Explain what the acronym SARA stands for in regard to policing.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"SARA" is a problem-solving model commonly used in community-oriented policing. The acronym stands for Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment . The goal of the SARA model is to focus on changing a community's perceptions when it comes to its relationship with crime and law enforcement, rather than...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

"SARA" is a problem-solving model commonly used in community-oriented policing. The acronym stands for Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment. The goal of the SARA model is to focus on changing a community's perceptions when it comes to its relationship with crime and law enforcement, rather than focusing on the criminal justice aspect.

Scanning involves searching for recurring issues in a community. It requires analyzing data in terms of who frequent victims are, the severity and type of crimes, and when and where crimes are taking place. It also involves analyzing the community's perception of the problem and individuals' relationship to the crime and the police.

Next, law enforcement conducts an analysis of the problem. Crime reports are analyzed and community members consulted to determine the root cause of the crimes being committed in a community. These causes are often nuanced and complex. Therefore, this step in the process requires extensive and thorough research to complete.

Once a root cause has been identified, law enforcement can begin the response part of the process. Law enforcement works with community members to come up with a comprehensive and long-term plan to address problems. They strive to respond to the root causes of problems in such a way that prevents them from occurring in the first place.

Once the response is in place, law enforcement and community members conduct an ongoing assessment of their actions to evaluate its effectiveness. Adjustments are made if they are found to be appropriate and useful. Data is collected throughout the ongoing assessment.

The overall goal of SARA is to be a comprehensive system to work with a community to prevent a chronic problem from recurring. This is deemed more cost-effective and beneficial than addressing issues after the fact. If successful, the steps taken in a particular implementation of SARA can be applied in similar situations elsewhere.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The acronym “SARA” refers to a problem-solving model that is used by law enforcement but can also be used in a variety of other settings.  The letters in “SARA” stand for Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment.

Scanning is the process of trying to figure out what sorts of problems actually exist in the area for which the police are responsible.  Scanning involves the use of data about crime and other important factors.  The police look at the data and try to determine which kinds of crimes (and/or in which areas) are serious enough to be treated as priorities.

Analysis is the use of data to think about the problems identified in the first step of the process.  Here, police use the data to try to determine what factor or factors are causing the crimes to occur.

Response is the part of the process in which the police try to prevent the crimes from occurring.  The police will do such things as giving more protection to likely victims, making problem locations less comfortable for people who might commit crimes, and trying to find other things for potential offenders to do.

Assessment, finally, consists of using further data gathered after the response has been done.  The police take these data and use them to determine whether their response has been adequate.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team