Several answers to the question ‘Why don’t the police stop crime?’ are considered. Police do stop some crime, although increasingly they will rely on nonpolice personnel for assistance in doing so.The proportion of crime they stop is not fixed: learning the right lessons from the experience of New York City will help them to increase it. Nonetheless, police need to be alert to the dangers of concentrating single-mindedly on crime reduction. Doing so not only has inherent dangers, but it can also divert attention from other tasks and objectives of policing. Understanding the police role in crime control and reduction is hampered by populist insistence that simple answers are enough. Equally, the academic promise of new ‘sciences’ of crime and policing is overstated. The article argues for a more inclusive and sophisticated approach to answering the question in its title.
COST Action COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.