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Criminologist Lawrence W. Sherman in proposed the concept of evidence-based policing in 1998. It involves using best scientific evidence that relies on the facts to improve policing skills hence leading to crime reduction prevention. The law enforcers are evaluates statistically the outcomes as to whether the intended results are achieved. This policy has been facilitated by the improvement in technology particularly in the advancement of medicine in the institution of higher learning. This concept has its advantages and disadvantages.
It helps to reduce crime hence improving citizens' safety. This method addresses the problem indirectly leading to minimal effects. It prevents both present and future crimes. In this method, the present trends of crimes are analyzed to predict on the future crimes. The helps them develop the appropriate method of curbing these crimes. It helps develop close partnerships with the top higher learning institution with the police in undertaking the research. This ensures that the process is better, reliable and convenient in achieving its intended purpose through the continuous research in these institutions (Eck & Spelman, 1987). There is strong evidence against the culprit by using the modern technology like when using fingerprint evidence to identify that person was at the crime scene.
This method does value people's opinions, as to what they say to police matters a lot; instead, it bases its findings on research. For the police to be successful in their work, they have to work closely with the citizens because they live with the criminals. The communities have no role to play in this policy.
Needs a lot of time in to collect, implement and evaluate the data. The police always needs quick results due to ten political and public pressures for prompt and quick decisions.
It is limited to skilled researchers. Majority of police lack the skills in research and evaluation of information, thereby it is less relevant to them.
Research funding. Requires a lot of funds in training the police officers in how to evaluate and carry out research. The police officers have to be trained by the skilled people in the university on research.
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The best example is the research on the burglar alarms. It was found that officers wasted a lot of time and resources on responding to the burglar alarms that were caused by either mechanical or human error. Findings showed that 95% of these alarms were false either accidentally or error. This led to the implementation of the alarm ordinances that will penalize the alarm user for the false alarms. This resulted in the reduction of the false alarms hence giving patrol police a lot of time to respond to other crime prevention activities. Thanks to the success of this research by the police and helped them save a lot of time (Herman, 1979).
Another example of using evidence-based research by police in enforcement of street narcotics. Initially the police solved burglary and robbery by dealing with the problem directly using traditional techniques like saturation, stake-outs or even shooting the robbers. The research showed that high percentages of crimes were directly or indirectly related with narcotics. The police resulted to conducting community-based policies and programs on narcotics. The research helped them to know the indirect cause to the problem that is street-level narcotics. By solving the problem of narcotics, the crime rates reduced sharply hence helping the youths to engage in productive and constructive activities.
The evidence-based policing have been helpful in crime reduction and prevention as evident from the examples above. There is a need by the police to know the cause of the problem by conducting relevant research by using skilled officers. The officers have to be properly trained for the results of this method to be realized.
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