Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) emphasizes the use of analysis and assessment to address crime and disorder problems. The origins of the POP approach can be found in the work conducted by police scholar Herman Goldstein, and its application has led to promising practices in crime reduction strategies among police agencies across the nation and around the world.
POP offers police a multifaceted approach to solving problems and preventing new ones from occurring. For example, a key element of POP is the Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment (SARA) problem-solving process, from which police can develop informed responses that may reduce the number of incidents from occurring or the harm resulting from those incidents. The Problem Analysis Triangle offers yet another lens through which police can effectively analyze crime problems and develop solutions that remove opportunities for those crimes to occur.
The COPS Office supports the development of guidebooks and other publications, web-based tools, and conferences to help police benefit from a full spectrum of POP strategies. COPS Office funding of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing has resulted in the development of the www.popcenter.org web site, coordination of the Annual Problem-Oriented Policing Conferences, and the publication of more than 80 Problem-Oriented Guides for Police.
Known collectively as "POP Guides," the series helps police and other stakeholders understand how to apply POP to specific crime and disorder problems. Three types of POP Guides are available: Problem-Specific Guides explore how POP can be used to address a specific crime and disorder problem. Problem-Solving Tools summarize types of data collection and analysis techniques for police to use in POP projects. Response Guides explore when and where police should use specific responses and the consequences, advantages, and disadvantages to using them.
Since 1993, police agencies from around the world have documented and shared their efforts in using POP to resolve recurring crime and disorder problems by submitting their POP project for consideration in the Annual Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing. These submissions to the Goldstein Award program have resulted in the collection of case studies highlighting POP applications in the field.
The POP Center web site features interactive applications to help users learn about and use POP. For example, users can log on to the Problem Analysis Module, enter information for any POP problem, answer a series of questions, and receive a list of potential responses. The Street Prostitution Interactive Module presents a fictitious but realistic problem that allows users to analyze and assess community issues and develop responses. Users can browse through more than 100 real-life examples of situational crime prevention in the Situational Crime Prevention Evaluation Database.