Crime, costs, and well-being: policing Canadian Aboriginal communities
Rick Ruddell, Savvas Lithopoulos, Nicholas A. Jones
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management
Purpose: This research compared the community level factors associated with police strength and operational costs in Aboriginal police services from four different geographic zones, including remote communities inaccessible by road .
Design: Analysis of variance was used to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference in per capita policing costs, the officer to resident ratio, an index of community well being, and crime severity in 236 rural and remote Canadian communities.
Findings: We found that places that were geographically inaccessible or further from urban areas had rates of police reported crime several times the national average and low levels of community well-being. Consistent with those results, the per capita costs of policing were many times greater than the national average, in part due to higher officer to resident ratios.
Research limitations: These results are from rural Canada and might not be generalizable to other nations.
Practical implications: Given the complex needs of these communities, these findings reinforce the importance of delivering full-time professional police services in rural and remote communities. Short duration or temporary postings may reduce police legitimacy as residents may perceive that their rural or Aboriginal status makes them less valued than city dwellers. As a result, agencies should prioritize the retention of experienced officers in these communities.
Originality/Value: These findings validate the observations of officers about the challenges that must be overcome in policing these distinctive communities. This information can be used to inform future studies of rural and remote policing.