Factors to determine the effectiveness of the program
The level of effectiveness of the crime reduction program lies mainly with the components of community policing and the degree of approach. Programs that are problem oriented mainly with the community playing an active role in the program have been known to be effective (Braga, 2008). The community needs to be aware of the problem, relate to it and be encouraged to be part of the solution. Despite the fact that the community is usually aware of the issues affecting them, the police have to be committed in showing value and worth of their efforts to be involved in the program. People require to be assured of their security, confidentiality, if necessary, and freedom in their involvement in . This is mainly because the perpetrators of crime may target the community members involved in crime reduction program. In addition, the program being problem oriented has to take into consideration the main focus on the problem and avoid shifting to other matters (Barga, 2008).
Community policing relies on partnerships among the various stakeholders with the main one being that between the police and the community. The efficiency of the partnership in fulfilling the mandate of the program is highly dependent on trust (Jersey Village Police, 2004). It is necessary that there is complete involvement of the partners mainly; the community, police, media, private businesses, and various agencies of the government. The partnerships in this program are based on commitment and discipline. This means that the parties involved and especially the police have to show consistent commitment to the program. Commitment of the parties such as the community members is motivated by the zeal of the other stakeholders in the program (Jersey Village Police, 2004). Commitment cannot be complete without fairness and transparency in the way the problem is solved. The police have to demonstrate commitment in meting out punishment against perpetrators that is equivalent to the crime committed. The involvement of the community is increased when the problem is accorded the seriousness it deserves in terms of offering severe punishment to perpetrators of crime to serve as examples. Fairness is also necessary in terms of taking the of the class or influence of the perpetrators (Hartnett & Skogan, 1997).
The transformation of institutions is necessary to develop structure mechanisms that foster the success of the program. The structure of the agency and management has to be transformed to incorporate strategic planning, effective decision making processes, efficiency in organizational structure and evaluation, conducive culture and climate, effective labor relations and effective policies while upholding transparency and good leadership. There is need for de-specialization of the officers assignments geographically. Since crime reduction program encompasses many issues, the resources needed have to be available in adequate amounts with mechanisms established for support of the same. Professionalism and competence have to be upheld while recruiting, training and evaluating the personnel. It is also very necessary to adopt effective technology so as to improve the quality and accuracy of data as well as efficiency in communication and data access. The personnel recruitment, training and evaluation process has to be free, fair and transparent. This is necessary so as to increase the confidence of the public and other stakeholders regarding the competence of the police (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010).
Hartnett and Skogan (1997) assert that the success of the program is dependent on decentralization of the organizational structure of the police department so as to ensure concentration on crucial matters. The aim of this process is to increase interactions between the police and community as well as minimize the time and resources used in bureaucratic process followed in handling of crime. They further emphasize on the need for improved communication channels for the public, adoption of broad based approaches to issues of the neighborhood and a commitment in response to community priorities. The need for adequacy of the necessary resources is emphasized by Barga (2008) so as to allow concentration on crucial matters and to adequately and conclusively solve problems. He also asserts that it is necessary to follow up the program even after the problem has been solved. This serves to create stable mechanisms that do not allow for a repeat of crimes.
The main purpose of crime reduction program is the solving of the problem of crime and related issues. The effectiveness of the program thus largely depends on the manner in which crime and related problems are dealt with. It is necessary to identify problems conclusively for the development and evaluation of responses that could be effective. The process has to involve: evaluation to identify and prioritize problems, analysis through in-depth research, development of solutions, evaluation of responses and eventual focus on the victim, the offender and the crime location (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). The process of problem solving is critical and thus the information relied upon has to be up-to-date, reliable and kept confidential for security purposes.
Effects of the program
Once the necessary factors for the success of the program are in place, normally positive results and impact is indispensable. This leads to the fulfillment of the goals of the program especially improving the quality of life for the residents. The main aim of the program being addressing the problems in the community, the highest effect is in adequately solving the problems it was set to address (Barga, 2008).
An effective program increases the levels of trust of the community towards the police. In this case they are empowered to raise their concerns, make contributions in terms of ideas and advice while being actively involved in taking actions to address neighborhood issues (Jersey Village Police, 2004). Overall, the community experiences harmony and a conducive environment for the people to coexist and interact. The freedom and the community to concentrate on their personal and community development thus affecting the overall growth and development of the community and state as a whole.