Community policing is a widely-adopted policing strategy that aims to build trust between citizens and police, improve police legitimacy, and ultimately reduce crime. Community policing programs can vary in terms of their specific components, but common elements include increased foot patrols by police, town hall meetings with citizens and police, measures that make it easier to report crimes and abuse such as the establishment of phone hotlines, and problem-oriented policing that focuses on how to better address problems raised by citizens. Despite widespread enthusiasm among practitioners, researchers have only recently begun to study the effectiveness of community policing interventions in the global South. The results provide some cause for caution. EGAP’s multisite community policing experiment that took place in Brazil, Colombia, Liberia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Uganda provides no evidence that community policing interventions in these contexts led to major improvements in citizen-police relations or reductions in crime. Other studies suggest that community policing can sometimes improve trust in the police and increase crime reporting, but that the effects may depend on contextual factors such as the presence of non-state actors and pre-existing levels of access to police.
Community Policing in Liberia Increased Reporting and Lowered Crime
The Effects of Community Policing on Trust in Police and Crime
Can Community Policing Improve Trust in the Police?
Can Community Policing Increase Dispute Resolution and Public Trust?
Building Trust and Improving Police Effectiveness
Building Public Trust Through Police-Community Meetings
Are there studies we are missing? Share them with us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org!
“Community policing does not build citizen trust in police or reduce crime in the Global South” by Graeme Blair, Jeremy Weinstein, Fotini Christia, Eric Arias, Robert A. Blair, Ali Cheema, Guy Grossman, Ali Hasanain, Nico Ravanilla, Jacob N. Shapiro, Tara Slough, Lily Tsai, Anna M. Wilke, Emile Badran, Ahsan Farooqui, Thiemo Fetzer, Dotan A. Haim, Zulfiqar Hameed, Rebecca Hanson, Dorothy Kronick, Benjamin S. Morse, Robert Muggah, Fatiq Nadeem, Matthew Nanes, Barbara Silva, and Pedro C.L. Souza
(Pre-analysis plan, Replication data, Ungated version)
“Family Matters: The Double-Edged Sword of Police-Community Connections” by Dotan Haim, Matthew Nanes, and Michael W. Davidson (Project overview, Ungated version)
“Establishing the rule of law in weak and war-torn states: Evidence from a field experiment with the Liberian National Police” by Robert Blair, Sabrina Karim, and Benjamin Morse (Pre-analysis plan, Replication data, Policy Report)
“Relational State Building in Areas of Limited Statehood: Experimental Evidence on the Attitudes of the Police” by Sabrina Karim (Replication data)
“Policing and the Legacies of Wartime State Predation: Evidence from a Survey and Field Experiment in Liberia” by Robert Blair and Benjamin Morse (Replication data)