult and takes
significant police planning. It also takes a local government that values police
working with the community and provides them with the necessary resources to
support community-policing strategies.
Resource allocation also differs for organizations adopting a community policing
philosophy. Resources can be defined in two ways, technology and personnel. All
law enforcement agencies are struggling to keep pace with the changing world of
technology, it requires financial commitment that is difficult to balance between tight
budgets and other needs in the department. Community policing relies heavily on
databases and technology to analyze crime data, to identify crime patterns and trends,
and to demonstrate effectiveness. Officers must have the available technology in
order to access this information and officers must not be resistant to computer usage.
Police departments must have case management systems for entering and accessing
data that provides real time information. Access to technology and data is imperative
to an officers success in problem solving activities.
Deployment of officers and officer staff levels are also resource allocation issues.
Community and problem oriented policing while effective, places a greater time
demand on our officers. It takes time and commitment to harness a diverse cadre of
sworn officers and citizens to work in partnership on crime problems. Research has
demonstrated the effectiveness of community policing yet when confronted with the
realities of policing, patrol officers only have time to go from call to call. There is 2
2 See Community Policing: Contemporary Readings (1998), edited by Geoffrey P. Alpert and Alex
Piquero; and Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality, edited by Jack R. Greene and Stephen D.
Mastrofski, for studies demonstrating the effectiveness of community policing.
very little time for proactive policing in the normal workday schedule and, while not
ideal, some departments have chosen to have a specialized unit that is dedicated to
community policing work. Some organizations build time into the officers shift, but
the harsh reality is that unless a department has enough officers to cover the daily
demand of responding to calls, management cannot free up enough time for proactive
policing. Citizens want more proactive policing services, but they do not understand
it takes resources over and above the daily demands of calls for service to get it
accomplished or perhaps eliminating other police activity for this personalized
It takes time for an officer to engage in community policing services. Darrel Stephens
(1996) identifies two factors that distinguish community policing and traditional
policing. The first factor is that community policing dedicates time to solving
problems of public concern as well as building time into their work schedules for this
practice versus traditional policing which only responds to calls for service. The
second factor is that citizens are asked to identify problems and possible solutions
compared to traditional policing in which the citizens are included in crime issues
only to the extent of being the eyes and ears of the police.
Time factors become a greater issue for community policing especially as crime
becomes more pervasive and as the complex social factors that contribute to it
continue to be uncovered. Citizens are placing greater demands and expectations on
law enforcement to solve their problems, even when it is not necessarily within law
enforcements mission and duty as defined by the reform generation. By virtue of the
varying citizen concern and problems with crime or the fear of crime, they are asking
implicitly and explicitly for officers to be diverse in their role that goes beyond the
traditional reactive policing mode.
Identifying a Common Definition and Method of
Implementing Community Policing
The challenge of adopting common definitions for community and problem oriented
policing, community oriented policing, and problem oriented policing have been the
subject of debate over the past years, all of which is hinged and enmeshed in how an
organization incorporates and implements this into their police organization. How
community policing is implemented in a department and finding a common definition
for community policing, problem oriented policing, and community oriented policing
are the current areas of debate among police executives and researchers.
Community and problem oriented policing is being implemented at different levels of
emphasis and it is difficult to find consensus on the most effective way of
implementing it into a department is the subject of debate. There are some
departments who do not implement it at all because they believe that interdiction is
the sole mission of the police. They view community oriented policing as going
beyond a police officers role and enter into the realm of social worker. However,
there are others who believe that community policing is an organizational philosophy
and although reactive policing will always be a part of the job, conducting policing in
partnership with the community is equally important (Stephens, 1996).
Finding a common definition for community policing, problem oriented policing, and
community oriented policing is another example of the diverse schools of thought. If
there is no consensus on the definitions, even within the same department, how can
measures be developed to demonstrate effectiveness? Many times proactive policing
eliminates the need for reactive policing or the problem is gone before the calls for
service have even begun, thus increasing the challenges of measuring its
For purposes of this paper, the following definitions established by the Police
Executive Research Forum (PERF) will be applied for community policing as cited by
Darrel Stephens (1996):
Community problem-oriented policing is defined by its two key
components: community engagement and problem solving.
Community engagement is an ongoing dialog between the police
and members of the public...Problem solving is the principal service
of the police. Problem solving involves identifying problems in the
neighborhood, understanding the conditions that give rise to these
problems, developing and implementing solutions tailored to relieve
the problems, and determining the impact of the solutions on the
problems...These two components are inseparable. Engaging the
community without problem solving provides no meaningful service
to the public. Problem solving without engagement risks
overlooking the most pressing community concerns and tackling
problems that are of little concern to the community with tactics that
the community may find objectionable. Through community
engagement, police accountability is enhanced because of the need
to determine the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving
efforts. (P. 98)
How community policing gets implemented into a law enforcement agency will vary.
Some agencies have community policing units while other departments expect all
employees, regardless of position, to engage in community policing. There are those
agencies who say they are conducting problem oriented policing, but they are not;
other agencies claim working with the community and consider responding to calls as
partnering with the community. As Herman Goldstein (1993) points out, there are
departments that have latched onto the popularity of the term, but the implementation
of it varies from ambitious to mundane and from carefully planned to the most casual
The contention between philosophical camps continues and the demand for thorough,
comprehensive research to help facilitate direction in implementing and policy
making for community and problem-oriented policing into law enforcement agencies
is becoming an often stated direction.3 This movement continues to have challenges
for large departments; even the rural towns have challenges in its implementation
(Maguire et al, 1997).
Departmental limitations may be one of the most challenging obstacles to address and
depending upon the agencys situation, it will most likely drive the arrangement of
community policing in an organization. Some departments have expectations that all
their officers will engage in community policing, while others have specialized units
dedicated to community policing. It might be easier for some departments to have a
special unit because they do not have the time or resources to train the entire
department as well as the energy to cajole the resistant traditional officer to learn it.
There are some local governments that do not support a departments reorganization
for community policing. Many local officials want proof that community policing
works before investing in restructuring the police organization. However, police
departments do not have the in-house research capability to evaluate and demonstrate
the effectiveness of community policing other than the assessments of individual POP
3 At the 1998 Problem-Oriented Policing Conference, sponsored by the Police Executive Research
Forum and the San Diego, California Police Department, Herman Goldstein gave the opening
conference presentation. During his speech, he emphasized the need for research and police agencies
to join efforts. He encouraged law enforcement agencies to start building internal capacity to support
the evaluation of community policing.
projects that show the problem has been abated or resolved. They are unable to
statistically validate or conduct impact assessments due to limited resources and do
not have the resources to hire outside researchers or evaluators.
Some departments across the nation have attempted to entrench community and
problem-oriented policing as an organizational philosophy and expect all officers to
work with the community to resolve problems. While this strategy is more difficult
and time-consuming to accomplish, it is a more effective approach than having a
dedicated unit for two reasons: (1) it eliminates the divisiveness between the
traditional and community policing paradigms within an organization, and (2) it
creates a mindset that all officers are expected to work with the community when
solving crime problems because these community stakeholders will support the police
in getting their job accomplished. Academicians and researchers have demonstrated
that implementing community and problem oriented policing as an organizational
practice is a more meaningful way of demonstrating police performance and
effectiveness (Carter, 1996; Trojanowicz and Bucqueroux, 1992; Goldstein, 1993;
Measuring Organizational and Community
The third area of current debate is finding effective measures for community policing
and linking those to overall organizational effectiveness. This is a challenge for most
departments. Through the transformation of police services, a chasm between the
old and new way of conducting police business has occurred, which in turn has
put a higher demand on identifying new measures of effectiveness. In addition, police
departments are being asked to demonstrate outcome measures, which is difficult for
law enforcement agencies that have traditionally measured police effectiveness
through activities, such as the number of tickets and the number of arrests. To make
the transition from bean counting to outcome measurement requires a different type
of methodology and requires yet another paradigm shift in the policing culture
(Oettmeier and Wykoff, 1998). This has become more of an immediate issue for
many law enforcement agencies who are being asked to conduct more work with less
resources and to demonstrate that resources are being utilized effectively (Bayley,
1996; Goldstein, 1983). This police accountability has agencies searching for the
silver bullet to measure effective resource allocation in order to obtain much needed
funding through well-documented assessments.
The more progressive agencies are attempting to demonstrate resource benefit and
effectiveness of community policing as well as developing methodologies to obtain
outcome measures. Meanwhile, the traditional departments demonstrate police
effectiveness based on activity counting such as the Uniform Crime Report (UCR),
which has very little to do with day-to-day policing operations or problem-solving
activities, and more to do with economic and social factors, response times, and
number of arrests. The UCR provides data on Part I crimes and also uses
victimization surveys as a means of reporting police effectiveness, but these measures
have been highly scrutinized as reflecting true police performance. Other traditional
police performance measures are response times, number of arrests, crime clearance
rates, patrol workload, citizen contacts, citizen complaints, and addressing major
events in the community (Stephens, 1996).
In addition, some departments are using the NIBRS (National Information Based
Reporting System) for reporting incidents of crime. This poses another dilemma in
the accuracy of reporting systems. The same incident of crime gets reported
differently between the UCR and the NIBRS. The information collected through the
NIBRS is a more sophisticated method of reporting because it allows for more
detailed reporting of the crime, but not all police departments use it.
David Bayley (1996) identified two shortcomings of the Uniform Crime Report: (1)
its accuracy depends upon whether or not the public is willing to report the crime to
the police, that the reporting is honest, and how diligent the police are in recording the
information; and (2) it is defective in measuring police performance because crime is
not something the police can directly control. In addition, victimization surveys have
been conducted to provide more in-depth crime information and to augment the UCR.
George Kelling (1996) points out that crime (and victimization surveys) are one
element of the bottom line of policing; it is not the bottom line. (P. 33)
A more recently developed method gaining momentum for reporting police
performance is the International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
survey. This measurement also approaches measuring police performance from the
perspective of the reform generation. This survey uses comparison cities to identify
such things as unit size, number of personnel, number of crimes, number of arrests,
number of Part I crimes, etc. While it is interesting information, its reliability and
validity is questionable; it is impossible to have a controlled experimental design
across comparison groups.
The conclusions drawn from the ICMA survey are also a problem. The report only
gives cumulative numbers and it does not explain what the differences mean across
comparison police departments. This can lead one to interpret these data as the
department with the lower numbers are providing better police services. In addition,
the socioeconomic influences as well as other community wellness indicators are not
considered. The ICMA survey is comparing apples to oranges.
Studies are continuously being done on problem oriented policing projects and
attempts are made to demonstrate the effectiveness of this type of policing over
traditional policing. With local governments and citizens demanding more outcome-
based programs, the squeeze on police departments to demonstrate effectiveness is of
primary importance. Police accountability and measuring police effectiveness has
become the hot topic of publications, discussions, and conference topics among police
executives, researchers, and academicians (Bayley, 1996; Carter, 1996; Kelling, 1996;
Mastrofski, 1996; Stephens, 1996; Goldstein, 1983).
Measures used for problem oriented policing more accurately captures an officers
daily performance. Direct linkages can be made between police response to
community crime and disorder problems with the outcomes of their efforts. The
outcomes are also controlled by officer performance as compared to the broad crime
problems identified in the Uniform Crime Report.
Types of measures for problem oriented policing have been identified as an officers
ability to: diagnosis problems, identify and implement problem resolutions, respond
to citizens concerns, enhance a citizens perceptions of safety, and demonstrate the
lawfulness of police response (Mastrofski, 1996). Other measures for community
policing have been identified as citizen satisfaction with police services, reduction in
the number of calls for service at a certain location, and displacement of criminal
activity (Stephens, 1996). Soft measures for community policing, as defined by
Bayley (1996), are reducing fear of crime, increasing public confidence in police,
encouraging peoples commitment to neighborhoods, obtaining citizen satisfaction
with police action, decreasing complaints about police service, increasing citizens
willingness to assist police, and reinforcing positive perceptions of police rectitude.
Directed activity has very clear process and outcome measures, and the number of
tickets, number of arrests, number of calls for service, etc. are very easy to track.
Community problem solving and crime prevention is not as easy to demonstrate
outcome and impact measures. Often times effectiveness can only be demonstrated
through longitudinal studies, which does not help police departments who do not
engage in strategic planning and are pressured to show annual outcome measures by
their city government.
One of the methods that have been developed to measure effectiveness in community-
policing is the S.A.R.A. (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment) model
developed by Eck and Spelman (1987), with the Police Executive Research Forum in
Washington, D.C., and the Newport News, Virginia Police Department. The process
involves analyzing recurring crime problems, formulating responses based upon their
analysis, assessing the effectiveness of the response, and engaging the community to
solve crime problems in partnership with the police.
Through the work of Eck and Spelman (1987), they have identified five outcomes of
the S.A.R.A. model process as:
1. Elimination of the problem
2. Reduction of the number of incidents
3. Reduction in the seriousness of the incidents or the amount of harm
4. Improved response to the problem (i.e., more comprehensive and
coordinated way of dealing with the problem, providing better service
to the victims; or greater efficiently in dealing with the problem)
5. Shifting responsibility for handling the problem to a more appropriate
There is a perception by some that the outcome of the S.A.R.A. process is elimination
of the problem. This is not a realistic expectation because of the complex nature of
crime and its causes. However, Spelman and Eck (1987) offer useful baseline
measures for watching changes occur in a neighborhood over time. Being able to do
so after a problem oriented policing (POP) project has been completed is useful
information, and can provide information on what factors help to sustain community-
Successful implementation of problem oriented policing at the local level requires a
police department that is open to community comments and participation as well as a
city government that is committed to providing the resources to a department to
accomplish this mission. The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) has been
implementing POP strategies with the community long before it became a national
effort and has been documented as far back as twenty years ago.
The CSPD has all the ingredients to create and support successful partnerships with
the community. The organization has decentralized authority, moved decision-
making to the first line personnel, and created a Strategic Management Team. This
team consists of members from a broad cross-section of organizational levels and
functional areas that addresses broad organizational analysis and problem solving of
strategic issues. In addition, problem solving is a part of standard operations, for both
sworn and civilian. The departments philosophy and principles are based on
community and POP, and all officers are expected to engage in problem oriented
Given the organizational infrastructure that supports community policing, the CSPD
was selected as a site to further explore how community policing is implemented at
the local level. They have many successful community partnerships, which offers
opportunities for exploratory research on how police departments sustain community-
policing efforts within a neighborhood. Current research has focused on the initiation
of a problem-oriented policing (POP) project and its outcome. There is very little
published on what happens to the community, their relationship with police, and the
level of crime activity after a few years have passed.
This study is an opportunity to conduct exploratory research on factors that are
involved in sustaining community policing in a neighborhood. Most studies have
focused on the short-term benefits through pre and post studies, but what has been
overlooked is what type of resources are needed to maintain successful POP projects
over time and what factors identify long-term sustainability.
The purpose of this case study is to examine events in a community policing effort
called the Deerfield Hills Project, in the Sand Creek Division. It will explore
community factors that explain why Deerfield Hills continues to be a successful and
ongoing partnership with the community and the police department. Factors that have
demonstrated that the Deerfield Hills Project has been successful are:
(1) calls for service for serious and disorder crimes are significantly lower
after two years;
(2) residents feel empowered to confront threats of crime;
(3) landlords participated in a landlord/tenant workshop sponsored by the
police department and have implemented strategies learned at this training;
(4) residents know how to access the NPU (Neighborhood Police Unit)
officers for assistance.
It has been three years since the initial Deerfield Hills Project was implemented. This
study investigates what happens to relationships between residents and police after a
successful problem oriented policing project has been completed. This study explores
those factors that keep community members engaged as a partner with the police and
engage citizens to be custodians of neighborhood safety. Residents perceptions of
crime, fear, and police services will be examined to measure the sustainability and
success of community policing efforts. These will be applied to explain why calls for
service in the Deerfield Hills project have decreased by 65% over the past two years.
Based upon a literature review, factors that explain success of community-policing
Residents taking responsibility for their safety,
Residents working with the police on neighborhood problems,
Police being visible in the community,
Residents feeling safe in their neighborhood, and
Residents perceiving a low incidence of crime.
These factors will be used to examine police and community relationships and will
attempt to answer the question, To what extent do these variables influence the
sustainability of the Deerfield Hills community policing project? The sociological
influences that may explain criminal behavior or the cause of crime will not be
discussed in this paper. It will focus on citizen and police conditions that are
associated with an effective problem-solving effort.
DEERFIELD HILLS PROBLEM ORIENTED
Under the direction and leadership of Chief of Police, Lome C. Kramer, the CSPD has
been transitioning their operations to more fully support the departments community
policing philosophy. The CSPD is a mission-driven, values-oriented organization.
The department is decentralized, except for the Major Crimes Division, which remains
centralized. In addition, they have officers and first line supervisors assigned to
sectors and are responsible for getting to know the business owners and residents in
Chief Kramers philosophy is that policing and community policing are synonymous.
All employees engage in problem oriented policing as a function of their daily duties
including the non-swom personnel as demonstrated by their unique Problem-Oriented
Dispatching (POD) program.5 An expectation of problem solving at all levels has set
5 An example of a Problem Oriented Dispatch (POD) project was the CSPD was receiving a large
number of abandoned calls originating from a local hotel, each of which required officer response. This
amounted to over 400 CFS in one year. Dispatch investigated, found that hotel patrons had to dial 9 and
then L to get an outside line, then 1 to place a long distance call, thus dialing up 911. Enough people
dialed 911 to create a major call load for the system. Dispatch and US West telephone service worked
with the hotel to change the outside line prefix to 9 and the problem was solved.
the tone of the organizational culture and has shaped the attitudes of the personnel in
the department. Problem oriented policing is being implemented in every aspect of the
department, including the detective units and there is no specialized community-
policing unit. The department has all the ingredients of a community policing
organization and all officers are expected to engage citizens in problem-solving
activities with officers as problem-solvers within their assigned duties.
The CSPD has a total 762 employees, 526 commissioned strength and 236 civilians.
According to the 1996 census data, Colorado Springs has a total of 345,127 citizens.
Over a six year period of time (from 1990 to 1996), the City of Colorado Springs has
increased in population by 53,697 people. It is the second largest city in the State of
Colorado. The city is spread out over a large area, with mixed terrain of mountains,
foothills, and plains. The city covers approximately 183 square miles and is located in
El Paso County, which covers approximately 2,159 square miles. There are three
decentralized patrol divisions: (1) Gold Hill Division, covering the west and central
part of Colorado Springs; (2) Falcon Division, covering northern Colorado Springs;
and, (3) Sand Creek Division, covering the south and southeast part of Colorado
The Deerfield Hills Project began in the Sand Creek Division, Neighborhood Policing
Unit (NPU), when contacted in July 1996 by the members of the Deerfield Hills Home
Owners Association. Residents in a section of that subdivision were concerned about
perceived drug and gang activity occurring in their neighborhood. This area covers a
small area within the Deerfield Hills area, specifically the 4100 to 4300 block of
Deerfield Hills Road, the 3200 block of Springnite, the 4200 block of Drennan Road,
and 3200 to 3400 of Cochran Road (hereinafter referred to as the target area). On
July 8, 1996, officers began the S.A.R.A. model process by scanning the Deerfield
Hiils area to identify the issues by gathering crime data and discussing the problems
Sand Creek NPUs scanning activities included gathering information regarding calls
for service; sector officers observations; vice, narcotics, and intelligence information;
and, gang data. Calls for service (CFS) in 1996 totaled 180 for the target area, and
broke down as follows:
Noise complaints 25
Shots fired 17
1st Degree Criminal Trespass of 9
Motor Vehicle Theft 7
These calls for service are high compared to an average of 28 calls for service in other
parts of the city of comparable size to the target area in 1996.
The top three calls for service were disturbances, noise complaints, and burglary.
Sector officers from all three shifts provided the following observations:6
Gang Activity Gang members are moving back into the area.
A CSPD sweep was made in 1993 targeting gang members
and eliminated them from the area.7 They identified the
Parkside Vario (PSV) gang as the prevalent gang set and the
South Side Posse is beginning to show their presence through
graffiti. There was also considerable amount of PSV graffiti
in the area.
Four addresses had been identified as occupied by possible
gang members. One of the residences had a Hispanic female
resident, who provided temporary shelter for gang members as
well as a location that attracted gang activity. Another address
6 Patrol officers are assigned to specific areas called sectors. Officers maintain the same sectors
throughout their duty assignment in order to know their community and the people who work and reside
in that sector for more effective community policing.
7 GangNet (Gang Intervention Network) was created, developed, and implemented in 1991 in direct
response to the growth of street gangs in the Colorado Springs area. A part of this strategy is to track
gang or affiliated gang members through a database system. These gang members are entered into the
database based upon specific criteria and screening process. There are four criterion:
(1) when an individual admits gang membership to law enforcement,
(2) when a law enforcement agency or a reliable informant identifies an individual as a gang
(3) when an informant of previously untested reliability identifies an individual as a gang
member and it is corroborated by independent information, or
(4) when an individual resides in or frequents a particular gangs area and affects their style or
dress, use of hand signs, symbols or tattoos, and/or maintains ongoing relationships with
known gang members, or lias been arrested several times in the company of identified gang
members for offenses which are consistent with usual gang activity' and where the law
enforcement officer believes there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in
gang related activity or enterprise.
In addition, gang presentations are conducted for the community and an informative Gang Brochure was
developed for public distribution.
housed several Hispanic females (gang affiliation unknown) as
well as a confirmed Hispanic gang member. Two runaways
being housed by a resident at a third address, where the
resident was also reported as having several outstanding
warrants for arrest. On an adjacent street, one of the
residences was identified as conducting possible gang
activities (black gang affiliation) out of their home. In
addition, the residents at this address were reported as being
hostile toward police.
Drugs A fifth address was identified as conducting drug
deals through a Metro Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence Unit
narcotics tip.8 A knock and talk contact was conducted at this
address.9 The police were allowed to conduct a search for
drugs, but it provided no probable cause to make an arrest.
Prostitution A sixth address in the target area was identified
as a site for possible prostitution. It was observed that on
numerous occasions young to middle aged males visited this
address for short periods of time. A white female resided
there by herself.
Traffic Violations Local residents complained about vehicles
running a four-way stop at the intersection at Moonbeam
Drive and Deerfield Hills Drive. Drivers ignored the stop
signs and since an elementary school was located nearby, they
were concerned about the childrens safety. During a five-
minute time frame, officers observed 12 vehicles through this
intersection and only 2 vehicles came to a complete stop.
The Metro Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence (VNI) Division is a taskforce cooperative between law
related agencies throughout tire Fourth Judicial District These agencies include: El Paso County
Sheriffs Office, Manitou Springs Police Department Woodland Park Police Department Teller County
Sheriffs Office, Fountain Police Department two members from the DAs Office, the Colorado Air
National Guard, and tire Internal Revenue Service. The VNI partnership is housed at the CSPD. This
approach allows the Division to respond appropriately, investigate a wide variety of criminal activities
and standardize the level of police investigations to a higher level of quality and responsiveness.
Police Officers who have received a drug up at a residence will contact the resident and ask if they
will allow the police to conduct a search of their home. If the resident does not allow this then an officer
will discontinue or will have to obtain a search warrant to proceed further in the intrusion.
A door-to-door survey was conducted by the Sand Creek NPU with residents within
the 4100-4300 blocks of Deerfield Hills Road. Out of a total of 73 residents contacted
on Deerfield Hills Road, 65 participated in the survey resulting in a 90% response rate.
The following data was obtained:
Major issues were identified as:
(1) Loitering youth/loud stereos/noise (27%)
(2) Graffiti/vandalism (17%)
(3) Drug dealing/gang presence (14%)
(4) Deteriorating buildings/trash/Iittering/vacant lots (13%)
85% of the residents felt safe during the day and it dropped to 66% during
the night. Most of the major crime problems identified in the area occurred
at night between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.
38% reported being a victim of crime in their neighborhood. Out of those
victims, 57% reported the crime to police and 43% of those did not report
their victimization. Those who did not report the crime gave one of the
following reasons: (1) fear of retaliation by suspect(s), (2) sense of
hopelessness that the neighborhood will not change, or (3) they will take
care of things in their own way.
83% of the residents participate in a Neighborhood Watch Program.
In addition, seven addresses on Deerfield Hills Road were identified during the survey
as primary locations for the major crime problems occurring in the area. Four of those
properties were rentals, two were owned by the tenants, and one was the address of the
Deerfield Hills Community Center.
Based upon the analysis of the information gathered, it was determined that two POP
projects would be implemented in response to the issues:
(l) Eviction of Problem Tenants
(2) Lets Improve our Neighborhood Campaign
These POP projects would incorporate the following recommendations made by the
Neighborhood Policing Unit:
Contact the property owners of the rental properties to
make them aware of the problems and their civil
liability. Provide them with information for better
screening of applicants (such as writing leases that give
them more authority in removing problem tenants
because of criminal activity) and evicting current
* Police alter their work schedule to create an atmosphere
of constant presence from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 4:00
p.m. to midnight, and 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Make frequent contacts with identified gang members
and their associates that live or hang around in the area,
and conduct searches for weapons and narcotics on their
persons, and complete contact cards.
Make frequent contacts with loitering youth, especially
around the Deerfield Hills Community Center.
Strictly enforce loud car stereos/noise ordinance.
Make frequent contacts in person with the residents in
order to develop cooperative relationships in reducing
crime in the neighborhood and develop a personalized
relationship with CSPD.
Conduct a warrant sweep of the area (that is, identify and
arrest residents with outstanding warrants).
Develop a Neighborhood Watch Program, with special
emphasis on organizing the blocks into smaller groups
based on the cul-de-sacs.
Police and community to improve housing conditions by
working with Code Enforcement.
Contact the City Utilities to get improvements in the
lighting along the street and in the cul-de-sacs.
Assist the residents in organizing a neighborhood
cleanup and graffiti removal.
Assist the residents in developing a set of community
standards for yards and housing conditions, and develop
creative ways in encouraging compliance, especially
with rental properties.
The first POP project was to address youth loitering, especially gang members in front
of the four rental properties identified through the survey. These youth were involved
in disturbance fights and narcotic activities. Prior to this POP project, there have been
repeated calls for service and arrests had occurred. However, this evidently did not
have much affect on the youth because the problems continued. These youth have
been identified as possible Parkside Varrio, Juarito, or 81st East Side Hustler Crip
Gangs. Their ages ranged from 16-22 years old. The time of day they are most often
seen are between 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
To address these problems, officers implemented a zero tolerance in enforcement,
especially traffic, loitering, and narcotics statures. In addition, they altered their police
work schedule in order to create an atmosphere of continuous police presence.
During the response period, from July to September, the property owners of the rental
homes were contacted and were presented with the police information regarding their
tenants. Three of the four tenants were evicted. The fourth problem tenant left at the
end of August, when their lease expired. In addition, property owners were given
landlord/tenant training, which provided information on screening prospective tenants,
gave sample lease agreements, and environmental inspections for crime prevention
such as improving outdoor lighting. They were also informed of the landlord liability
for ignoring criminal activity on their properties.
The mobile command post was parked in front of Turmen Elementary School on July
23, 1996.10 Operations were underway and the following activities occurred from July
8, 1996 through September 21, 1996 (when the POP project was completed and the
police removed the mobile command post) the following accomplishments were made:
2 juvenile runaways were apprehended
10 case reports were filed
3 criminal cases were cleared
14 supplemental reports were filed
3 intelligence reports were filed
12 traffic warnings
52 traffic summons (29 were completed by the traffic officers and 23 were
issued by the Neighborhood Policing Unit officers)
2 DUI arrests
114 Field Investigative Report (FIR) contacts, in which 24 individuals were
confirmed gang members or affiliated gang members
a total of 348.75 hours of officer duty time was used to implement the
Deerfield Hills POP project.
4 felony arrests
21 misdemeanor arrests
The officers also conducted a GangNet training for the residents, which discusses the
current gang groups in the Colorado Springs area and other identifying information
10 The mobile command post is a large motorized mobile home that is deployed twenty-four hours a day
in neighborhoods where operations are being conducted. This stays in the area and becomes the
headquarters for the community policing operations in a target area
A Neighborhood Watch meeting was held on August 23, 1996, to establish new watch
groups. There were twenty-four residents who attended this meeting. A block captain
was appointed for each cul-de-sac on Deerfield Hills Road and two block captains
were identified for Cochran Drive. Twelve Neighborhood Watch signs were posted
(one at each cul-de-sac and two signs for Cochran Drive).
An assessment of the first response was made in September. The problem tenants had
moved out of the neighborhood and calls for service dropped by 70% since July. A
follow-up survey was conducted with the residents and the results were:
91% of the residents stated that they saw a decrease in crime
90% felt an increase in safety
74% reported a decrease in drug/gang activity
71% reported a decrease in trash buildup/littering
66% reported a decrease in youth loitering/loud stereos
The second response was a neighborhood cleanup. Trash buildup, littering in the cul-
de-sacs, and abandoned vehicles on the street and private property were prevalent. On
September 21, 1996, over forty residents attended and assisted in the cleanup. Six
construction dumpsters were filled and removed, three vehicles were towed away, and
several others were tagged and later removed. Lunch was provided by businesses in
the area. The NPU assisted with traffic control as well as coordinating
The Sand Creek NPU removed the mobile unit command post from the area on
September 21, 1996. Since that time, the neighborhood has remained stable. In Table
2.1, the calls for service from 1996 all declined for Drennan Road, Deerfield Hills
Road, Simmelink Loop, and Springnite Drive. All calls for service went down over
time by 65% except for theft, which has increased.
Table 2.1: Sand Creek Division Calls
for Service (CFS) for Target Area
Total CFS in Total CFS in
Offenses 1996 1998
Assault 15 8
1st Degree Criminal Trespass of Vehicle 9 4
Burglary 23 12
Disturbance 67 47
Motor Vehicle Theft 7 4
Narcotics 9 5
Noise 25 9
Robbery 0 0
Shots fired 17 11
Theft 8 18
Total 180 118
The police department since that time has held ongoing Neighborhood Watch
Meetings. They have recently (February 1999) conducted another GangNet
presentation to the residents as well as held another neighborhood cleanup in March
1999. The officers maintain a relationship with these residents, which will continue to
strengthen the community and police bond.
The houses that line Deerfield Hills Road, Simmelink Loop, and Springnite Drive
were built in the 1970s. There are a total of 174 residences in the target area, of which
126 are single dwelling homes. Most of them are ranch style, with a few small two-
story homes. Along Cochran Drive, there are 12 four-plex buildings.
Figure 1. Deerfield Hills Community
Turman Elementary School is located to the north of Deerfield Hills Road and east of
Springnite Drive. A large open park is located to the east of the school. Bordering
along the edge of the park in the northeast comer of this target area is a community
center. The Home Owners Association originally owned the Community Center, but
they sold it to Parks and Recreation in 1970 for $ 1. The Community Center appears to
be a hub for residents, with available information and assistance for the residents as
well as providing recreational facilitates. Although it is small, it is the common place
for meetings and other neighborhood activities.
The layout of the community is unusual. As can be observed on the map, the main
streets consist of ancillary cul-de-sacs. These cul-de-sacs have homes close together
and on small lots. There are a few nicely kept homes also along Deerfield Hills Road
and Springnite Drive and their yards are clean (many with landscaped yards).
However, there is a sharp contrast between the homes that are well kept and those that
need paint and other outside repairs. In general, most of the neighborhood is not well
Most of the homes keep their garbage disposal containers sitting out by the street or in
their front yard by their garage (except for Simmelink Loop and the section of
Springnite Drive located across from Turman Elementary School). A lot of trash and
litter is on the ground because these containers get turned over or are overfilled with
A majority of the homes have very little landscaping in their front yards and most of
the yards are dirt. There are no drainage ditches in front of these homes and a fire
truck would only be able to pull in and back out. There is very little space to turn a
vehicle around at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Many of the homes have three-foot chain link fences (with some three-foot wooden
fencing) surrounding the front yards of the homes located on Deerfield Hills Road and
Springnite Drive. A few of the houses had at least one large dog, if not two, in their
front yard. Almost all of the homes had large dogs either inside their homes or in their
back yards. There are continuous dogs barking as people walk down the street.
A study was completed by Richard Box, Jody Fitzpatrick, and Scott Olene (1997),
Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, titled
A Study of Colorado Springs Neighborhood Organizations. In their report, they
provide census data on the Deerfield Hills Neighborhood. While the entire
subdivision is much larger than the target area, it will give a general sense of the
demographics. The total population in Deerfield Hills is 1,840. This is based on
census tract information and may include adjacent neighborhoods within the tracts.
The race and ethnicity of the area is 62% Caucasian, 23% African American, and
16% Hispanic. These percentages add up to more than 100%, but Box et. al. (1997)
explain that this is because Hispanics are not a race in the Census classifications.
They are included by the U.S. Census Bureau within the White and African American
According to this same study, the median age is 28. Among the total population living
in this area, 35% of them are under the age of 18; 1% are over the age of 65. The
average household income is 529,672. The median home value is $57,700 and the
median monthly rent is $362.
Residents that participated in the study were polite, but most people appeared to keep
to themselves. On a nice day, children are outside playing in the neighborhood. There
were several vacant homes that were for sale or rent.
There are several key leaders in the neighborhood, who have been active and
instrumental in working with the police and feel responsible for maintaining
neighborhood safety. There is a sense of pride among them and during an informal
interview with some of the residents, they were quick to say how bad it was in 1996
and howr much better it is now.
According to these individuals, their homes were built as starters. The builder used
inferior materials and the homes were poorly built. They reported that since this
community is located near a military post, a lot of the people in their neighborhood
move every six months to a year. Most of the people living in the neighborhood stay
They reported that in 1996 there were many problems in their neighborhood, such as
gang members living in homes, fights occurring in the front yards, drag dealing,
speeding traffic, and graffiti. Most of the residents kept to themselves and they were
fearful to walk across the park because of the gang presence in the park.
They stated the partnership with the police began one day when officers went door to
door and talked to the residents about the crime problems. The officers wanted to
know how they could help. The residents met with the police and worked together to
identify the problems and solutions. The residents contacted the City to find out how
they could address the property disorder and the traffic problems in their
neighborhood. They also formed a Neighborhood Watch and each block identified a
captain. They reported the graffiti has been removed, the people creating the problems
have moved out of the neighborhood, and the outside appearance of the duplex
properties has improved significantly.
They speak highly of the officers from NPU and continue working with the police on
issues in their neighborhood. One individual said he liked the people Cops that the
department sends out to work in their neighborhood much better than the other cops
because they are nicer and better listeners. Another individual said he liked the NPU
officers. When asked why, he stated it was because they treated him with respect.
One older gentleman residing in the neighborhood reported that since he started
working with the police in 1996, he feels more responsible for his neighborhood.
When he sees young adults (approximately 29 to 35 years old) using bad language or
acting poorly outside, he talks to them and tells them they need to set a better example
for the children in the neighborhood. He also reported that some of the troublemakers
in the neighborhood have tried to intimidate him through vandalism to his property,
including having his house egged several times.
When asked if he thought it was worth it, he said emphatically yes. He said, Ive
been doing a good job confronting the problems in the neighborhood. Residents
appreciate it and so Ill keep doing it. I have the police backing me, too. He also
added that according to the statistics that the police have shown him, their
neighborhood is still not where he wants it to be in terms of criminal activity. He said
the problem is that once the crime decreased in 1996, residents relaxed and the crime
is creeping back in.
In addition to the issues regarding the single housing area, there are twelve four-plex
buildings. These units are owned individually. Some owners may have two or three
units, while others own one. Most of buildings have been painted and the grounds
outside the four-plex buildings are clean. However, walking in the hallway of some of
them, it was obvious which landlords were not taking care of their units. There were
holes in the walls and filth in the entrance and stairwell leading to the four units of the
One of the landlords of a four-plex participated in an informal interview regarding the
1996 Deerfield Hills POP Project. She commented on how much the buildings have
improved over the past two years. In addition, she volunteered that she participated in
the Apartment Manager Training offered by CSPD in 1996. From this training, she
learned how she could change her lease conditions to get more responsible tenants and
now it is easier to evict bad tenants. She also reported that some of the owners who
took care of their properties were buying out some of the bad units as they go on the
market. She was pleased that this was the case and that the conscientious owners
participate in the monthly homeowner meetings at the community center.
The NPU officers who have been working in this area reported a significant
improvement in the neighborhood. Although there are still problems, they are less
severe than they were in 1996. They credit the residents for the change in the
neighborhood. Officers believe the success of this POP project was because the
residents banded together, which gave them the courage to confront the troublemakers
and the problems in their neighborhood. They said residents are active partners with
them and are motivated to take care of their neighborhood.
One of the NPU officers, who worked on the project in 1996, described the
community policing effort as we drove through the Deerfield Hills area. He reported
that it had been a while since he had driven through the area because he has been
reassigned to another project. The officer said he credits the residents for the changes
that have occurred. The success resides with the residents, who had gotten fed up with
the problems in their neighborhood and were motivated to do something about it. As
we drove through the duplex area, he spontaneously stated how surprised he was to
see the condition of the duplexes and how much better the area looked. There was no
trash lying around outside the buildings, no graffiti on the walls, and the duplex units
were all freshly painted. He said he was amazed how much it had changed.
The neighborhood, in general is not well kept, but there are residents who take pride in
their homes and the area they live in. There are several key leaders in the
neighborhood, who have been active and instrumental in working with the police and
feel responsible for maintaining neighborhood safety. There is a sense of pride among
them and during informal interviews the residents v/ere quick to say how much better
their neighborhood is now. The residents have a high regard for the police officers.
The community and police have worked hard together to address crime problems in
the neighborhood. The residents shared many stories on how the residents feel
empowered and in control of their neighborhood; they believe they could not have
done it without the support of the police.
METHODS AND FINDINGS
In this study, residents perception of crime, fear, and police services were measured
in the Deerfield Hills project area. Although this is not a pre-post study, valuable
information can be gathered to understand the dynamics that occur between citizens
and police to have successful and long-term outcomes of community policing efforts.
This study will examine residents perceptions of safety and their role in preventing
crime. These perceptions will be explored in terms of how the community views
police. These interactions will be examined to determine why the Deerfield Hills
project has been successful based upon the fact that calls for service have decreased
by 65% over the past two years.
n. Selection of Subjects
The targeted area has a total of 174 residences. Since this is a relatively small area, it
was determined that every household would be contacted and the head of household
would complete the questionnaire. Residents were asked to voluntarily participate in
the study. No other selection criteria were used for subject selection (i.e., age,
The community members are diverse in age and race/ethnic backgrounds. According
to the Census Bureau, this area has more Caucasian/White people, but this is an
interracial community of Hispanic/Latino, African American, and Asian American.
There is a mixed age group in this area as well, ranging from young adult to senior
citizen, but the median age is 28 years old (Box and Fitzpatrick, 1997).
Volunteers from the police department, police officers from the Neighborhood
Policing Unit, and the author conducted a door-to-door survey. Two officers from the
Neighborhood Policing Unit were assigned to the area for a neighborhood cleanup
activity. These NPU officers drove the Community Mobile Unit Command Post to
the Deerfield Hills area and brought their bicycles to ride in the area. This provided
high visibility and safety for clean up members and the people involved in distributing
the questionnaire. Volunteers from the Colorado Springs Police Departments Scout
Explorers group, police officers, and the author conducted the survey during the first
round, and an officer and the author conducted the second round of survey
A fifty-item questionnaire was created for data collection (see Appendix A). Items
were selected from an original questionnaire developed by Dr. Craig Uchida to assess
quality of life, crime and disorder, fear of crime, and police services.11 Additional
items were added to the questionnaire to assess CSPDs community policing effort in
The questionnaire was designed to determine:
1. Respondents perceptions of their neighborhood, the level of
interaction with their neighbors, and their participation in groups
or organizations that focus on neighborhood issues (items 1-13).
2. Residents perceptions of crime and fear of crime (items 14, 19-
3. Level of resident responsibility in crime prevention and level of
commitment to working with police (items 15-18).
4. Perceptions of police performance and level of police performance
5. Residents perceptions of the 1996 problem oriented policing
project, which include the identification of problems at that time,
their role in the problem solving effort, behavior changes in
reporting crimes since that effort, continued community support
since the 1996 effort, and if the problems have returned to their
neighborhood (items 33-40).
6. Demographic questions of age, race/ethnicity, level of education,
employment, marital status, number of people residing at the
residence, number of children under the age of 18 residing at the
residence, home ownership, type of housing, and gender
information (items 41-50).
The original instrument was used to assess police service for the Miami, Florida Police Department
A door-to-door survey was conducted and participants were offered two methods of
completing the questionnaire: (1) they could have the questions read to them, or (2)
the questionnaires were left for them to complete and then picked up after twenty
minutes. An envelope was provided to them so they could just leave it outside their
door when they had completed the questionnaire. There were no blank questionnaires
returned in the envelopes; all participants completed the questionnaire. About half the
residents elected to complete the survey themselves.
There are a total of 174 homes in the survey area. Each house was contacted to
participate in the survey, with the exception of the following: homes that were vacant,
homes with no solicitation signs posted, and only a few homes with dogs in the
front yard. Each survey took approximately fifteen minutes to complete, but some
residents wanted to explain their answers or share stories about events that had
occurred in the neighborhood. An interview could run as long as twenty-five minutes
for those who wanted to tell their story. This information was useful in
understanding the neighborhood and the people that reside there and notes were kept
of these comments.
Two distributions of the surveys were given, one day during the weekend and one day
during the week. The first distribution occurred on a Saturday, during which there
was also a Neighborhood Watch sponsored community cleanup project. It was a cold,
| windy day, and there was a slight snowfall the night before. However, this did not
i seem to impede a respondents willingness to answer the door and participate in the
survey. Homes where no one answered were re-contacted on the second round of
I survey disbursement. A total of forty-nine questionnaires were completed on
The follow-up survey was conducted one afternoon during the week. The day was
warm and people were outside, which made it easier to access residents. All addresses
within the target area had been contacted by the completion of the second survey
distribution. This includes most of the residences that did not answer their door
during the first round. Twenty-five questionnaires w'ere completed in the afternoon
session, resulting in a final total of seventy-four questionnaires.
IV. Description of Sample
Out of 174 household sampled, 43% participated in the study. Out of those that
responded, the mean age was 38.93, with the median at 34 years of age. The youngest
participant was seventeen and the oldest respondent was seventy-three years old. The
race or ethnic background of subjects were: 54% Caucasian/white; 22%
Hispanic/Latino; 14% Affican-American/Black; 3% Asian-American; 1% Native
American; and, 6% listed as other. It is interesting to note that the distribution of the
race or ethnic background of the Caucasian/white, Hispanic/Latino, and African-
American/Black subjects in this study are similar to distribution in the study
completed by Box, Fitzpatrick, and Olene (1997). However, what was not reflected in
their report was the Asian American and Native American population and although it
is a low number, it reflects that the community has remained consistent in race or
ethnic background and the neighborhood is expanding in his diversity. Twelve
percent of the subjects had completed up to eleventh grade and 11% obtained a GED
or other equivalency. It was found that 26% of the respondents had some college, a
college degree, or some post-graduate school. Ten percent of the participants
completed vocational or technical school training after high school.
Nearly three-quarters of the participants (72%) were employed full-time, 10% were
employed part-time, 8% were homemakers, and the rest were unemployed seeking
work(l%), unemployed not seeking work (3%), retired (1%), full-time student (1%),
and self-employed (4%). A little more than half the respondents were married (56%)
and 11% were single, never married. The remaining subjects were widowed,
divorced, living with someone as a couple, or separated (33%). More females (64%)
than males (36%) participated in the survey.
The average number of people residing in a household was reported as four, out of
which 24% had one to two people, 56% had three to four people, 14% had five to six
members, and 14% had seven or more residing in their household. The largest total
for people residing in one household was nine. There were a total of 68 children
reported residing in these households. There are more single dwelling homes in the
area than four plex buildings, and the respondents reflect that the majority of the
survey came from residents living in single-family homes (73%) and 52% owned their
home (52%). Length of time at their residence varied, with the mean at 5.34 years.
There were a total of 43 respondents that have lived at their residence five years or
less, 14 respondents have lived there for six to ten years, and 10 participants have
lived in their home for eleven to twenty years.
Data analysis was completed based on the factors used to measure community-
policing concepts. These scales are:
(1) Neighborhood Boundaries and Social Strength (items 2, 4-9, 11)
(2) Perception of Problems (items 14, 19, 20)
(3) Views of Neighborhood Safety (items 21-24, 30)
(4) Community Ownership in Problem Solving Activities (items 16 and 17)
(5) Perceptions of Police (items 15, 18, 25-29, 31, 32, 34)
(6) Perspectives of the 1996 POP Project (items 33-40)
These items can be found in Appendix A, Colorado Springs Citizen Survey. The
following sections describe the results of the survey.
Neighborhood Boundaries and Social Strength
The respondents define their neighborhood in terms of an area close in proximity to
their home. They primarily define it as a few blocks around their house (48%), while
others view it as their own block (21%). However, 21% saw it in much broader terms
by defining their neighborhood as a section of Colorado Springs and 10% saw it as the
whole city. This suggests that 50 out of 72 who responded to the question, frame the
concept of neighborhood from the perspective of the immediate vicinity.
In terms of perceptions of neighborhood and social interaction in the community, most
people described their neighborhood as a fair, good, or excellent place to live (92%).
When asked how they compared their neighborhood to a year ago, the majority
believed it was about the same or a better place to live (88%), but 62% thought the
neighborhood would be a worse place to live a year from now.
Participants reported they have limited contact with their neighbors socially (80%),
but they do exchange conversation while outside in the yard (63%). On a scale of
1 to 5, one being very helpful and five being people go their own way, a mean score of
3.19 suggests that they see their neighbors as sometimes helpful and sometimes going
their own way.
In assessing the respondents level of commitment to addressing neighborhood
problems, only half of the participants (53%) knew of any organized groups that deal
with neighborhood problems (N=38). They listed Neighborhood Watch, the Deerfield
Hills Community Center, and the Homeowners Association as those organizations that
deal with issues. Only 9 out of 45 responded that they belong to one of these
When asked how often they attend these meetings, 14 people said they always,
usually, or sometimes attend, and 5 said they never go to meetings. Police officers
have been invited to those meetings and 87% (N=l 1) of the respondents said the
police did attend when invited.
As shown in Table 4.1, residents who viewed their neighborhood as a good place to
live also feel safe in the neighborhood. They trust police and take responsibility for
the safety of their neighborhood. These findings are not surprising. Fear of crime can
drive a residents perception of their neighborhood quality of life. People who think
that their neighborhood is a good place to live have a lower fear of crime.
Table 4.1 Neighborhood a Good Place to Live
Independent Variable x?
Trust police .002 *
Take responsibility for safety of neighborhood .006 *
Feel Safe after dark .000 *
Feel Safe during the day .000 *
(* = significant at .01)
Although residents are interacting with their neighbors out in the yard, no close social
bonds have formed among residents. This is seen in the fact that a low number of
participants said they socialized at each others homes (79% responded very seldom or
Perception of Problems
Residents were asked about crime and disorder in their neighborhood. They were
given a list of twenty-six items and asked to rate whether or not the problem listed was
a big problem, a small problem, or no problem. By collapsing the responses of big
problem and small problem into one variable, a rank order was made on these data.
In Tabie 4.2, the ranking of these problems show the top four problems identified
were litter and trash; parents not supervising their children; landlords and tenants not
maintaining their property; and, excessive noise such as barking dogs or car stereos.
The bottom four problems were prostitution; police being rude, harassing citizens, or
stopping people without good reason; and a three-way tie with abandoned cars, stolen
cars, and violent attacks. The top four problems identified in the 1996 survey found
were: (1) deteriorating buildings/trash/litter/vacant lots, (2) graffiti, (3) loitering
youth, and (4) gangs/drugs.12 Although the sample populations are different in the
surveys, it is interesting to observe that only nuisance and disorder issues are
identified in the follow-up survey.
12 The report for the 1996 survey by the NPU collapsed these problems together and in the follow-up
study, these items were broken out separately.
Table 4.2: Ordered by Percent of Identified Problems
Type of Problem Problem
Litter and trash 81%
Parents who dont supervisor their children 65%
Landlords or tenants not maintaining their property 65%
Excessive Noise 58%
People ignoring rules about parking 50%
Vandalism of cars and property 45%
Theft and burglary 40%
Traffic problems 36%
Rowdy parties 34%
Assaults in public 31%
Domestic violence 30%
Public drinking 28%
Disruption around schools; that is, youth hanging around making 28%
noise, vandalizing, or starting fights
Truancy; that is, kids not being in school when they should be 28%
Strangers coming into the neighborhood and causing a disturbance 27%
Shootings and other public violence 26%
Bars or liquor stores attracting trouble makers 15%
Abandoned buildings 13%
Cars stolen 13%
Violent attacks on neighborhood residents 13%
Police being rude, harassing citizens, or stopping people without 7%
When participants were asked to identify important crime problems in the
neighborhood, 63 did so. These problems are listed in order of frequency as follows:
Gangs/gang violence N=6
Youth loitering and breaking curfew N=6
Domestic violence N=4
Speeding cars N=3
Motor vehicle theft N=3
1st Degree Criminal Trespass of
Barking dogs N=1
Landlords not caring N=1
Minor alcohol abuse N=1
Although drugs were most often mentioned, as many suggested that they did not know
if there was a problem, saw no problems, or thought that crime was down (N=8).
When participants were provided a list of responses in dealing with these problems to
choose from, it was found that a little more than half called the police (52%), did
something to safeguard their property (57%), or talked to their neighbors about the
problem (59%). Others chose to ignore the problem (18%) or talked to the offender
(20%). This was surprising to find that 1 out of 5 residents talked to the offender
which demonstrates that most residents do not feel intimidated.
Residents perceptions of problems in the neighborhood reveal their biggest concerns
are disorder and nuisance issues. Yet when asked to identify the most important crime
in the neighborhood, participants identified drugs, vandalism, gangs/gang violence,
and youth loitering and breaking curfew. Most respondents are willing to address the
problems in their neighborhood. Youth loitering was identified as a problem in the
neighborhood as well as one of the most important crimes. It is unknown whether
youth loitering is related with other crime issues identified in the neighborhood, such
as drugs, vandalism, gangs, and gang violence. However, the perception of youth
loitering could be creating fear and therefore residents are assuming they are also
engaged in other crimes in the area.
Views of Neighborhood Safety
The total number of respondents said they feel safe during the day (93%), but after
dark that percentage drops (56%). When asked if their concern for safety has ever
prevented them from doing something they would like to do in the neighborhood, 36%
said very often, often, or sometimes, while 64% reported rarely or never does it
prevent them from activities. In terms of being a victim of crime while living at their
current address, about of third of the respondents have been a victim (N=25). Twenty-
three of the residents surveyed had been a victim between 1992 to the present and 2
reported being a victim in 1980 and 1989.
Out of those 25 who had been a victim, 17 reported their victimization to the police.
Those who did not report the crime stated it was because they did not think the police
could help; they contacted the offending party themselves; they did not see it as a
crime (egging of house); or, they did not want the hassle to call the police.
It is not surprising that 100% of those who said they felt safe during the day and
78.8% who said they felt safe at night thought their neighborhood was a good place to
live. However, the victimization ratio is high; one out of three people were victims of
a crime in the past eight years while living in their present neighborhood.
Even though people are being victimized, they still like their neighborhood. This
suggests that even though crime is a problem, there are other social influences or
bonding factors that influence residents perception that their neighborhood is a good
place to live. Nuisance and disorder issues were identified as the leading problems in
the neighborhood, which are less threatening than serious crime (i.e., shootings,
homicides, assaults, etc.). This might provide one explanation as to why they perceive
their neighborhood as a good place to live, even though they are being victimized.
Community Ownership in Problem Solving Activities
There are two measures for identifying community ownership in problem solving
activities: (1) residents taking responsibility in preventing property crime before it
occurs and (2) their willingness to take responsibility for the safety in their
neighborhoods. It was found that residents are willing to take responsibility for
preventing property crimes (79%) and are willing to take responsibility for the safety
of their neighborhood (73%).
In Table 4.3, the relationships between residents who believe they can prevent
property crimes were compared to variables used to measure social strength. It was
found that residents have strong social ties with their neighborhood and believe their
neighborhood is a better place to live than a year ago. However, in looking at the
relationship between residents who take responsibility for preventing property crime
and respondents perceptions of their neighbors willingness to be helpful, it was
found that residents view their neighbors as not helpful. This suggests respondents
have a commitment to preventing property crime, but do not perceive that
commitment from theV neighbors in helping to prevent property crime.
Table 4.3 Residents Preventing Property Crimes
Compared to a year ago, it is a better place to live
Neighbors do not help each other and go their own way
Neighbors talk to each other
Take responsibility for safety in their neighborhood
Residents are willing to work with police
Want more officers on the street
Residents attend meetings since the 1996 effort
Residents will call police since the 1996 effort
( = significant at .01)
(** = significant at .05)
Respondents work with the police on problems, which is demonstrated by their
willingness to attend meetings since the 1996 community policing effort. They also
have an interest in attending meetings to work on issues, especially for those who
were aware of the success in the 1996 effort. They see the police as partners and will
call police if they see something unusual in the neighborhood. Although one would
expect a positive relationship between citizens who are interested in preventing
property crime with the police, it also demonstrates the importance of that partnership
and identifies a measure of success for its sustainability.
It is interesting that the respondents want more officers on the street. While residents
believe they can prevent crime, they also know they cannot impact crime through
directed activity, that is the polices role. There is a strong relationship between
residents attending meetings since the 1996 effort and their willingness to prevent
crime. From this, one could conclude that residents value police services. It would
also suggest they understand the separate, but complimentary roles of citizens and
police in addressing crime problems. This finding indicates that residents who want
officers on the street may also understand that it takes ongoing police and community
partnerships to sustain their accomplishments in crime prevention efforts, but this was
not assessed in the survey.
When residents were asked if they were willing to take responsibility for safety in
their neighborhood, 73% strongly agreed or agreed. In Table 4.4, strong relationships
can be seen between those residents who take responsibility for safety and who also
view their neighborhood as a good place to live. It is interesting to note they also
perceive their neighbors as not helpful in efforts of safeguarding their neighborhood.
This suggests that residents may perceive part of the problem in creating a safe
neighborhood is due to a perceived lack of support among the neighbors, which is also
supported by the fact they identified nuisance and disorder problems as their biggest
problems. It was found, however, that those who take responsibility for safety in their
neighborhood also talk to their neighbors more often. This may be an important
component in building support among neighbors.
There is also a strong relationship between residents who are willing to take
responsibility for their safety and working with police. They belong to a group or
organization that works on community issues and they believe police are open to their
opinions. The success of the 1996 effort positively influenced residents to be
responsible for the safety of their neighborhood. Residents saw an improvement in
their neighborhood after that effort and they attend more meetings since that time.
Table 4.4 Residents Take Responsibility for Safety
Independent Variable xf
Rate their neighborhood a good place to live .002 *
Neighbors do not help each other .000
Neighbors talk to each other .017 **
Are aware of organizations/groups to deal with problems in neighborhood .037 **
Are a member of a group or organization .045 **
Trust police to work together effectively .000 *
Residents can prevent crime .026 **
Residents willing to work with police to solve neighborhood problems .000 *
Report victimization to police .044 **
Want more officers on the street .034 **
Citizens must take more responsibility for the safety of their neighborhoods .049 **
Police are open to opinions .001 *
Police worked with residents in 1996 effort .019 **
Saw an improvement in their neighborhood after 1996 effort .001 *
Since the 1996 effort, attend more meetings .045 **
(* = significant at the .01)
(** = significant at the .05)
Citizens who feel responsible for the safety of their neighborhood are more inclined to
belong to groups that work on problems. However, they do not see their neighbors as
wanting to help each other. This suggests that there is a lack of community cohesion
and respondents willingness to take responsibility for helping their neighbor. The
implication of this is the police become even more important as partners in the
communitys safety efforts, especially because there is a lack of neighborhood
cohesion. The relationship with police and the community becomes more important
in order to ensure neighborhood support and enhance residents chances for success in
community policing responses. In addition, the ties between community and police
working together on safety issues through meetings demonstrate an important
component in sustaining community policing especially because of the lack of
community cohesion. These meetings may act as a catalyst for neighbors getting to
know each other, which may enhance their willingness to help their neighbor.
The responses for both residents believing they can prevent crime as well as taking
responsibility for safety indicate the strong inter-relationship between community and
police. This demonstrates the importance of community policing and that sustaining
community-policing effort requires ongoing police support with the community to
maintain their achievements. However, respondents did not feel a strong
responsibility to help neighbors in preventing property crime and did not feel
responsible for helping in their neighbors safety.
Although they take responsibility for their own safety, this responsibility reflects a
personal obligation rather than a community focused responsibility. This point is
particularly important for community policing efforts because police interaction with
residents becomes more important for a neighborhood with little support from
neighbors or who do not feel community cohesion. It suggests that police in the future
might focus on activities that would allow opportunities for residents to get to know
each other. This building of trust and cohesion between the residents would further
enhance the residents ownership of their community.
Perceptions of Police
Residents are willing to work with the police to solve neighborhood issues (87%) and
trust the police to work effectively together (82%). They view police as open to the
citizens opinions (84%). Participants were asked to rate the job police were doing in
working with people in their neighborhood to solve problems. Out of 74 respondents,
54% rated them as doing a fair, good, or excellent job, 5% rated police performance as
poor, and 41% did not know how the police were doing in terms of working with the
neighborhood. There is a significant relationship between police performance and
their visibility in the community (p=.022). This is an interesting and important
finding because it shows the impact of community policing on neighborhoods.
Personalized policing is one of the benefits of community policing, which means
officer visibility and availability to residents.
The connection between police and citizens is important. While being visible in the
community on a normal day is important to citizens in terms of police performance,
they also want to work with police in making their neighborhood a safe place to live.
On a normal day, about half responded that they were very likely or somewhat likely
to see an officer in the neighborhood. Only a third of the respondents knew that the
police were trying new ways to work with the community to solve problems. In
addition, out of a 72 respondents, 59 (81%) want more officers on the street and 68
(94%) want more crime prevention officers, indicating the value of police in their
There was a strong relationship between residents who are willing to work with police
with seeing their neighborhood as a good place to live as seen in Table 4.5. This
suggests that residents see police as an important player, and that the future quality of
their neighborhood is based upon the community and police working together on
issues in their neighborhood.
Residents who work with the police perceive themselves as having the capacity to
prevent crime as well as taking responsibility for the safety of their neighborhood.
They also want more police on the streets and more crime prevention officers.
Table 4.5 Willingness to work with the Police
Independent Variable xf
Rate the neighborhood as a good place to live .045 **
Believe the neighborhood will be a better place to live a year from now .017 **
Neighbors help each other .001 *
Neighbors talk to each other .035 **
Residents can prevent crime .000 *
Take responsible for the safety of their neighborhood .000 *
Want more officers on the street .000 *
Want more crime prevention officers .021 **
Police are open to opinions .000 *
Saw an improvement in their neighborhood after 1996 effort .032 **
(* = significant at .01)
(** = significant at .05)
It was also found that residents who see officers in the neighborhood on a daily basis
are more satisfied with police services and feel safer at night.
Residents regard for police services is demonstrated by their perceptions of a positive
working relationship with police. Residents who work with police believe they are
doing a better job and they are not only willing to partner with police, but also want
more officers. This finding indicates that residents understand that community
policing takes resources to provide personalized services. Residents value this
approach and want more to sustain their successful efforts.
When residents were asked if they were aware of police trying new ways to work with
the community to solve problems, there was a strong relationship with the residents
believing the police are doing an excellent job as shown in Table 4.6. This is an
Table 4.6 Residents Aware of New Policing
Independent Variable xf
Neighbors talk to each other .024 **
Believe the police are doing an excellent good job. .000 *
(* = significant at .01)
(** = significant at .05)
Community policing also increases residents communication with neighbors, which
is important in mobilizing and obtaining neighborhood support. Their belief in police
doing an excellent job and their awareness of this new policing approach indicates
their satisfaction with community policing.
Perspectives of the 1996 POP Project
Residents were asked about their perceptions of the community and the police effort
that occurred in their neighborhood in 1996. Out of 74 respondents, about a third
were aware of this effort (N=27) and living there at the time. Out of those
respondents, they identified 57 crime related problems at that time. The most frequent
problems cited were gangs (N=14) and drugs (N=12). They reported seeing fights and
shootings or hearing gunshots (N=6). Other problems cited were graffiti, vandalism,
burglaries and theft, more street trash (as compared to the present), drug and alcohol
abuse by minors, prostitution, a cocaine house, abandoned buildings, muggings,
speeding cars, and burglarized motor vehicles.
Respondents thought the police worked with residents to resolve those problems
(64%) and almost half (47%) said the police gave them suggestions on how they could
assist in resolving the problems that were occurring at that time. Residents attended
meetings regarding those problems (46%). When asked what type of role they played
in addressing those problems, 22% said a significant role, 37% played somewhat of a
role, and 41% reported playing no role at all.
Since that joint effort, citizens feel closer to police (65%) and will call the police
whenever they see something unusual in their neighborhood (81%). Three out of
twenty-seven reported they think less of police since that effort in 1996. One fourth of
the respondents (27%) have been attending community meetings since the
implementation of the community-policing project in 1996.
Since that community policing effort in 1996, 20% are seeing the problems return to
the neighborhood, 37% report that the problems are somewhat returning, 23% say
they do not see any problems returning, and 20% reported they did not know. When
asked why they thought the problems were returning, they reported that:
Some people just dont care about anybody but themselves.
Parties, drinking in public, and speeding cars was emerging.
Landlords are a problem.
Police quit coming through the area and thought that with this type of
problem there should be more police presence in the neighborhood.
It is just the way things are.
Attitude of the people because they do not take care of their own problems
(e.g., the parent should be taking care of their children and disciplining
Drug dealers know where to hand out the drugs.
Some of the problem people are drifting back into the neighborhood.
More roaming groups of young people.
People gave up.
High turnover in low-income housing leads to people coming and going in
People need to be forced out and confront the bad tenants.
Those who did not see the problem returning stated it was because:
Police and community are working together.
They are not sure why.
Police are making citizens efforts possible.
People wont tolerate it.
Overall, residents saw the 1996 community policing effort as successful. It is evident
based upon the data that problems are reemerging and continued community policing
support is needed in the neighborhood.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
Residents, who believe they have control over crime in their neighborhood, have less
fear of crime and feel responsible for the safety of their neighborhood. Residents trust
police, and they see their relationships with police as partners. Even though one out of
three respondents were victims of crime, they still perceived their neighborhood as a
good place to live. While participants felt responsible for neighborhood safety and
crime prevention, they perceived their neighbors as not helping each other and
therefore less committed to crime prevention and assuming responsible for community
safety. In addition, since the 1996 effort, citizens have participated in community
meetings to work with police in ongoing problem solving. These findings are
supported by informal, one-on-one interviews with the residents and officers.
Residents viewed the police favorably and said they were doing a good job. In
addition, they trusted the police to work with them. Visibility of police was important.
Respondents who were aware of police trying new ways to work with the community
to solve problems also believe the police are doing an excellent job. They also wanted
more officers on the street and officers for crime prevention.
It is unknown why respondents would perceive their neighborhood as being a worse
place to live a year from now. They currently believe their neighborhood is a good
place to live, but their future belief suggests that something is changing in their
environment. The fact that they do not perceive their neighbors as helpful in
preventing crime or taking responsibility for the safety of the neighborhood, might be
one factor in explaining this perception.
When identifying problems in their neighborhood, the respondents listed crimes of
nuisance and disorder as higher problems than more serious crimes, such as shootings
and violent attacks. The broken windows theory (Wilson and Kelling, 1982) could
be applied to this situation. The deterioration of neighborhood conditions could be
influencing residents perceptions to see their neighborhood as a bad place to live in
the future. The top three problems they identified were: (1) litter and trash in their
area; (2) parents who do not supervisor their children; and, (3) landlords or tenants not
maintaining their property.
Perhaps they are feeling helpless and having little control over the problems they
identified in their neighborhood. Even though they can go out and pick up trash and
litter, the problem is continuous (and this is perhaps discouraging for respondents).
The other two issues they identified (parents not supervising their children and
landlords or tenants not maintaining their property) are problems they may perceive as
having even less direct affect or control over. Creative solutions around trash bins,
locations of these containers, and other litter issues will be one of the residents next
It would be interesting to further explore this finding with the residents. Data suggests
that those who were aware of the 1996 effort, while small in terms of sample size,
view the situation as hopeless. They report the problems are returning because of the
lack of care and attitude of some residents, the unsupervised children, the roaming
groups of youth, the high turnover of people in residences, and landlords not
maintaining their properties. These findings, however, support what the majority of
respondents reported in the survey as problems in their neighborhood. This would
suggest the next steps in the community policing effort is to pursue working with
residents to creatively address youth and landlord problems.
In addition, these findings demonstrate the reality that most community policing
requires ongoing efforts to maintain or sustain the level of accomplishments in a
neighborhood. It would be interesting to study how many community policing
projects have resulted in a one-time fix. There are probably more cases of some level
of ongoing policing in successful community policing efforts.
The two surveys conducted in this area, the one by the NPU in 1996 and this survey,
cannot demonstrate that it was drawn from the same respondents. However, it is
interesting to note the differences in responses of people who did not report being
victimized. In 1996, there was a strong sense of hopelessness and helplessness, as
compared to the second survey. In the first survey, residents reported fear of
retaliation, a sense of hopelessness that the neighborhood will not change, or they took
care of things in their own way. Residents in the second survey reported that they did
not think the police could help, they contacted the offending party themselves, they
did not see it as a crime (egging of house), or they did not want the hassle. The second
survey suggests that the fear and intimidation factors are not an issue (at least with this
It is not known what bias might have been introduced by having officers collect data.
Saturday afternoon a uniformed officer helped to distribute surveys, but otherwise the
officer who assisted on Tuesday was in street clothes with no visible gun. The officer
on Tuesday only identified herself as an employee of the CSPD. Residents also had to
sign a consent form to participate in the study, and the author had to identify herself as
an employee of the police department.
A possible impact is residents might be reluctant to report anything negative about the
police for fear of negative ramifications in future dealings with the police. However,
having officers present might have been a benefit because residents might have felt
safer to answer the door to a stranger. Also, it is the authors experience that some
residents who participated in the interview (versus completing the questionnaire
themselves) had no qualms sharing their problems and unhappiness with the police.
The data also shows that residents not only value the community policing approach in
solving neighborhood problems, but they also see a need for more officers on the
street and in crime prevention to continue these efforts. It suggests that while
residents support community policing (as demonstrated by wanting more crime
prevention officers), they also understand that directed activity is, or can be, a
component of the response piece in the S.A.R. A. model (as demonstrated in wanting
more officers on the street).
It would be interesting to further explore the relationships between residents value of
police services and community policing practices. The data suggests the residents can
be a part of the solution, but they also need officers. They know they have limited
powers in dealing with crime issues in their neighborhood, and they look to the police
for direct interdiction, by virtue of the fact that they eliminated the gang members in
1996, as well as maintaining a police presence in the community through routine
While these residents appear to value the problem solving approaches they also
understand the value of directed activity and arrests. It would be interesting to
understand the relationship between community members who have experienced the
partnership of community policing and their perceptions of prevention and directed
activity as compared to those who have not experienced the partnering of police and
community in solving problems. Data suggests that they understand the time and
effort it takes for police to engage in this approach by the fact they want more officers.
The important findings of this study are that residents believe they can prevent
property crimes and take responsibility for the safety of their own neighborhoods.
Those people who believe this also have a higher sense of quality of life in the
neighborhood, such as a reduced fear of crime and a higher level of interaction with
their neighbors. They also have a positive regard for the police and view them as
partners in solving crime issues, which involves trust and reflected in perceptions that
the police are doing a good job in resolving problems in the neighborhood. The fact
that these items were significantly related demonstrates that sustaining community
policing requires ongoing time and police interaction with the community. The
success of the Deerfield Hills POP project can be attributed to the ongoing partnership
between police and the community.
COLORADO SPRINGS CITIZEN SURVEY
This first set of questions is about your neighborhood and the residents.
1. When you think about the neighborhood where you live, do you think of: (Circle
a. your own block
b. a few blocks around your house
c. a section of Colorado Springs
d. the whole city
2. In general, how do you rate your neighborhood as a place to live? Would you
say: (Circle the letter)
3. How many years have you lived in this neighborhood? ______years. [If you have
lived at your residence less than one year, skip question (4) and go to question
4. (If you have lived at your place for more than one year.) Compared to a year ago,
is your neighborhood:
a. a better place to live
b. about the same
c. a worse place to live
5. All things considered, what do you think this neighborhood will be like a year
from now? Will it be: (Circle the letter)
a. a better place to live
b. about the same
c. a worse place to live
6. In some neighborhoods, people do things together and help each other. In other
neighborhoods, people usually go their own way. On a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being
very helpful and 1 being people going their own way, how would you rate the
people in your neighborhood being helpful to each other: (Circle the number)
1 2 3 4 5
People Go Very
their Own Way Helpful
7. How often do you talk to your neighbors when you are outside in your yard?
Would you say: (Circle the letter)
a. Very often
b. Somewhat Often
c. Very Seldom
8. How often do you get together with your neighbors to socialize at each others
homes, for example cookouts, parties, etc.? Would you say: (Circle the letter)
a. Very often
b. Somewhat often
c. Very Seldom
9. Are there organizations or groups in your neighborhood that try to deal with
neighborhood problems? (Circle the letter)
b. No [If they answer no or dont know, go to question (14)]
c. Dont know
10. What are the names of these organizations or groups?
11. Are you a member of this organization or group? (Circle the letter)
b. No [If you answer no. skip questions (12) and (13) go to question
12. How often do you attend meetings? Would you say: (Circle the letter)
13. Have the police been invited to attend these meetings? (Circle the letter)
a. Yes " ^ aa. If yes, did they attend: Yes No
c. Dont know
14.1 am going to read a list of things that are sometimes mentioned as problems in
peoples neighborhoods. After I read each response, please tell me whether you
think this is a big problem, some problem, or no problem in your
neighborhood. [Time reference is now. Please circle the letters for the citizen's
response. BP=big problem, SP=small problem, NP=no problem, DK=dont
know/refused] (Circle one for each letter)
a. Theft and burglary BP SP NP DK
b. Litter and trash BP SP NP DK
c. Vandalism of cars and property BP SP NP DK
d. Drugs BP SP NP DK
e. Gangs BP SP NP DK
f. Loitering BP SP NP DK
g. Abandoned buildings BP SP NP DK
h. Assaults in public BP SP NP DK
i. Domestic violence BP SP NP DK
j. Traffic violations BP SP NP DK
k. Public drinking BP SP NP DK
l. Bars or liquor stores attracting trouble makers BP SP NP DK
m. Graffiti, that is, writing or painting on walls BP SP NP DK
n. Police being rude, harassing citizens, or stopping BP SP NP DK
people without good reason
o. Disruption around schools; that is, youths BP SP NP DK
hanging around making noise, vandalizing, or starting fights
p. Truancy; that is, kids not being in school when BP SP NP DK
they should be
q. Shootings and other public violence BP SP NP DK
r. Cars being stolen BP SP NP DK
s. Violent attacks on neighborhood residents BP SP NP DK
t. Parents who dont supervise their children BP SP NP DK
u. Prostitution BP SP NP DK
v. Rowdy parties BP SP NP DK
w. Landlords or tenants not maintaining their BP SP NP DK
x. People ignoring rules about parking BP SP NP DK
y. Strangers coming into the neighborhood BP SP NP DK
and causing a disturbance
z. Excessive noise such as barking dogs or BP SP NP DK
The next set of questions will ask you about the people living in your neighborhood.
For each question, Id like you to tell me if you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or
15. Residents trust police enough to work together effectively on
neighborhood issues. Do you: (Circle the number)
1) Strongly agree
4) Strongly disagree
16. Residents can prevent property crimes before they occur. Do you: (Circle
1) Strongly agree
4) Strongly disagree
17. Residents are willing to take responsibility for the safety of their own
neighborhoods. Do you: (Circle the number)
1) Strongly agree
4) Strongly disagree
18. Residents are willing to work with the police to solve neighborhood
issues. Do you: (Circle the number)
1) Strongly agree
4) Strongly disagree
Now I would like to ask you some questions about crime in your neighborhood.
19. What would you say is the most important crime problem facing your
20. How have you chosen to deal v/ith this problem? Please respond yes or no
to the following questions. Have you: (Circle yes or no for each case)
a. Called the police Yes No
b. Done something to safeguard your property Yes No
c. Talked to neighbors about the problem Yes No
d. Ignore it Yes No
e. Talked to the offender Yes No
f. Other (specify) Yes No
21. How safe do you feel walking alone in your neighborhood after dark? Do
you feel: (Circle the letter)
a. Very safe
b. Somewhat safe
c. Somewhat unsafe
d. Very unsafe
22. How safe do you feel walking alone in your neighborhood during the day?
Do you feel: (Circle the letter)
a. Very safe
b. Somewhat safe
c. Somewhat unsafe
d. Very unsafe
23. How often does your concern for safety prevent you from doing things you
would like to do in your neighborhood? (Circle the letter)
a. Very often
24. Have you been a victim of crime while living at your current address? (Circle
a. Yes b. No
aa. If the answer is yes, what year did this occur? ___
bb. Did you report this crime to the police?
cc. Why or why not?
These next questions are about the Colorado Springs Police Department.
25. On a normal day, how likely is it that you will see a police officer in your
neighborhood? Is it: (Circle the letter)
a. very likely
b. somewhat likely
c. somewhat unlikely
d. very unlikely
26. Are you aware of any efforts by the police in your neighborhood to try new
ways to work with the community to solve problems? Would you say: (Circle
c. Dont know
27. How would you rate the job the police are doing in terms of working with
people in your neighborhood to solve neighborhood problems? Are the police
doing an: (Circle the letter)
a. Excellent job
c. Fair job
e. Dont know
Please indicate whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree
with the following statements:
28. I think the police should put more officers on the streets? Do you: (Circle the
a. Strongly agree
d. Strongly disagree
I think the police should have more officers working on crime prevention
efforts such as school crime education programs, attending community
meetings, citizen safety training opportunities, and other protective type
programs. Do you: (Circle the letter)
a. Strongly agree
d. Strongly disagree
I think citizens must take more responsibility for the safety of their
neighborhoods. Do you: (Circle the letter)
a. Strongly agree
d. Strongly disagree
31. More police alone can never solve the problems of crime. Do you: (Circle the
a. Strongly agree
d. Strongly disagree
32. The Colorado Springs Police are quite open to the opinions of the citizens. Do
you: (Circle the letter)
a. Strongly agree
d. Strongly disagree
The next questions are about a community and police effort that occurred in your
neighborhood in 1996 to address some specific crime problems:
33. Did you know that the community and police were working on crime related
problems in your neighborhood in 1996? [If they respond no, go to
question (41)] (Circle the letter)
34. Can you tell me what the problems were at that time?
Please respond yes or no to the following questions in reference to your answer
in question (34): [Y=yes; N=no; DK=dont know] (Circle the letter for each
a. Did the police work with the residents to resolve those problems? Y N DK
b. Did you attend any community meetings to discuss those problems
with police officers? Y N DK
c. Did the police give you suggestions or information on how you
could assist in resolving those problems? Y N DK
35. What type of role would you say you played in addressing those problems in
your neighborhood? (Circle the letter)
a. A significant role
b. Somewhat of a role
c. No role at all
36. Would you say the police effort: (Circle the letter)
a. Significantly improved the problems in the neighborhood
b. Slightly improved the problems in the neighborhood
c. Didnt improve the problems at all
37. Please respond yes or no to the following questions- Would you say that
because of this joint effort with the police, you: (Circle the yes or no)
a. Feel closer to police Yes No
b. Will call the police whenever you see something
unusual in your neighborhood Yes No
c. Think less of the police Yes No
d. Other (specify)_______________________________ Yes No
38. Since that effort in 1996, do you attend community meetings? (Circle the letter)
a. Yes aa If yes, then how many: ________
39. Since that effort in 1996, have you seen any of those problems return to your
neighborhood? (Circle the letter) (Circle the letter)
d. Dont know
40. Why do you think this is?
The last set of questions are about you:
41. In what year were you bom? 19______
42. What is your race or ethnic background? (Circle the letter)
e. Native American
f. Other (specify)_____________________
43. What is the highest grade of school or level of education you have completed:
(Circle the letter)
a. no school or kindergarten
b. grades 1 to 11
c. GED or other equivalency
d. high school
e. some college
f. college degree (have a bachelors, associates, nursing, or any other
kind of college degree)
g. some post-graduate school
h. master's degree
i. any doctorate or medical degree
j. vocational or technical school beyond high school
44. What are you currently doing for a living? [Open resopnse. Circle/document
how the participant responds.] (Circle the letter)
a. employed full-time
b. employed part-time
c. unemployed, but seeking work
b. unemployed, but not seeking work
e. a homemaker
f. a full-time student
45. Are you currently: (Circle the letter)
a. married e. separated
b. living with someone as a couple f. single, never married
46. How many people, including yourself, live in your household?
47. How many people below the age of 18 live in your household?
48. Do you: (Circle the letter)
a. own this residence
b. rent this residence
49. In what kind of housing unit do you live: (Circle the letter)
a. single family home
b. a duplex
Are you: (Circle the letter)
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Residents can Prevent Crime by Better Place to Live Today
Better Place to Live Today
Residents can Prevent Crime A better place to live About the same A worse place to live Total
Strongly agree 46.2% 5.7% 28.6% 18.2%
Agree 53.8% 60.0% 57.1% 58.2%
Disagree 0% 34.3% 14.3% 23.6%
Strongly disagree 0% 0% 0% 0%
Total 13 35 7 55
Chi square significant at .01 level (p= 007)
Residents can Prevent Crime by Neighbors are Helpful
Neighbors are Helpful
Residents can prevent crime Helpful Somewhat Helpful People neither go their own way or help People somewhat go their own way People go their own way Total
Strongly agree 9.1% 13.3% 12.0% 33.3% 44.4% 18.8%
Agree 45.5% 66.7% 72.0% 44.4% 44.4% 59.4%
Disagree 45.5% 20.0% 16.0% 22.2% 11.1% 21.7%
Strongly disagree 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Total 11 15 25 9 9 69
Chi square significant at .05 level (p=.027)
Residents can Prevent Crime by Residents Responsibility for Safety
Residents Responsible for Safety
Residents can prevent crime Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Total
Strongly agree 46.2% 15.8% 11.1% 0% 20.3%
Agree 46.2% 68.4% 50.0% 0% 59.4%
Disagree 7.7% 15.8% 38.9% 0% 20.3%
Strongly disagree 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Total 13 38 18 69
Chi square significant at .01 level (p= 006)
Residents can Prevent Crime by Residents Willing to Work with Police
Resic lents Willing to Work with Police
Residents can prevent crime Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Total
Strongly agree 45.5% 18.4% 0% 0% 20.3%
Agree 36.4% 65.3% 42.9% 50.0% 58.0%
Disagree 18.2% 16.3% 57.1% 50.0% 21.7%
Strongly disagree 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Total 11 49 7 2 69
Chi square significant at .05 level (p= 012)
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