Research in Brief: Measuring Police Proactivity

One of the most significant reforms in modern policing has been the push for law enforcement to be more proactive in reducing crime or building trust and confidence with their communities. While there have been controversies surrounding certain types of proactivity such as stop, question, and frisk and zero tolerance policing, research continues to find that other proactive approaches can be effective in not only preventing crime and disorder, but also improving citizen satisfaction with the police.

Nonetheless, little is actually known about the realities of proactive policing in the United States. Law enforcement has become much better at recording crime and calls for service with modern information systems. However, many of these systems are not built to measure officers’ activity when they are not answering calls for service. In other words, how, when, and to what extent officers engage in proactive activities is often not captured.