Paper: “Community policing does not build citizen trust in police or reduce crime in the Global South”. MIT News provided coverage of this publication and the article is available online. A small subsection of the research article summary, including the abstract and structured abstract, is available below.
Community policing does not build citizen trust in police or reduce crime in the Global South
Authors: Graeme Blair, Jeremy M. Weinstein, Fotini Christia, Eric Arias, Emile Badran, Robert A. Blair, Ali Cheema, Ahsan Farooqui, Thiemo Fetzer, Guy Grossman, Dotan Haim, Zulfiqar Hameed, Rebecca Hanson, Ali Hasanain, Dorothy Kronick, Benjamin S. Morse, Robert Muggah, Fatiq Nadeem, Lily L. Tsai, Matthew Nanes, Tara Slough, Nico Ravanilla, Jacob N. Shapiro, Barbara Silva, Pedro C. L. Souza, Anna M. Wilke
Is it possible to reduce crime without exacerbating adversarial relationships between police and citizens? Community policing is a celebrated reform with that aim, which is now adopted on six continents. However, the evidence base is limited, studying reform components in isolation in a limited set of countries, and remaining largely silent on citizen-police trust. We designed six field experiments with Global South police agencies to study locally designed models of community policing using coordinated measures of crime and the attitudes and behaviors of citizens and police. In a preregistered meta-analysis, we found that these interventions led to mixed implementation, largely failed to improve citizen-police relations, and did not reduce crime. Societies may need to implement structural changes first for incremental police reforms such as community policing to succeed.
At a time when police departments around the world are considering reform efforts to foster greater trust between citizens and the police, it is more important than ever to ask hard questions about the evidence base for the most popular reform proposals. In contexts with limited incentives and resources to change, the results of our coordinated experiments deliver a clear message. Community policing does not, at least immediately and on its own, lead to major improvements in citizen-police relations or reductions in crime. Structural reforms to the police may be needed to successfully reduce crime while building greater police accountability to citizens.
Access the complete research article summary in Science online.