Policing and Social Control

Policing strategies and problem-solving place a central part in police-community collaborations. A significant role of policing is to empower residents to exercise proactive control over the communities to prevent crime and disorder while addressing problems immediately when they begin to arise. Individuals’ feelings of vulnerability make them view police officers as ineffective and unresponsive to their concerns. The broken windows portray the police as agents of informal social control.

The essence of the police’s role in maintaining order and discipline is to reinforce the informal control mechanisms of the community. As a protective factor, the role of the social process is social control. Social control is like protecting the area from threats that may undermine the regulatory ability (Kochel and Nouri, 2020).

Another possible aspect is that many people are not comfortable personally intervening in problems; therefore, they rely on the police to handle societal issues. Thus, police presence and availability in the communities and reliability and trustworthiness in the eyes of the people may facilitate social control. Police presence, activities, accessibility, and perceived effectiveness have been positively associated with social control and related positive outcomes.

Police can help open new ties and expand neighborhood networks through activities such as local crime watch meetings and community events. Besides, officers can lay the foundation for enhanced social interactions by keeping disorder and encouraging community people to interact and take charge of the day-to-day enforcement of normative standards for acceptable behavior (Clevinger et al., 2018).

There has been found a positive association between people’s perceptions of police partnerships and their feelings of safety in the communities and a negative relationship between partnerships and perceived incivilities. This can be an excellent way to begin positive police engagement to promote social control.

Police officials can say to be facilitators of social control. Perceptions of the quality of police services and the prevalence of police misconduct significantly impacted collective efficacy. Likewise, a negative association between police misconduct and social control and effective policing would increase the efficacy of social control efforts.

An increase in police presence modestly enhanced social cohesion, control, and collective efficacy. Satisfaction with police effectiveness and responsiveness is also associated with social control. Community members frequently depend upon police assistance to exercise informal social control. Thus, police can advance social control is by engaging ineffective strategies that promote feelings of safety and confidence in the police, which may empower individuals. Moreover, effective policing initiatives are more likely to improve individuals’ assessments of confidence in and legitimacy for police. The police are essential to social control; however, some existing voids need to be filled.


Clevinger, A. M., Kleider-Offutt, H. M., & Tone, E. B. (2018). In the eyes of the law: Associations among fear of negative evaluation, race, and feelings of safety in the presence of police officers. Personality and Individual Differences, 135, 201–206. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.06.041 

Kochel, T. R., & Nouri, S. (2020). Drivers of perceived safety: do they differ in contexts where violence and police saturation feel “normal”? Journal of Crime and Justice, 1–20. doi:10.1080/0735648x.2020.1835693

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