Compton 4 COPS

Community-Based Crime Fighting in Disadvantaged Racially and Ethnically Diverse Urban Communities

by Ron L. Dowell

Compton 4 COPS

Compton 4 COPS

Community-Based Crime Fighting in Disadvantaged Racially and Ethnically Diverse Urban Communities

by Ron L. Dowell

Published Jun 16, 2010
242 Pages
Genre: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration


Book Details

COMPTON 4 COPS How to Achieve Community-Oriented Policing in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

Ron L. Dowell, a lifelong resident of the Watts and Compton areas of Los Angeles, has witnessed from the ground level the devastation wrought by two major riots, both sparked by incidents involving the police. With nearly four decades in public service—including 18 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department—Mr. Dowell has a unique perspective on what it takes to prevent rebellion and effectively serve urban communities. COMPTON 4 COPS was written to help communities make improvements in public safety service delivery. It looks at the most effective (and ineffective) methods of policing and controlling crime in disadvantaged, racially and ethnically diversified urban communities, including how to:

• Reduce and prevent crime

• Bridge the racial divide, and improve relations between community members and local law enforcement

• Increase feelings of safety and trust

• Provide satisfaction that justice is being served

This community-oriented policing model is a promising start to a new way of “policing from the inside.”


Book Excerpt

Since the public does not have a consistent or even coherent set of expectations for the police to fulfill, a one-size-fits-all approach to policing service that was designed for the majority ethnic or racial group is no longer tenable.

I advocate ways that policing can be improved to satisfy the goals of reducing crime, reducing citizens’ fears, and satisfying victims that justice is done, particularly in racially and ethnically diverse disadvantaged communities.

Other authors, notably Braga and Weisburd, have described in their book, Police innovation: Contrast­ing perspectives, the various policing models now in use. They have not however offered a historical perspective that traces many modern police practices to innovations developed during the American period of slavery. Those authors also have not prominently discussed the problem of building trust nor have they explored the class and race context of American policing as practiced in today’s environment.

Other authors have not written from the perspective of one who has experienced urban policing as both service recipient and service provider.

No one has so thoroughly reviewed the problem of policing in an urban environment from the policy prospective of the servicing agency or department. Public policy makers, city officials, police managers, crime analyst, security personnel, and anyone concerned with urban policing suggestions for efficiently managing public dollars and improving the effectiveness of delivering police services in some poor communities compose the chief markets for this book.

The methods used to collect information for this book were primarily archival in nature and consisted of library and Internet searches. Scholarly articles, peer-reviewed journals, unpublished master’s theses, and similar documents were reviewed to gather relevant information. Other sources included personal work experience and observations, world travel, and experiences gained while living my entire life in socially and economically disadvantaged and racially diverse communities.

Following a description of the problem and methods used in preparing this book, a comprehensive literature review is offered. Chapter 2 begins by tracing the origins and early innovations of the predominant policing model or style used in the United States today. The examination includes discussion of underlying philosophical, theoretical, and strategic bases of current policing styles and innovations. Included also is discussion of the early reform efforts to eliminate police corruption.

Chapter 3 speaks to the more recent policing innovations and explores community-oriented (COP) and problem oriented policing (POP). Considered to be proactive policing, COP has shown to increase police legitimacy among many minorities while POP makes the problem the focus of much police activity. The problem of fear, both of crime and of the police is delved into. The philosophical and practical bases of COP and POP are examined.

Chapter 4 examines what is considered reactive or traditional recent innovation manifestations such as broken windows; pulling levers; hot spots; and Compstat policing. Policing based on empirical findings is also discussed.

Next Chapter 5 examines and explores minority perceptions of government and police legitimacy, along with the role and responsibilities within police-community relationships. The book addresses the unique patterns of crime and disorder and fear of crime that are of concern to residents of disadvantaged racially and ethnically diverse urban communities and illustrates many policy and practice inhibitors associated with agencies attempt to address them.

Chapter 6 includes information on what works in similar communities. The book concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings, based on the literature, and presents recommendations for future research.


About the Author

Ron L. Dowell

Ron L. Dowell was employed for 38 years with Los Angeles County, first as a Department of Mental Health community worker, and last as a professional manager in the Sheriff’s Department, where he earned two Master’s degrees from California State University Long Beach. His degrees are in Criminal Justice and Emergency Services Administration.

Ron also holds undergraduate degrees from California State University Dominguez Hills in Business Administration (B.S.) and Anthropology and Behavioral Science (B.A.). He has taught undergraduate statistics at Woodbury University in Glendale, CA.