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I was wondering how police departments handle having fairly limited resources to enforce laws? Lets say it only had enough resources to patrol a nice neighborhood to maintain how safe and on the up and up it is, or they could focus entirely on the poor neighborhoods where crime seems to breed, or they can attempt to do both kind of poorly. Which would take priority? The city might lose citizens interested in living there if there is no safe nice neighborhood, but also of course it makes sense to make a stand where more crime is. How are those types of decisions made?

Answer
Hello James,
Interesting question. And, I am sure there are jurisdictions to/fro that bend or offer a certain preferential service.
But, I'll wager is a lot less than one might think.
There is always a political component in police service, coupled with data analysis.
This is as it should be, and often times, the Fourth Estate is who dissects the information, and conveys it to the public, and political opposition.
Typically, "response time" is a big deal in law enforcement. These are calls for service, and emergency situations.
The time received, time dispatched, time of arrival, time of disposition are all part of a formula that depicts efficiency and performance.
Clearly, no police agency can be all things to all people. By that, I mean there is a certain amount of 'triage' where service calls need to be prioritized, and some even directed to the citizen making a station, or telephone report.

FCC has their own areas of interest in radio communications.
Then, there is the ''crime rate'' which is a calculus for the community served...And crimes are categorized into groups on a severity basis......Crimes against persons separated from property crimes.
The FBI maintains those data...and refers to them as UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting)...
So, if a police administration does not allocate their appropriated resources wisely, or as best as supporting influences suggest...they are open to criticism, or worse.
Remember, often police service is like trying to pack a gallon of action, into a pint jar.
And, the police are only one aspect.
Are the court calendars reasonable? Do the Prosecutors do a good job, and keep up with the case load.
Id the jail full?
What is the status of parole and probation staff?.
There are just a ton of influencing issues, and very few are constants....what is the unemployment like?

Most small to medium agencies have to wear an abundance of hats, and be generalists.
Larger agencies can specialize in sub divisions of police duties.
Hope this is helpful, albeit not all inclusive of considerations.
Good Luck,
loren

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Loren Stevens

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Retired after 31 years in a large metropolitan PD. Areas of expertise: COVERT OPERATIONS. Management, Administration, Inspections, U/C development, Project design, Ethics, and other related sub topics in COVERT OPERATIONS.

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