Solving Complex Community Problems
The United States Department of Justice defines community policing as “a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.”
People who are experienced at addressing neighborhood and community-based problems know that issues often require a collaborative effort of stakeholder groups and more than a “quick fix.”
The SARA model is widely applicable to problems faced by many neighborhoods and has produced excellent results for hundreds of communities across the United States. It establishes a collaborative, systematic process to address issues of community safety and helps to introduce innovative and long-term solutions.
In order to establish an effective long-term solution, the cause(s) of a problem and the underlying factors must be accurately identified. This is the basis for the problem solving framework known as the SARA model. The implementation of the SARA model requires that:
- All levels of the organization, including management and personnel, support community partnerships and proactive problem-solving efforts. The SARA model and community policing are founded on the principle that law enforcement and communities must work together to address complex community problems.
- Information systems are available to support the implementation of evidence based practices. In 2008, RDA developed a web-based SARANET software package to provide the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the Community Policing Initiative with access to quality and timely information and ensure that officers and supervisors are informed about the crime and community conditions throughout their beats.