Problem Identification

Your essay should include at least 500-750 words, 2 to 3 pages (not including cover page and reference page), double-spaced, with a font size of 10 to 12 pt. Refer to the Grading RubricPDF(opens in a new tab)  for essay grading standards.

You are a police commander for a large city. You are responsible for the HappyVille Precinct, which is 25 square miles and densely populated. The population of HappyVille is 76% Hispanic, 7% African American, 12% Caucasian, and 5% other. HappyVille has a high poverty rate, and only 60% of teenagers graduate from high school.

On most weeknights, especially Friday and Saturday nights, the streets of HappyVille are congested with cars filled with cruising teenagers. The clogged streets anger residents and make police and fire response difficult. Drag racing teenagers cause many accidents. Drive-by shootings and large fights are also a problem where cruisers park and congregate in two or three locations in HappyVille. One of these locations is in the middle of the precinct at a fast-food taco stand called Sal’s.


The summary of the SARA Model(opens in a new tab) below is from the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing:

The SARA model is a commonly used problem-solving method (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 post-response 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.

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