Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Building Police/Community Relations through Virtual Communities

Building Police/Community Relations through Virtual Communities
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Author(s): Susan A. Baim (Miami University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 7
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch070


View Building Police/Community Relations through Virtual Communities on the publisher's website for pricing and purchasing information.


Over the past two decades, police departments around the globe have been involved in a slow, but steady transition from call-based policing to community-oriented policing. The former approach, while effective at closing cases once a crime has occurred, does little to develop crime prevention partnerships between officers on the beat and the citizens of local communities. Community-oriented policing serves to increase awareness of issues and potential problems before they occur, thus assisting police departments to provide a more proactive approach to stopping crime within their communities. One of the greatest difficulties in developing effective community-oriented policing programs is establishing solid, two-way communications links between police officers and the populations that they serve. Information flow to the police and suggestions back to the citizenry often fall victim to the same constraints—lack of time to interact effectively and lack of a ready-made mechanism to deliver the information in a timely manner. To reduce or eliminate these constraints, interactive police department Web sites and virtual communities (that involve both police officers and citizens) can provide actionable and measurable performance increases in the efficiencies and the effectiveness of community-oriented policing efforts. Although the IT hardware, software, and design expertise needed to create interactive Web sites and virtual communities are readily available, online efforts at community-oriented policing will remain more of a theoretical interest than a broad-scale application until police departments truly understand the needs and the wants of the citizens within their local communities. This article explores a service-learning approach for use in a university classroom that combines IT applications with current research practices in the use of citizen satisfaction surveys conducted for local police departments. Examples are drawn from three primary-based research studies involving police departments that are turning away from call-based policing practices and proactively moving toward community- oriented policing practices.

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