In the mid-1970s The State of New Jersey announced a “Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Program,” designed to improve the quality of community life in twenty-eight cities. As part of that program, the state provided money to help cities take police officers out of their patrol cars and assign them to walking beats.
Many police officers also disliked foot patrol, but for different reasons: it was hard work, it kept them outside on cold, rainy nights, and it reduced their chances for making a “good pinch. In some departments, assigning officers to foot patrol had been used as a form of punishment. Five years after the program started, the Police Foundation, in Washington, D.
Based on its analysis of a carefully controlled experiment carried out chiefly in Newark, the foundation concluded, to the surprise of hardly anyone, that foot patrol had not reduced crime rates. Newark were not fooled at all. But how can a neighborhood be “safer” when the crime rate has not gone down—in fact, may have gone up?
Finding the answer requires first that we understand what most often frightens people in public places. Many citizens, of course, are primarily frightened by crime, especially crime involving a sudden, violent attack by a stranger. This risk is very real, in Newark as in many large cities.
But we tend to overlook another source of fear—the fear of being bothered by disorderly people. What foot-patrol officers did was to elevate, to the extent they could, the level of public order in these neighborhoods. Though the neighborhoods were predominantly black and the foot patrolmen were mostly white, this “order-maintenance” function of the police was performed to the general satisfaction of both parties. Newark foot-patrol officers to see how they defined “order” and what they did to maintain it.
No citizen in a neighborhood, background: Provide some context and key facts surrounding the problem. According to Nicklas Lundblad, this didn’t go over very well.
The people were made up of “regulars” and “strangers. Regulars included both “decent folk” and some drunks and derelicts who were always there but who “knew their place. Strangers were, well, strangers, and viewed suspiciously, sometimes apprehensively.