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Establishing public safety is among local government’s fundamental obligations to its citizens. The safety of one’s person and security of one’s property are widely viewed as basic human rights and are essential to the community’s overall quality of life. When the citizenry is not, and does not feel, reasonably safe, other critical local government functions such as economic development, government finance, public education, stable housing, and basic local government services become that much more difficult to provide. In short, a community’s reputation for public safety heavily influences its appeal as a place to raise a family or open a business.
If you are a mayor or county executive voters directly elected, or a city or county manager elected officials appointed, you hardly need a guide to remind you of this: your constituents do so regularly. And yet, notwithstanding much popular rhetoric about the nature of crime and what should be done about it, establishing real and perceived public safety is one of local government’s more complex and challenging
This guide is intended to help you as a local government executive better understand how local government in general, and local police in particular, can more effectively meet public safety challenges. The
guide is a companion to several guides in a series known collectively as the Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, produced by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing and published by the COPS Office. The
three series—the Problem-Specific Guides, Response Guides, and Problem-Solving Tools Guides—represent a summary of the growing body of knowledge about how local police can more effectively address
the multitude of specific and varied public safety problems that they routinely confront.