The COPS Office defines community policing as "a policing philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police-community partnerships." Professor Herman Goldstein, an early founder of the problem-oriented approach, has said that through careful analysis "what is freshly learned about each problem will lead to discovering a new and more effective strategy for dealing with it. Problem-oriented policing places a high value on new responses that are preventive in nature" and engaging other partners when their involvement has the potential to significantly contribute to the reduction of that problem.
COPS has made a significant investment to increase the capability of state and local law enforcement to solve crime problems. In the past two years, the COPS Office has produced 20 Problem-Oriented Guides for Police (POP Guides) and plans to release 30 more. These easy-to-read guides cover a broad spectrum of crime problems, from drug dealing to acquaintance rape to loud car stereos. They help law enforcement diagnose local crime problems and develop effective responses to reduce the problem. Recently, the COPS Office funded the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing to serve as a clearinghouse of problem-solving tools and information. In addition, the COPS Office has invested over $163 million in fighting specific local crime problems with its Anti-Gangs, Domestic Violence, Youth Firearms Violence Initiative, Problem Solving Partnerships and School-Based Partnership programs.
The COPS Office has assembled a variety of resources to assist law enforcement in solving specific crime problems. These include guides and reports, training and technical assistance, and links to other resources.