Fighting Crime by Taking on ‘Endemic’ Poverty


Police should advocate for policies that address persistent causes of poverty, argue David Bayley, Michael Davis and Ron Davis, in the latest paper from the Harvard Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.

By urging policymakers to address endemic conditions of disadvantage, police can target the root causes of crime and animosity toward cops, Bayley, Davis and Davis write in their paper, the product of a series of conferences that during the last six years targeted major law enforcement policy issues.

“We believe there are two messages that police leaders must find the voice to deliver: (1) Police need to be supported by policies that address conditions causing criminality and disorder to be concentrated in particular places, especially in communities of color; and (2) police strategies must expand freedom and justice, not just provide safety,” they write.

The paper also includes six suggestions for addressing race issues within policing:

  • “Reorient the culture of policing from going to war against lawbreakers to engaging with communities to help those at risk and in need.”
  • “Embrace community policing as the primary strategy for policing.”
  • “Police officers should develop the habit of explaining what they are doing whenever they act.”
  • “Patrol supervisors should regularly assess how people contacted by the police feel about the treatment they received.”
  • “A simple, user-friendly system for receiving complaints from the public about police behavior should be created.”
  • “Routinely collect and publish information about allegations of police misbehavior, the results of investigations into them, and their disciplinary outcomes.”

Read the full paper HERE.

Comments are closed.