The SARA Model

A commonly used problem-solving method is the SARA model (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment). The SARA model contains the following elements:


  • Identifying recurring problems of concern to the public and the police.
  • Identifying the consequences of the problem for the community and the police.
  • Prioritizing those problems.
  • Developing broad goals.
  • Confirming that the problems exist.
  • Determining how frequently the problem occurs and how long it has been taking place.
  • Selecting problems for closer examination.


  • Identifying and understanding the events and conditions that precede and accompany the problem.
  • Identifying relevant data to be collected.
  • Researching what is known about the problem type.
  • Taking inventory of how the problem is currently addressed and the strengths and limitations of the current response.
  • Narrowing the scope of the problem as specifically as possible.
  • Identifying a variety of resources that may be of assistance in developing a deeper understanding of the problem.
  • Developing a working hypothesis about why the problem is occurring.


  • Brainstorming for new interventions.
  • Searching for what other communities with similar problems have done.
  • Choosing among the alternative interventions.
  • Outlining a response plan and identifying responsible parties.
  • Stating the specific objectives for the response plan.
  • Carrying out the planned activities.


  • Determining whether the plan was implemented (a process evaluation).
  • Collecting pre and postresponse qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Determining whether broad goals and specific objectives were attained.
  • Identifying any new strategies needed to augment the original plan.
  • Conducting ongoing assessment to ensure continued effectiveness.