Community-oriented policing to reduce crime, disorder and fear and increase satisfaction and legitimacy among citizens: a systematic review

Charlotte Gill*, David Weisburd, Cody W. Telep, Zoe Vitter, Trevor Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

272 Scopus citations


Objectives: Systematically review and synthesize the existing research on community-oriented policing to identify its effects on crime, disorder, fear, citizen satisfaction, and police legitimacy.

Methods: We searched a broad range of databases, websites, and journals to identify eligible studies that measured pre-post changes in outcomes in treatment and comparison areas following the implementation of policing strategies that involved community collaboration or consultation. We identified 25 reports containing 65 independent tests of community-oriented policing, most of which were conducted in neighborhoods in the United States. Thirty-seven of these comparisons were included in a meta-analysis.

Results: Our findings suggest that community-oriented policing strategies have positive effects on citizen satisfaction, perceptions of disorder, and police legitimacy, but limited effects on crime and fear of crime.

Conclusions: Our review provides important evidence for the benefits of community policing for improving perceptions of the police, although our findings overall are ambiguous. The challenges we faced in conducting this review highlight a need for further research and theory development around community policing. In particular, there is a need to explicate and test a logic model that explains how short-term benefits of community policing, like improved citizen satisfaction, relate to longer-term crime prevention effects, and to identify the policing strategies that benefit most from community participation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)399-428
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This systematic review was supported by a grant from the National Policing Improvement Agency (UK) to the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. The opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed here are those of the authors alone. We are grateful to a number of colleagues who have provided helpful feedback on presentations of the preliminary results, and to the graduate students at George Mason University who assisted with data collection and coding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Community policing
  • Crime prevention
  • Evaluation research
  • Legitimacy
  • Meta-analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Systematic review


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