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ROLE OF CITIZENS IN COMMUNITY POLICINGIN
This research was initiated to assess the role of citizens in community policing in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area of Katsina State. The specific objectives include: to examine the nature of crime in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area; to identify the factors that facilitate crime in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area of Katsina State; to identify the challenges of formal agencies of crime control; to assess the roles of citizens in community policing and crime prevention in Dutsin-ma; and to suggest possible ways of increasing the effectiveness of community in Dutsin-ma. The study employed the survey research design. Questionnaires were distributed to a total of 120 respondents while 12 respondents were captured for the in depth interview. The study employed the stratified random sampling technique in selecting the wards under study as well as the respondents. Findings revealed that the types of crime perpetrated in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area include burglary, armed robbery, rape and the abuse of drugs and substance. More so, findings revealed that factors such as unemployment, poverty, greed/ redundancy among youth and the use of drugs and substance facilitate crime in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area of Katsina State. Similarly, it was also revealed that the challenges of formal agencies of crime control include lack of logistics, inadequate crime control equipment and facilities in execution their duties and corruption among officers. Furthermore, it was revealed that the roles of citizens in community policing and crime prevention in Dutsin-ma includeformation of vigilante groups, collaboration with formal agencies for crime control, rendering of physical, social and financial support to crime control agencies and provision of good communication network to crime control agencies. Finally, findings revealed that, there a significant relationship between the roles of citizens in community policing and extent of criminal activities within Dutsin-ma; there is a significant relationship between criminal activities and the socio-economic development of the society. Community policing can be improved in certain measures and recommendations are put in place: good means of communication/relationship with formal agencies, frequent night patrols, citizen’s participation in community decision making and awareness creation on security cautiousness.
1.1 Background of the Study
In the past, traditional communities have increasingly used informal remedies to compel non-offending third parties to prevent or take action or investigate crime, drug and disorder in their neighbourhood. However, today, preventing and resolving neighbourhood crime and disorder is the responsibilities of law enforcement agencies and other formal government authorities(Roehl 1998).
The importance of citizens in crime prevention and order maintenance efforts became apparent in the mid-1970s, as concerns about street crime and residential burglaries began to rise and it became obvious that the police and other security agencies could not control and prevent crime effectively. With the formation and early success neighbourhood and block watch efforts, citizens themselves realized they could do something about the local crime problems that concerned them most. Aubow and Emmons (1981) labeled this the “Community Hypothesis”. Stating that neighbourhood residents could be mobilized to participate in collective crime prevention, which get residents to take greater responsibility for local problems, rebuild informal social control and reduce crime and fear of crime.
Presently, criminal activities seem to be on the increase while the police force appears to become dysfunctional despite government huge expenditure on crime control. But this dysfunctionalism or inability of the prosecutorial agent of the state to combat the crime phenomenon is usually blamed on poor numeric strength, lack of sophisticated crime control equipment, poor welfare package, poor training of personnel, lack of assistance/information from civil society, poor budgeting allocation among others. This explains why the efficiency of the police as a law enforcement agency is very much in doubt. These further stresses on the importance of citizens in community policing in preventing crime in order to compliment the efforts of the police force and other security agencies.
Community policing is a complimentary security management strategy for the prevention and control of neighbourhood crime(Monsuru and Rafiu 2016). The outcomes of the partnership between police and community however differ. Thus, the effectiveness in the way through which community policing is implemented an any given community will largely impact on the outcome of the approach whether it will be successful or not(Young & Tinsley, 1998). These partnerships are very essential because the police are only one of the agencies responsible for addressing community problems, and other agencies need to take responsibility and respond to crime prevention and problem solving in partnership with police at all level (ibid).
Community policing is anchored on a systematic relationship between the police and the entire citizenry. According to Ikuteyijo (2009), community policing entails community partnership in creating a safe andsecure environment for all.Police roles and functions are not simply law enforcement but also include tackling a huge range ofcommunity problems (Okeshola and Mudiare 2013).
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