Community policing in Santa Ana
An article from Fronteras describes a community policing initiative in Santa Ana which has been developed with help from the US:
“It is all part of this philosophy of prevention,” said James Rose, the State Department’s regional gang adviser, who works out of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador. “To achieve prevention you have to have a proactive attitude from the police.”
The State Department helped the Santa Ana police make a number of reforms, including implementing new data collection strategies, creating programs to keep kids out of crime and introducing community policing techniques.
“Knowing your community, knowing who is there, who is coming, who is going, who is involved in criminal activity,” Rose said. “What changes are going on. What the concerns are of the community. And by doing that [the police] are able to win the trust of the community and they are able to collect that useful data.”
The model is a contrast to the mano dura — or iron-fist policies — that Salvadoran police used in the past.
Rose said right after the U.S. launched its program with the Santa Ana precinct in 2011, the agency used the new techniques to prevent future gang homicides. By analyzing the data of past homicides, Santa Ana officers found a pattern.
“One clique was responsible for over 60 percent of [gang] homicides,” Rose said. “So then they knew how to create a tactic to lower the homicide rates: they went after that clique.” (more)Community policing is a central part of the public security strategy slowly being developed by the Sanchez Ceren administration. It reflects part of the only way El Salvador is going to reclaim its neighborhoods from the gangs -- street by street, relationship by relationship.