In recent years, the San Diego Police Department has moved away from the core concept of “problem-oriented policing” that won it international acclaim in the 1990s, reports the Voice of San Diego. The number of police storefronts, which made officers more accessible to residents, has been cut in half. Code compliance officers, who address chronic issues like abandoned cars and party houses, have dropped from 20 to seven.
Under Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposed budget, the cuts would continue next year. The city would eliminate its four-member graffiti-removal team, shifting responsibility to other governments and local residents. Just four code compliance officers would remain. The efforts that people say defined the best qualities of San Diego government two decades ago would become an even smaller part of the city’s new identity. Problem-oriented policing would move closer to becoming a lingering memory of a bygone era. The result: A police officer in San Diego today places greater focus on responding faster to dangerous situations than on preventing underlying causes. “They’re about to unravel several decades of really good work,” said Jon Shane of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “I don’t think anyone has ever really embraced it like San Diego has.”