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The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment

The Newark Foot Patrol Experiment

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Published by PoliceFoundation
The results of this experiment suggest that while foot patrol may not reduce crime, it reduces citizen fear of crime. Residents see their communities as safer and better places to live, and are more satisfied with police services.

In a country besieged by criminal activity related to the burgeoning illicit drug trade, police departments across the country are confronted by a difficult challenge–how to do more with less. While fiscal constraints force departments to cut back their service, crime rates and citizen demands for service continue to increase. Police departments must find more cost-efficient and productive ways to do their job.

One service frequently demanded by citizens is foot patrol. They often associate foot patrol with the "good old days" when crime rates were low and they felt perfectly safe in their neighborhoods. Most citizens like frequent, close contact with the police; they may feel more secure when officers are visible and on the street.

But for years, police departments rejected foot patrol as antiquated, expensive, and irrelevant to contemporary policing. In most cities, it was not an integral part of police patrol strategy. It carried low status among officers, was often regarded as a "public relations" activity, and was frequently used to punish poor performance.

In 1973, the New Jersey state legislature passed the Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Act. Unique in the nation and aptly named, this legislation sought to create safe, clean neighborhoods. Foot patrol was specifically mandated as part of an effort to expand the presence and visibility of police protection.

At the invitation of the Governor of New Jersey, the Police Foundation evaluated foot patrol in 28 New Jersey cities. Newark was selected as the primary evaluation site. The evaluation began in February 1978 and ended in January 1979.
The results of this experiment suggest that while foot patrol may not reduce crime, it reduces citizen fear of crime. Residents see their communities as safer and better places to live, and are more satisfied with police services.

In a country besieged by criminal activity related to the burgeoning illicit drug trade, police departments across the country are confronted by a difficult challenge–how to do more with less. While fiscal constraints force departments to cut back their service, crime rates and citizen demands for service continue to increase. Police departments must find more cost-efficient and productive ways to do their job.

One service frequently demanded by citizens is foot patrol. They often associate foot patrol with the "good old days" when crime rates were low and they felt perfectly safe in their neighborhoods. Most citizens like frequent, close contact with the police; they may feel more secure when officers are visible and on the street.

But for years, police departments rejected foot patrol as antiquated, expensive, and irrelevant to contemporary policing. In most cities, it was not an integral part of police patrol strategy. It carried low status among officers, was often regarded as a "public relations" activity, and was frequently used to punish poor performance.

In 1973, the New Jersey state legislature passed the Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Act. Unique in the nation and aptly named, this legislation sought to create safe, clean neighborhoods. Foot patrol was specifically mandated as part of an effort to expand the presence and visibility of police protection.

At the invitation of the Governor of New Jersey, the Police Foundation evaluated foot patrol in 28 New Jersey cities. Newark was selected as the primary evaluation site. The evaluation began in February 1978 and ended in January 1979.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: PoliceFoundation on May 28, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/25/2014

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