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by Peter Moskos

March 8, 2010

Foot Patrol Working in Philly

It's always tough when you know something but can't convince others.

I know foot patrol works. At least I think I know. I've done it.

But there's so little research out there. There's no reason we should all still be quoting a study from 30 years ago (which did show that foot patrol reduced public fear).

Foot patrol has worked in New York (it would work better without quotas). And now there's some research by Jerry Ratcliffe coming out of Philadelphia. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Temple's study, which covered three months, showed a 22 percent drop in crime in areas covered by the foot patrols. Arrests were up 13 percent.

As in other major cities, crime has been on a decline in Philadelphia. Violent crime - down in all but three districts - dropped 7 percent citywide in 2009 compared with 2007, with homicide down 23 percent and aggravated assault down 4 percent.


Bob G. said...

Having been born and raised in Philly (now living in Ft. Wayne, IN), I remmeber the foot patrols we used to have.
The call boxes along the telephone poles...the knowledge that whatever officer was "walking the beat" knew damn near everyone ON his beat, so that enabled the officer a unique perspective as a LEO, or even as acting to negotiate a simple dispute.

Even as children, we felt a LOT more protected as a result.
Glad to see they're returning to this.

Time was, it used to be that officers LIVED in areas they used to patrol.
Today, it's 8 hrs in the "badlands", then back to the burbs...all behind the wheel of the sector car.
Can't get to KNOW an area as well that way, can you?

I've felt for a LONG time that the "detachment" from driving a cruiser kept the populace "at arm's length", as it were.
There is a form of "intimacy" involved with working a specific neighborhood (or beat) that simply cannot be achieved with a drive-by.

Good post.

Stay safe.

MisguidedPotential said...

I agree that foot patrol does work. However, while it has undeniably worked largely in NYC, in the two years I've lived in Washington Heights and Inwood, it's been incredibly rare to spot police officers (unless they are plainclothes officers conducting raids)in general, let alone actually on the two feet that God gave them. I don't think I've ever seen a group of or single officer(s) walking a beat on 145th street and above in Manhattan.