The Community Policing Evaluation in the Croatian Urban and Rural Communities
Community policing has been one of the contemporary models of policing implemented in Croatia. It was accepted in the early 2000s, within the framework of reforms that were planned to bring the Croatian police closer to the European standards of modern democratic policing after the war and post-war circumstances of the 1990s. The aim was to rebuild police legitimacy and, through citizens’ trust in the police, to promote collective efficacy and informal social control. There are serious concerns as to whether this model achieves results regarding implementation-related issues that are common across the world, but particularly typical for post-socialist central and south-east European countries. In the first place, some improvisations of community policing are likely to occur, because the community policing model is more or less adopted on a declarative level, without the substantial understanding of its fundamental principles and lack of basic requirements. Starting from one of the central premises of community policing — that not police alone, but the whole community is responsible for community safety — community policing strategy in Croatia includes several projects aimed to improve relations between the police and the public and to bring together all relevant stakeholders in managing security and safety concerns. Therefore, in this study, the level of implementation of community policing has been analysed from the point of view of four sets: quality of police contact, perception of the level of crime and disorder, fear of victimisation and level of community cohesion. Considering dilemmas about the e ffectiveness of the community policing model in diff erent social contexts, one urban and one rural community in Croatia have been compared. Due to small samples being the main limitation of this study, the results are representative for specifi c communities only and cannot be generalised, but could serve as a good foundation for future research.
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