The Shortcomings Of Community Based Policing And Crime Prevention Initiatives

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Current community centered policing and crime prevention initiatives continue to operate under the guise of the decentralisation of police and state power. Crawford (1995) explains, “embodied in the appeals to community…are unresolved decentralising and re-centralising tendencies” (p. 119). Community based programs of governance through crime have failed to be realized in any meaningful way. Rather, community based crime initiatives are inherently and fundamentally flawed. In what is to follow, the notion of re-centralisation through decentralisation will be discussed in relation to: naming or definitional problems and power imbalances. Issues of naming and defining are central to the shortcomings of community based policing and crime prevention. There are two terms or concepts that need to be evaluated: crime and community. Before communities can begin to mobilize for the purposes of self-governing, it is necessary to evaluate what it is they are supposed to be governing. Hulsman (1986) outlines what it means to problematize and reject the concept of crime. By accepting crime as a fact, we become stuck in a catascopic view of society and this makes us dependent on the institutional framework of the criminal justice system (Hulsman, 1986, p. 68). Crime, then, has no ontological reality; crime is the product of criminal policy (Hulsman, 1986, …show more content…
112). However, as was exemplified in Stewart (2011), relationships between community members and agency professionals are structured by power differentials (Crawford, 1995, p. 114). Current community policing in contemporary society does not situate police and communities as co-equal partners. The government has sought to mobilise the community and active citizen, while also avoiding devolving the central government of any substantial responsibility and power (Crawford, 1995, p.

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