With the rise of surveillance technology in the last decade, police departments now have an array of sophisticated tools for tracking, monitoring, even predicting crime patterns. In particular crime mapping, a technique used by the police to monitor crime by the neighborhoods in their geographic regions, has become a regular and relied-upon feature of policing. Many claim that these technological developments played a role in the crime drop of the 1990s, and yet no study of these techniques and their relationship to everyday police work has been made available.
Noted scholar Peter K. Manning spent six years observing three American police departments and two British constabularies in order to determine what effects these kinds of analytic tools have had on modern police management and practices. While modern technology allows the police to combat crime in sophisticated, detail-oriented ways, Manning discovers that police strategies and tactics have not been altogether transformed as perhaps would be expected. In The Technology of Policing, Manning untangles the varying kinds of complex crime-control rhetoric that underlie much of today’s police department discussion and management, and provides valuable insight into which are the most effective—and which may be harmful—in successfully tracking criminal behavior.
The Technology of Policing offers a new understanding of the changing world of police departments and information technology’s significant and undeniable influence on crime management.
“Manning’s work is both sophisticated in its approach and tremendously rich in the detail of its empirical inquiry. Few scholars take the time and have the access and ability to research police practices so meticulously and with the advantages that come with many years of energetic experience.”
—American Journal of Sociology
“A richly textured analysis of the introduction, use, and effects of crime mapping technology in three police departments—Boston, Washington, DC, and a medium-sized American city referred to as ‘Western’.”
—Journal of Information Technology and Politics
“The Technology of Policing provides a brilliant analysis of how new information technologies are used to reproduce established police practices rather than to effect organizational change or more efficient crime control.”
—Richard V. Ericson, co-author of The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility
“At a time when police technology is actively promoted as a ‘silver-bullet’, and studied mainly for its instrumental effects, Manning’s sociological acumen is a vital antidote. A closely and astutely observed study of the meanings and effects of crime mapping/analysis within police organizations.”
—Ian Loader, author of Civilizing Security