Refresher: SARA Model and Problem-Oriented Policing

The SARA Model builds on Herman Goldstein’s Problem-Oriented Policing and was developed and coined by John Eck and William Spelman (1987) in Problem solving: Problem-oriented policing in Newport News. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum.

The SARA model is a decision-making model that incorporates analysis and research, tailoring solutions to specific problems, and most importantly, evaluating the effectiveness of those responses. The acronym SARA stands for:

Scanning: Identifying, prioritizing and selecting problems that need addressing using both data from police and other sources as well as community and citizen input.

Analysis: Deeply analyzing the causes of the problem, including the underlying causes of repeated calls for service and crime incidents.

Response: Determining and implementing a response to a particular problem. Ideas for responses should be “evidence-based” when possible (see, for example, the Matrix) or at least tailored to the specific problem at hand using general principles of good crime prevention.

Assessment: Often the most ignored part of the SARA model, this requires assessing and evaluating the impact of a particular response and being willing to try something different if the response was not effective.

For more information see this Matrix resource as well as the POP Center.

In an effort to provide helpful suggestions in areas that have not yet been fully studied or evaluated, we have included ideas for responses and activities that may not yet be considered evidence-based or evidence-informed. Therefore, not all actions and strategies included within this App are evidence-based or evidence-informed.