Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Appendix A: Park Problem-Oriented Policing: Checklist of 10 Key Questions

Trying to answer the following questions will help you determine whether you understand the park and its problems and have a realistic intervention plan.

1. Where is the park in its four-stage criminal career? What evidence do you have for that judgment?

2. What is the park's purpose? Does the original design still meet current needs?

3. Can you describe the park as a whole? Do you have the necessary information from maps, pictures, etc.? Is the information sufficiently comprehensive, accurate, and timely? Are you clear about the park's location in terms of the wider environment?

4. Can you identify the physical environment's risk and protective features? Can you link the park design to identified hot spots? Can you see ways to change the design to reduce crime and disorder? Have you done a detailed safety audit?

5. Do you have accurate information about the park's current and potential users? Do you have information on intergroup conflicts and potential offenders and victims? Are you maintaining ongoing communications with all the groups, including the community, offenders, and victims? Do you have a media strategy?

6. Have you sufficiently involved the local community in collecting data, selecting and planning tactics, and implementing and evaluating interventions? Are you operating within the community's perspective? Are you dealing with the concrete issues that are important to and in the self-interest of the community? Do you have the community's trust and support?

7. Have you been working in partnership with the local government, park management, and allied professionals such as urban planners so that (1) interorganizational and interprofessional conflicts are contained; and (2) outcomes are SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, and timely)? Have you identified adequate resources (physical, financial, and human) and allocated them to the park and its crime and disorder problems?

8. Is the partnership committed to experimenting with different tactics until it finds the ones that are effective, efficient, humane, and just, and that also fit the community? The best measures of whether there has been a successful taking back of the park are (1) a decrease in reported crime and disorder, and 2) an increase in legitimate visitors' park usage?

9. Have you identified, recruited, trained, and supported a critical number of natural guardians from the local community? Is long-term support in place? Can they trust you for the long term?

10. Is there political commitment for the long term, with the necessary resource allocation to allow police and park management to identify and intervene at the early stages of crime and disorder in the future? Do all the interested parties sufficiently understand that keeping the park safe is an ongoing, long-term process?