Community-based policing is both a philosophy and organizational strategy that allows the police and community to work together to solve problems of crime, disorder and safety, and to improve the quality of life for everyone in that community (OSCE, 2008). It refers to a strategy of policing that promotes the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to pro-actively address the immediate conditions which give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder and fear of crime. It establishes relationships in the community — with residents, business owners and community leagues — and collaboration between those partners in order to pro-actively reduce and prevent crime.
It is closely tied to neighbourhood watch, in which an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighbourhood agree to keep an eye on one another’s properties, patrolling –their immediate environs and reporting suspicious incidents to the police. Research suggests that when communities play a key role in defining their security and safety needs, and are involved in planning, implementing and monitoring locally-defined solutions to their problems, community safety and security improves considerably.