MembersThere’s a New Sheriff in Town

Israeli policemen are walking to a different beat

By David Lazarus | | Topics: Police
A local neighborhood sheriff helps a drug addict in Tel Aviv.
A local neighborhood sheriff helps a drug addict in Tel Aviv. Photo: David Lazarus

Israeli policemen have plenty to do hunting down terrorists, breaking up drug rings and investigating politicians. But who can help recover a stolen bicycle, find a snatched handbag or get a car moved that’s blocking your driveway?

Well, there is a new cop in town, and he’s your neighborhood sheriff. It’s part of a program called “community policing” that’s reducing crime in Israel’s neighborhoods.

The first community police station opened in Ashkelon in 1997 after the National Police Department examined the successes of neighborhood law enforcement in Europe and the US. The program in Ashkelon proved so successful that there are now 360 community police stations in city neighborhoods, towns and villages across the country, though many residents, especially in large cities, don’t even know they exist.

In large urban centers like Tel Aviv the plan organizes the city into quarters and neighborhoods where all police work in that area is being coordinated with fire departments, Magen David ambulances, hospital emergency rooms and other municipality public services.

The heart and soul of the program is the...

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