"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.