Community policing promotes the systematic use of neighborhood-based policing and community partnerships to proactively address the causes of crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. Community policing recognizes that the people who live and work in a community are its most valuable resource, engaging that community in a collaborative, problem-solving process.
Overall crime rates in the United States have been declining for the past 20 years, and some U.S. cities are the safest they’ve been in 50 years. But progress has been uneven. In cities that have seen large reductions in crime, some neighborhoods struggle with the perception or reality that they are not safe, and certain categories of crime remain stubbornly persistent
In order to address issues of public safety, local law enforcement must strike a careful balance between protecting the public and safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. There are many innovative ways cities can create safe places and promote public safety.
Cities must address the legacy of racism, which all too often plays out in the law enforcement arena and associated policies. Unacceptably high rates of racial profiling continue to be reported despite efforts at all levels of government to reduce this practice and consistent public outcry.
Cities may adopt several best practices to begin combating poor policing practices, including city opposition to federal laws abridging individual rights and freedoms; combating racial profiling practices; adoption of community policies and practices; strengthening police accountability; and strategies to determine which communities need investment to improve public safety and community well-being.
In recent years, local law-enforcement agencies have been asked to play an increasingly significant role in immigration enforcement. Unfortunately, local enforcement of immigration law often comes at a very high cost to cities and can undermine local law enforcement efforts. Cities should remain attentive to changes affecting their jurisdictions and be vigilant in protecting local law enforcement interests from breaches of trust with immigrant communities.