Set of questions can guide local decisions


A 1994 report prepared by the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington includes questions that point to issues that can be addressed through law enforcement level-of-service standards:

Should greater efforts to address the root causes of crime be made? To what extent might reductions in unemployment or percent under poverty level, and increases in educational level be measures of community security?

To what extent should a larger percentage of resources be devoted to a problem-solving emphasis (search for and correcting the cause of or contributing factors to a problem) rather than a focus on rapid incident response?

To what extent may standards for community design and land use (outside of a police department's control) be a significant factor in crime reduction and police performance?

To what extent can "output" or performance measures be fairly applied to measure the quality of a community's police service?

Departments are urged to examine such factors that have "significant influence" on crime rates.

"Simply putting more policemen on the beat has not always brought the desired reduction," the report says.


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