Promoting Enhanced Public Participation and Community Engagement in Policing

  • James F. Albrecht


Many police organizations in western democracies have experienced reductions in street and violent crime rates over the last two decades. This enhanced effectiveness, which has been observed in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom since the mid-1990s, has been correlated with the increased use of technology and the employment of proactive, arrest-oriented strategies. In many jurisdictions, resources have been transitioned away from highly touted community policing efforts to investigative and enforcement units. While many law enforcement experts and administrators have viewed these initiatives as a ‘smarter’ form of policing, some advocates for predominantly minority neighborhoods have frequently alleged racial and ethnic bias and other abusive conduct at the hands of the police, most notably in larger metropolitan centers. The purpose of this paper will be to examine and identify practical options for direct community and victim engagement after highlighting legislation and practices that have been shown to increase transparency and police legitimacy in some western democracies. The findings of this review will support the need to enhance public and victim involvement in criminal justice processes as emphasized within the ‘left realism’ theory of justice and will examine options for incorporating this theory into practice.


Police community relations Critical criminology Police misconduct Crime victims 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. Albrecht
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Criminal Justice and Homeland SecurityPace UniversityNew YorkUSA

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