The SARA Problem Solving Model


The SARA Model Approach to Problem Solving Problem-solving is an integral component of the philosophy of community policing. The problem-solving approach is a methodical process for reducing the impact of crime and disorder problems in a community. One problem solving model frequently used is the SARA model (Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment). Defined below, this four-step process is implemented by the policing agency in partnership with the community.


The identification of a cluster of similar, related or recurring incidents through a preliminary review of information, and the selection of this crime/disorder problem, among competing priorities, for future examination.


The use of several sources of information to determine why a problem is occurring, who is responsible, who is affected, where the problem is located, when it occurs, and what form the problem takes. Analysis requires identifying patterns that explain the conditions that facilitate the crime or disorder problem. Sources of information may include police data (CAD, arrest, incident data, etc.), victim and offender interviews; environmental surveys; officer, business and resident surveys; social service and other government agency data; insurance information, etc.


The execution of a tailored set of actions that address the most important findings of the problem analysis phase and focus on at least two of the following: (1) preventing future occurrences by deflecting offenders; (2) protecting likely victims; or (3) making crime locations less conducive to problem behaviors. Responses are designed to have a long-term impact on the problem, and do not require a commitment of police time and resources that is not sustainable over the long-term.


The measurement of the impact(s) of the responses on the targeted crime/disorder problem using information collected from multiple sources, both before and after the responses have been implemented.



U.S. Department of Justice

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

1100 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530

(202) 514-2058

DOJ Response Center: 1 (800) 421-6770