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Police Patrol Essay

Section 1 – Introduction

Indeed, the safety and prosperity of local communities is dependent upon, in large part, a prevention of criminal activity.  It is in safe communities that businesses grow and prosper, people bring their families to live, and others like to visit.  With this in mind, the classic way to ensure that communities are free of crime is through the use of police patrol.  It is the police presence that has typically kept crime in check (Sklansky).  However, the financial cost of police patrol often makes such protection quite difficult to put into action.  In this research, the cost of police patrol will be examined through the discussion of the following article:

Farrell, Graham, Erin Lane, Ken Clark, and Andromachi Tseloni. “What Does the World Spend on Policing? [*].” International Journal of Comparative Sociology (2001): 59.

Conversely, alternative methods of crime prevention, aside from the use of the conventional police patrol will be examined through the discussion of this article:

Rubin, Herbert J. “Economic Partnering with the Poor: Why Local Governments Should Work with Community-Based Development Organizations to Promote Economic Development.” International Journal of Public Administration 23.9 (2000): 1679.

Additional sources will be cited where necessary to ultimately make the point that while police patrol is important, it is costly, and there are other methods/resources that can be tapped into to complement the effectiveness of police patrols without exceeding budgets or overextending the ability of small police forces to accomplish what they need to accomplish.

Section 2 — The Main Points of the Two Articles

Farrell, Graham, Erin Lane, Ken Clark, and Andromachi Tseloni. “What Does the World Spend on Policing? [*].” International Journal of Comparative Sociology (2001): 59.

The main point of this article are that internationally, in small and large nations alike, the total amount of money spent on policing and crime prevention totals in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and with that, the question of whether or not that money is well spent.  Additionally, the article discusses the role of civilians in the process of preventing crime, which reduces the burden on the conventional police patrol.

Rubin, Herbert J. “Economic Partnering with the Poor: Why Local Governments Should Work with Community-Based Development Organizations to Promote Economic Development.” International Journal of Public Administration 23.9 (2000): 1679.

In close relation to the first article, this article makes the point that among other governmental organizations, local police agencies should work with community-based, civilian organizations to achieve the goal of fighting crime, which is one of the main reasons for the existence of police patrols themselves.

Section 3 – Comparison and Contrast of the Two Articles

The two articles chosen for this research do in fact possess similarities and differences which, ironically, all contribute to making the point that police patrols are effective and necessary, but would not be effective, and indeed cannot be effective, if they are overburdened by too much work for too few officers, or if the police organizations are unduly restrained by a lack of economic resources.

First, the Farrell article weighs the cost of police patrol against the results that are obtained for the money that is spent.  Far from saying that police patrols are ineffective, the article says that overburdened police patrols are ineffective, and therefore, in lieu of money that does not exist, police patrols should be aided by community/civilian resources whenever possible.

Following on the heels of the first article, the Rubin article makes the very important point that local police agencies, if faced with a lack of funds, should work more closely with community organizations in order to achieve effective crime prevention and apprehension of criminal offenders after the fact.

In a roundabout way, both articles do in fact make the same point; if police patrols are to be effective in the future as they have been in the past, they will need some help.  The answer is not to overextend patrols or to cut them due to underfunding, but rather to collaborate more closely with the community for the mutual benefit of both.  The modern police force faces challenges that those of the past did not; increasing need for diversity in police forces, additional personnel because of the increases in crime, and population increases make the scope of the traditional police patrol much more complicated and expensive than ever before (Sklansky).  Also significant is the huge cost of the processing of criminal cases in courts of law due to the increasing complexity of criminal law (Frodsham)

Section 4 – Conclusion

Based on the analysis of these articles and accompanying additional resources, the conclusion has been reached that police patrols are very effective, if and only if they are either properly funded or if they are assisted by civilians and community organizations in the absence of adequate funding.  Therefore, in conclusion, police patrols should be continued, and should be supported by communities if they are to continue to properly function.


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