The Greenfield Police Department’s new mission statement emphasizes a community policing philosophy. The new chief has increased the authority and the responsibility of sergeants to identify and solve problems affecting the quality of life in Greenfield. You are the evening shift supervisor and have learned that the residents of the Senior Citizens Center are reluctant to venture out after dark. The Center is located in a low-crime neighborhood adjacent to a public park with walking paths. Evening walks in the park used to be a popular activity for the seniors, but no one uses the park now. The Center’s owner tells you the residents are worried about all the crime they see on the news and read about in the paper. They are also concerned about thefts from their cars in the parking lot. He says rumors of criminal activity spread quickly through the Center. The owner provides classes every month on how to avoid being a crime victim. He also installed new security doors and cameras.
You gather the officers on your shift to discuss the situation. They tell you there is no crime problem in the area of the Center. The crime statistics support the officers. There has been one car window broken in the Center’s parking lot during the last year, and a few kids have been told not to skateboard through the lot on their way to the park. An officer remarks that the kids dress rather oddly and sport some strange haircuts, but they’re good kids who stay out of trouble. Officers state that they patrol the area constantly and conduct frequent traffic enforcement on the street in front of the Center. They flash their red lights to make sure the residents see them in the area. The officers tell you the residents have exaggerated the problem.
• Is there a crime problem at the Senior Citizens’ Center?
• Is fear reduction a police problem?
• What are some possible causes of fear of crime at the Center?
• What is missing in the current community-police relationship between the Greenfield Police department and the senior citizens?
• Suggest a community policing strategy to reduce the fear of crime at the Senior Citizens’ Center.