• Center for Problem oriented policing

POP Center Tools Identifying and Defining Policing Problems Appendix A

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Appendix A: Problems Commonly Addressed by Police

The list below roughly maps the known universe of policing problems. It represents but one approach to describing common policing problems. It is not intended to be exhaustive: no list could be because new policing problems constantly arise while others are eliminated as law and technology evolves. Alternative terminology, inclusion of additional rare problems, and different ways of aggregating problems would alter such a listing.

Most problems on this list are defined primarily by the behavior (e.g., assault, carjacking, or drug trafficking), but others are defined primarily by the people involved (e.g., day laborers, gangs, or transients), the location of the problem (e.g., abandoned buildings, drug houses), or the time at which the problem occurs (e.g., problems during student parties or festivals, problems around bar closing times, or traffic congestion during rush hour). Many problems can be defined by a combination of behavior, people, location, and time (e.g., assaults by and of college students in and around bars on weekend nights).

1. Abandoned and recovered personal property

2. Abandoned children

3. Abandoned/derelict vehicles

4. Abandoned/derelict/unsafe buildings

5. Accidental drowning

6. Accidental shootings

7. Age-impaired driving

8. Aggressive/reckless bicycling/skateboarding

9. Aggressive/reckless boating

10. Aggressive/reckless driving

11. Animal cruelty (including animal fighting)

12. Animal endangerment

13. Animal waste

14. Animals endangering humans 

15. Arson by juveniles for thrills (juvenile firesetting)

16. Arson for profit

17. Arson to conceal evidence of other crimes

18. Assault of strangers (e.g., flash mobs)

19. Assault of transportation-system passengers and staff

20. Assaults in and around bars

21. Assaults in institutions (jails, group homes, hospitals, schools)

22. Assaults in workplaces

23. Auto theft for export across land borders

24. Auto theft for export through seaports 

25. Auto theft for parts (chop shops)

26. Auto theft for thrills or temporary transportation (joyriding)

27. Auto theft from car dealerships and rental agencies

28. Auto theft from parking facilities

29. Auto theft from streets and driveways

30. Bombs and bomb threats

31. Bullying in schools

32. Burglary of commercial establishments (including smash-and-grab burglaries)

33. Burglary of open/unlocked garages

34. Burglary of residences

35. Burglary of school and recreation buildings

36. Burglary of storage facilities

37. Carjacking

38. Child custody disputes

39. Child fatalities (including shaken baby deaths, abandonment in hot vehicles, sleeping rollover deaths, and Munchhausen by proxy syndrome)

40. Child neglect and abuse in institutions (correctional facilities, churches, youth organizations, group homes, foster care)

41. Child neglect and abuse in the home

42. Child pornography

43. Chronic public inebriation

44. Clandestine drug labs

45. Computer hacking

46. Corruption of public officials

47. Crowd disorder and violence during festivals, concerts, sporting events, political demonstrations, and labor-management conflicts

48. Cruising

49. Currency counterfeiting

50. Dignitary and celebrity protection

51. Disorder at day laborer sites

52. Disorderly conduct in public libraries

53. Disorderly conduct on transportation vehicles and stations

54. Disorderly youth in public places

55. Domestic disputes

56. Domestic violence

57. Drive-by shootings

58. Drug houses/shooting galleries

59. Drug trafficking across borders

60. Drug trafficking in apartment complexes

61. Drug trafficking in motels 

62. Drug trafficking in open-air markets

63. Drug trafficking in or near schools

64. Drug trafficking via cell phones and vehicles

65. Drug-impaired driving

66. Drunken and disorderly conduct

67. Drunken boating

68. Drunken driving

69. Elder abuse (financial)

70. Elder abuse (physical and emotional)

71. Embezzlement

72. Endangerment by alcohol/drug intoxication

73. Endangerment by medical condition (e.g., epilepsy, mental illness)

74. Exploitation of trafficked people for labor

75. Exploitation of trafficked people for sex

76. Exposure of children to hazardous materials

77. Extortion

78. Failure to pay for food/hotel services

79. False intrusion alarms

80. False reporting of crime (e.g., theft, sexual assault, arson)

81. Fare beating (turnstile jumping)

82. Fear of crime

83. Fencing stolen property

84. Fighting (mutual combat)

85. Food and drug contamination (intentional)

86. Forgery

87. Fraudulent insurance claims (auto and property)

88. Fraudulent mortgages

89. Fraudulent receipt or use of government benefits (e.g., Social Security, food stamps, welfare,
worker’s compensation)

90. Fraudulent return of retail merchandise

91. Fraudulent schemes (including telemarketing fraud)

92. Fraudulent use of another’s identity (identity theft)

93. Fraudulent use of checks and credit cards

94. Fraudulent creation and use of documents (e.g., identification, immigration documents)

95. Fraudulent use of long distance calling cards/numbers

96. Gambling in organized illegal rackets

97. Gambling in public places

98. Gang initiation crimes

99. Gang versus gang violence

100. Graffiti

101. Hate crimes (harassment and assault)

102. Hazardous and illegal waste dumping

103. Hazardous loads spilling onto highway

104. Hazardous materials (including broken glass, syringes)

105. Hazardous materials scares (e.g., Anthrax)

106. Hazardous parking

107. Hijacking of delivery trucks

108. Hostage taking

109. House parties

110. Illegal street vending (squeegee operations, peddling)

111. Illegal vehicle towing operations

112. Impersonating police officers

113. Inattentive driving (e.g., use of electronic devices while driving)

114. Indecent exposure by females (e.g., exposing breasts during public celebrations)

115. Indecent exposure by males (e.g., exposing genitals in public)

116. Juvenile runaways (from single-family and group homes)

117. Kidnapping for ransom

118. Kidnapping for sex slavery

119. Kidnapping of children by parents in custody disputes

120. Kidnapping of infants

121. Landlord-tenant disputes

122. Loitering in public places

123. Marijuana cultivation in indoor grow houses

124. Marijuana cultivation on outdoor public and private land

125. Mass evacuation of civilians during emergencies

126. Mass shootings

127. Missing people (including walkaways from institutions)

128. Misuse and abuse of 911

129. Murder (domestic)

130. Murder of public figures (assassination)

131. Murder of serial victims (e.g., prostitutes)

132. Neighbor disputes

133. Noise from alarms (including building and vehicle alarms)

134. Noise from animals (e.g., barking dogs)

135. Noise from car stereos

136. Noise from industrial/commercial sources (e.g., trains, nightclubs)

137. Noise from motor vehicles (engines and exhaust systems)

138. Noise from people in entertainment districts

139. Obscene phone calls

140. Offensive odors

141. Organized crime

142. Panhandling

143. Parking in handicapped spaces

144. Pedestrian injuries/fatalities

145. Prescription-drug fraud and abuse

146. Prostitution in indoor locations (call girls, escort services, massage parlors, brothels, motels)

147. Prostitution in outdoor locations (street prostitution)

148. Prostitution via organized child sex rings

149. Protection of controversial speakers

150. Public bathing, urinating, and defecating

151. Purse snatching

152. Pushing people into paths of trains

153. Robbery at automated teller machines

154. Robbery by home invasion

155. Robbery of banks

156. Robbery of convenience stores/service stations/fast-food restaurants

157. Robbery of delivery people

158. Robbery of drug dealers/buyers

159. Robbery of fraudulently-induced victims (e.g., vehicle buyers)

160. Robbery of pharmacies

161. Robbery of prostitution clients

162. Robbery of schoolchildren

163. Robbery of taxicab drivers

164. Robbery of tourists

165. Robbery on streets (mugging)

166. Sex with animals

167. Sex with corpses (necrophilia)

168. Sexual activity in public places

169. Sexual abuse of children

170. Sexual abuse of developmentally disabled people

171. Sexual assault by acquaintances

172. Sexual assault by illegal touching (groping)

173. Sexual assault by strangers

174. Sexual relations by an adult with a minor

175. Shooting firearms as celebration

176. Sleep-deprived driving

177. Speeding in residential areas

178. Speeding in school zones

179. Speeding on highways

180. Stalking (including cyberstalking)

181. Street racing

182. Suicides

183. Target shooting near occupied dwellings

184. Terrorism

185. Theft by employees

186. Theft from autos in parking facilities

187. Theft from autos on streets and driveways

188. Theft from construction sites

189. Theft from hotel/motel rooms

190. Theft from laundry/vending machines

191. Theft from people (pickpocketing)

192. Theft from retail establishments (shoplifting)

193. Theft from yards

194. Theft of art and artifacts

195. Theft of auto parts (e.g., hubcaps, license plates/stickers)

196. Theft of bicycles

197. Theft of cargo from trains, trucks, ships, and shipping containers

198. Theft of customers’ personal property from cafés and bars

199. Theft of gasoline by drive-off

200. Theft of grease (for resale in manufacture of biofuel)

201. Theft/burglary of human hair (for wigs)

202. Theft of library books

203. Theft of livestock

204. Theft of mail

205. Theft of rare/valuable plants (e.g., ginseng)

206. Theft of scrap metals

207. Theft of utilities (water, gas, electricity, cable TV)

208. Ticket scalping

209. Toy guns

210. Traffic congestion around schools

211. Traffic congestion at special events

212. Traffic congestion on roads during rush hours

213. Traffic congestion in entertainment districts

214. Traffic control at emergency rescue scenes (e.g., vehicle crashes, fires)

215. Traffic crashes in which drivers flee the scene (hit-and-run crashes)

216. Traffic crashes involving bicycles

217. Traffic crashes involving cars and trucks

218. Traffic crashes involving motorcycles

219. Traffic crashes with animals

220. Traffic crashes with trains

221. Traffic signal violations (e.g., running red lights and stop signs) 

222. Trafficking in human body parts

223. Train derailments

224. Transient encampments

225. Trash scavenging

226. Unauthorized parking on private property

227. Underage drinking

228. Unlicensed driving

229. Vandalism in cemeteries

230. Vandalism in parks

231. Vandalism of schools

232. Vandalism on transportation vehicles, routes, and stations

233. Vehicle lockouts

234. Victimization and accidental injury of transient people

235. Weapons in schools

236. Weapons trafficking (illegal)

237. Window peeping (prowlers)

238. Witness intimidation

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