In Community-Based Integration Policing Programs, does integration create observation, or vice versa?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this is an interesting dynamic raised.  The Neighborhood Watch Program was originally developed as an element in which the community observation helped to develop integration with the policing unit.  The communities were approached by the traditional police enforcement mechanisms.  Yet, the integration began to happen when citizens recognized that through observation and reporting, there can be a more cohesive approach present to fighting crime and protecting one's neighborhood from criminal elements.  The integration can only be seen when there is observation and acting from that observation. Communities that feature a low response to Neighborhood Watch programs or do not report their observation are not as effective in community policing initiatives.  This demonstrates how observation leads to integration, an element that stresses that it must come from the community, from the "bottom up."  In 2001, when Attorney General John Ashcroft helped to merge the War on Terror with Community- Based Integration Policing Programs, he understood that the integration can only happen when "Neighborhood Watch Programs would be furnished with information that will enable citizens to recognize and report signs of potential terrorist activities."  This helps to bring out the idea that observation is where integration happens.  When citizens are able to understand that their observation has relevance and meaning, integration results. 

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