This is a 6-step Battle Plan we have successfully implemented to demolish criminal stongholds in our crime fighting efforts. It utilizes community policing and coactive policing principles as found in the character based law enforcement principles of Police Dynamics. I filmed this video while visiting the Qumran caves on the Israel side of the Dead Sea.
Shobak Castle, the first Crusader castle in the nation of Jordan, presented a great opportunity to talk about criminal strongholds. Our driver, Ashrf (pronounced Ashraff) from Jordan Beauty Tours took us off-road to a hill overlooking this site while we were on our way to Petra. The wind presented a bit of a challenge to the audio, so my faithful cameraman and travelling partner, Gary Curry, suggested we move off of the hill onto a ledge just below. It cut the wind noise some, but as you can hear, I still had to compete with it…
Just like the Crusaders of the early 12th century used Shobak as a base of operations to control the surrounding countryside, criminals will use a stronghold that they have created to invade surrounding neighborhoods and expand their territory (not to compare Crusaders with criminals, but you get the point). Just like playing chess on a giant chessboard, this is how criminals are gaining ground on us in America (and other countries) today.
The ineffectiveness of Reactive Policing can be illustrated by how we respond to crimes committed by criminals who venture out from the stronghold into other neighborhoods. We find ourselves rushing from call to call: go to a call, take a report – go to the next call, take a report – go to the next call, take a report… Interestingly, as we chase our tails in this endless cycle of reactivity, we start to measure our effectiveness not by what we did to solve the problem that generated the call, but by how long it took us to get there!
Criminal strongholds and the cycle of reactivity can only be broken by coactively attacking the Fear, Apathy, and Tolerance for crime that allows strongholds to exist. How do we do this? Through community relationships that are fueled by trust and powered by the character of police officers who are properly aligned under authority…
There are three things that must be present in a community for a criminal stronghold to exist: fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime. The criminal knows that if he can intimidate the citizens, he has a toehold in the stronghold. If he drives through the community and sees overgrown lots, graffiti, abandoned homes, broken-down cars, and litter everywhere, it sends a message that the community does not care about itself. And if the community tolerates crime, it will have crime. This is a fundamental truth. Interestingly, it will have just as much crime as it is willing to tolerate.
Coactive policing is about building a trust-based partnership with the community, and then applying the power of that relationship to attack the fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime that allows a criminal stronghold to exist.
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a report called CRASHing the Gates of the Stronghold that outlines a practical plan for coactively reducing crime in problem neighborhoods (but give me a few days because I’m about to leave for a vacation…).
Fighting crime is much like a game of chess. Imagine that your jurisdiction is a giant chess board where a war of sorts is being waged. Just like in a real war, or a real game of chess, our opponents (the criminals) are trying to take ground.
When they become entrenched in a neighborhood and rule through fear and intimidation, they have established a criminal stronghold. From here, criminals will branch out into other neighborhoods, commit their evil deeds, and retreat back into the safety of the stronghold.
There are several strategies the we as police administrators might employ to deal with this community problem. One is the Reactive Model of policing. We can assign police officers to patrol the other neighborhoods, hoping that we might stumble across some criminal in the act of committing a crime, or discourage one from doing so by our “presence” in the neighborhood. As the saying goes, I suppose even a blind squirrel can find a nut every now and then. But this proves to be a very ineffective crime fighting strategy and a poor use of our limited law enforcement resources.
The community policing or coactive policing model dictates that law enforcement must penetrate the stronghold to destroy the fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime that the criminals are relying on. Building trust based relationships through the power of good character is the key to this process. This is the truly effective crime-fighting strategy that we explore here.
The Third Installment from Cancun:
Fear, Apathy and Tolerance for Crime: the three elements necessary for a criminal stronghold to exist. Our crime fighting efforts in community policing are dependent upon the ability of law enforcement to attack strongholds at their source. In this video, we examine some of the tactical aspects of Police Dynamics training — the role that trust-based relationships, fueled by good character and a commitment to professional ethics, play in fighting crime.