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American Journal of Police 1


Jack R. GreeneDepartment of Criminal Justice

Temple University


In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in pro-grams that attempt to place the police and the community ingreater harmony and interaction. Many large and medium sizedcities have adopted variations of "community policing" programs,each of which emphasizes some combination of crime reductionand prevention, increased community cohesion and informal socialcontrol, and fear of reduction policing strategy.

Like many social interventions, changes in police operationalphilosophy and practices have historical traditions that have condi-tioned current thought and practice. Moreover, the underlying"theory" of community policing itself is yet emerging, attempting toclarify the relationship between the formal and informal agents ofsocial control. Police programs emphasizing foot patrol and theorder maintenance role of the police are currently testing theseideas, and the results of such analysis will provide information onthe prospects of this policing strategy.

The research that is reported in this volume of The AmericanJournal of Police examines many of the expectations that have beencreated for community policing programs. Because communitypolicing means many things to many people, an entire volume hasbeen devoted to this important policing topic. The papers that arepresented here examine some of the claims made for communitypolicing, most particularly for foot patrol programs. The topics aredivergent, ranging from considerations of whether this police strat-egy reduces crime and victimization, to whether community atti-tudes toward the police are affected, and whether police officers

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derive any greater job satisfaction from having participated in suchprograms. The diversity among these topics reflects the many ex-pectations for community policing and foot patrol programs; thepapers in this volume will, hopefully, help to clarify these expecta-tions.


The seeds of this new community policing philosophy arefound in the police and community relations programs of the 1950sand 1960s, the team policing programs of the 1970s and the morerecent fear reduction and problem focused policing programs of the1980s. Forty years of refinement in police philosophy and opera-tions has left its mark on the community policing programs of to-day.

Police and community relations programs sought a greaterharmony and interaction between the police and the public on mat-ters of crime control and prevention. They also sought out and tar-geted minority populations for this increased attention. The mes-sage was simple-the police wanted to assure the community, par-ticularly the black community, that their concerns for increased po-lice protection and fairness in the application of the law were valid.

The era of police and community relations saw programs de-signed to improve community understanding of the police role andoperational practices, paving the way for more recent programs ofneighborhood watch and other forms of citizen involvement in thelaw enforcement process. The legacy of community relations pro-grams also established the legitimacy of community involvement incrime control efforts either through self-help programs or throughthe coproduction of crime prevention services (Skolnick and Bay-ley, 1986). Historically, this community involvement role hadlargely been obscured in the 1930s and 1940s through efforts to de-politicize police agencies and to improve administrative and man-agement practices (see Fogelson, 1977).

Throughout the decade of the 1970s policing embraced theteam concept (see Angell, 1971). Team policing received its firstendorsement from the President's Commission on Law Enforce-ment and Administration of Justice (1967) in its Task Force Report:Police. Partly as a reaction to the perceived rigidity of the police

American Journal of Police 3

control-centered bureaucracy, and partly in an attempt to overcomethe growing deficiencies of preventive patrol and rapid response aspatrol tactics, team policing grew and was nurtured in a liberalizingpolice reform philosophy. By the early 1970s several programs wereimplemented across the country. Emphasizing geographic stability,the permanent assignment of teams to neighborhoods increasedcommunications among team members as well as between teammembers and community residents (Sherman, et al., 1973); teampolicing was radical for its day.

Team policing required a rethinking of the social and formalorganization of policing on a massive scale. Its demise was largelyat the hands of middle level managers within police organizations,who had invested interest in maintaining a more centralized formof command and control.

Despite its general failure, team policing established a tone forimproving the police officer's lot within the police organization andreaffirmed the community context of policing suggested by earliercommunity relations programs. In the late 1970s other teampolicing programs, such as the Community Sector Team PolicingProgram in Cincinnati (Schwartz and Clarren, 1977) and the Com-munity Profiling Program in San Diego (1975), posted modest suc-cess for the team concept, although by the late 1970s and early1980s the popularity of the team concept had faded as an opera-tional police tactic.

In the 1980s, three emerging strains of police operational prac-tice and philosophy began to form the basis for the adoption of footpatrols throughout the country. First, policy research into policeoperational practices had begun to yield the conclusion that"nothing works". Preventive patrol, rapid patrol responses, andfollow-up criminal investigations all came under the social sciencemicroscope, and the results were devastating for the conventionalcrime deterrence and containment philosophies of the police. Inthe absence of any substantiated claim to deterrence, police agen-cies began to seek alternate ways to demonstrate effectiveness.

Secondly, the idea that the police should focus more on re-solving community problems than on some abstract crime con-trol/prevention function gained attention during this period."Problem-oriented policing," as envisioned by Herman Goldstein,broadened the scope of police interventions by focusing attentionon community problem solving (Goldstein, 1977; 1979). The role

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of the police, then, was preemptive and problem focused ratherthan reactive and crime containment focused. The ends of policing,after all, were to improve community "quality of life" and to reducecitizen exposure to and fear of crime.

Thirdly, the linkages between disorderly or unruly behavior,fear of crime and community victimization were being reexaminedby social scientists, and the political philosophy of the times waschanging. While the police had always provided order maintenanceservices to the community, these services were often seen as sec-ondary to those that emphasized enforcement and crime control.Findings from an experimental demonstration project in the use offoot patrol in Newark, New Jersey suggested that while crime andvictimization rates were unlikely to decrease in response to foot pa-trol, public perceptions of social disorder and fear of crime wereaffected (Police Foundation, 1981). These findings provided sup-port for greater use of foot patrol officers in residential neighbor-hoods as a means to reduce fear of crime and to re-establish com-munity order. Fear of crime and perceptions of disorder, then,have become the targets of police intervention.

The movement toward reducing fear of crime through ordermaintenance and foot patrol programs has stirred quite a politicaldebate as well. On the one hand, liberal reformers of the policesuggest that community policing and foot patrols, stressing neigh-borhood definitions of social order, can quickly become extensionsof class and racial bias and thereby introduce more injustice intocommunities than expected (see Walker, 1984; Klockars, 1985).For liberals the loosening of the traditional constraints on policebehavior might well result in the loss of liberties for many, particu-larly minority group members and those in marginal group relation-ships in urban areas.

On the other hand, recent conservative arguments in supportof foot patrols and order maintenance policing (Sykes, 1986) sug-gest that such police activities actually increase the amount of free-dom available in communities. Proponents of this philosophy sug-gest that order maintenance policing through foot patrol increasesthe collective freedoms of the community by freeing law abidingcitizens from their crime anxieties, and by reducing the precursorsto crime and victimization-those situations and individuals whowould increase and exploit community disorder.

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The past 40 years of police operational practice and policy re-search has resulted in the current emphasis in community policingand foot patrol. The development of a policing philosophy and op-erational strategies that emphasize 1) community involvement incrime control, prevention and order maintenance, 2) a broadeningof the police officer's role in community problem solving, main-taining community order and informal social control, and 3) re-ducing the signs of crime and community disorder, thereby reduc-ing community crime anxiety, has been an evolving process. Themanifestation of this philosophy and practice in the form of footpatrol has come a long way, but what of its future?


The underlying "theory" of community policing involves somerather broad assumptions about the police role in establishing so-cial control at the neighborhood level of social organization (seeManning, 1984; Klockars, 1985). The arguments beneath this phi-losophy tend to suggest that the police have lost their communitycontext, in that changes in technology-such as the automobile andwireless radio-have resulted in the police becoming estranged fromthe communities they patrol (Moore and Kelling, 1983). Further-more, the police preoccupation with crime suppression and criminalapprehension left little time for order maintenance activities, whichare now presumed to contribute more to the "quality of life" expe-rienced by the citizenry, particularly in urban areas (Kelling, 1985).It is argued that by reestablishing the community's social orderthrough the vigorous enforcement of order maintenance and publicdisturbance behaviors, the conditions that make communities ripefor criminal invasion will be avoided. Finally, proponents of com-munity policing argue that neighborhood policing and closer con-tact between police and citizens will result in a strengthening of thesocial fabric (Wilson and Kelling, 1982), making communities moreresistant to criminal invasion.

Community policing takes several forms; it involves the use offoot patrol in urban areas, it establishes programs that attempt tomobilize community crime prevention activities, and it increasespublic and private efforts to stem community decay by reducing the

6 American Journal of Police

signs of crime (physical and social incivilities) as well as the fear ofcrime that is presumed to be associated with community deteriora-tion. Today, programs in community policing can be found in sev-eral major U.S. cities, such as New York City; Boston, Mas-sachusetts; Baltimore, Maryland; Newark, New Jersey; Houston,Texas; Oakland, California and Flint, Michigan (Greene and Tay-lor, 1985; Yin, 1986).

In addition to these programs, many of which involve foot pa-trol efforts, a change in the underlying philosophy of policing hasbeen suggested (Skolnick and Bayley, 1986). This philosophy em-phasizes decentralizing police crime control efforts, increasing theinvolvement of the community in establishing crime control priori-ties, greater police and community cooperation in and coproduc-tion of crime control services, and a widening of discretion for po-lice officers to deal with community problem solving.


In an earlier review of several community policing and foot pa-trol programs, Greene (1985) and Greene and Taylor (1985) sug-gested that many of these programs failed to adequately opera-tionalize the theory of community policing discussed above. Manyprojects simply put police officers in foot patrol beats in widely het-erogeneous communities. Other programs involved several policeinterventions, such as car stops, bus rides, and curfew enforcementas well as other fear reduction strategies, such as neighborhoodclean-up efforts, thereby making it difficult to determine the effec-tiveness of any particular strategy. Many of the community policingand foot patrol programs were absent experimental control andevaluated different outcomes. ,The conclusions drawn from theseprograms are difficult to draw together and are potentially biasedby faulty operational definitions about the community and/or thepolice intervention.

In a similar fashion, Yin (1986), in examining the effectivenessof 11 community crime prevention programs, concluded that manyof these interventions were not unique, although he suggested thatthe results of these evaluations were favorable and methodologi-cally reliable. Yin concludes, however, that many of these crime

American Journal of Police 7

prevention programs and their evaluations did not target highcrime rate neighborhoods for intervention, and that many actuallyfocused on small geographic areas. In this regard, Yin suggests thatthese 11 programs may not be representative of other crime pre-vention programs previously established. Finally, he suggests thatwhile we may know more about preventing crime from these stud-ies, we may not be able to do much about crime even given thisknowledge. Collectively, these meta-assessments of foot patrol andcommunity crime prevention programs raise more questions thanthey answer. Given the "experimental" nature of many foot patroland community police programs, systematic evidence about pro-gram effectiveness is simply not available. The research presentedhere furthers our understandings of the dynamics of communitypolicing and foot patrol programs in many diverse communities.

Foot Patrol, Crime Control and Order Maintenance

The first three papers in this volume examine what might betermed the traditional outcomes anticipated for foot patrol pro-grams-a reduction in crime and victimization, a more positive pub-lic assessment of the police, and a strengthening of communitybonds or the network of informal social control. The fourth paperaddresses another expectation of community policing-increasedpolice officer job satisfaction.

In "The Impact of Foot Patrol Staffing on Crime and Disorderin Boston: An Unmet Promise" William Bowers and Jon Hirschanalyze the impact of the Boston Reallocation Plan, a major effortto make foot patrol the predominant form of patrol in this urbancommunity. Bowers and Hirsch examine the crime control and or-der maintenance effects of this rather dramatic reorganization ofpatrol services in Boston, one that designated 34% of all patrolunits in that city for foot patrol.

In a city where historically 80% of patrol response units weretwo-man patrol cars, Boston undertook a dramatic shift towardcommunity policing in 1983. The Boston Reallocation Plan shiftedpatrol resources from a traditional reaction-oriented patrol modelof the past to one that emphasized foot patrol as the primary policeresponse system and single-officer patrol cars as the secondarymethod of patrol response (24% of all units). The result was to

8 American Journal of Police

shift 300 uniformed officers to foot patrol, in a city-wide programto improve police efficiency and effectiveness.

Analyzing 16 locations throughout the city of Boston for a 19-month period of time, Bowers and Hirsch provide one of the first"tests" of the foot patrol strategy in a large urban city. Data for theevaluation came from the Boston Police Department's computeraided dispatch system.

Interestingly, in implementing the Boston plan, police com-manders selected areas of the city with high rates of crime as targetareas for foot patrol, thereby overcoming some of the criticism ofthe crime prevention programs studied by Yin (1986). Using a"share statistic," or the proportion of calls for service that fell be-tween control and change groupings from 1981 through 1984,Bowers and Hirsch determine that no reporting or crime controleffects were attributable to foot patrol areas.

Using offense specific data, they could not find any major ef-fects in crimes reported to the police in areas where foot patrol wasimplemented. Violent crime such as assault (aggravated or simple)could not be associated with foot patrol staffing changes, and whilea reduction in street robbery occurred in high staffing foot patrolareas, this was offset by an increase in commercial robberies in thesame areas. Property offenses were similarly unrelated to foot pa-trol staffing changes; burglary showed no consistent associationwith foot patrol staffing, and larceny and auto thefts actually in-creased during the first year of the program, attesting to some re-porting stimulation effects. In this regard the crime control effectspresumed of the program were not realized.

In the second paper, "Foot Patrol: Of What Value?," Finn-Aage Esbensen examines the effects of a foot patrol program in amedium-sized southeastern city. Using police records as well as in-terview data with merchants in both a foot patrol and a comparisonarea, Esbensen examines both the crime effectiveness of foot patrolin a downtown business district, as well as the community relationsvalue of this program to area business leaders.

Impetus for this particular foot patrol program was presentedin a similar fashion to the arguments for order maintenance polic-ing advanced by Wilson and Kelling (1982), in that concern amongbusiness leaders had turned to the level of disorder evidenced inthe visibility of panhandlers, vagrants, drunks, prostitutes and oth-ers who might represent signs of social incivility. The Downtown

American Journal of Police 9

Merchants' Association mustered political and economic supportfor the addition of four officers to patrol on foot the three policebeats in the downtown business district.

Four months, representing seasonal variation in police work-load and crime reporting, were selected for the analysis betweenthe business district and a comparison area. Reported crimes inthese two areas formed the basis of the comparative study; two sur-veys were also conducted four months after the implementation ofthe foot patrol program, and again 20 months after the first survey.These surveys examined perceptions of police protection in the twoareas, as well as business leader assessments of police professional-ism, support for the police, and the quality of police and communityrelations.

Comparisons between business areas on the aggregated levelof reported crime revealed no significant differences, suggesting lit-tle overall crime control effect associated with the program. Con-trolling for crime type, most particularly for crimes of public disor-der (e.g. vandalism, disorderly conduct, prostitution, drunkenness,and vagrancy), did reveal a steady decline in public order crimes inthe foot patrol areas, with an increase in these crimes in the two ar-eas surrounding this business district. This finding suggests thatfoot patrol in this business district may have some public order dis-placement effect in surrounding districts.

The attitudinal surveys produced generally favorable assess-ments of police performance among the downtown merchants aswell as the comparison area merchants. The positive assessmentsof police performance made by the downtown merchants increasedover the life of the evaluation, suggesting some changes in the per-ception of the "quality of life" in the downtown area. Thesechanges were attributed to the foot patrol program.

Robert Friedmann's "Citizens' Attitudes Toward the Police:Results from an Experiment in Community Policing in Israel" ex-*amines the introduction of an experimental community policingand crime reduction program in an Israeli community. The imple-mentation of a Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) program into15 "problem neighborhoods" in a large metropolitan area of Israelprovided the opportunity to assess community attitudes toward thecommunity and the police. The NPO program cast the role of thepolice officer as "community social worker" rather than the tradi-tional law enforcement role ascribed to the police.

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Using a field experimental design, Friedmann examines com-munity attitudinal change in three time periods-at the beginning,middle and end of the program. This analysis is based on a sampleof four NPO neighborhoods randomly chosen and three controlareas, matched on several social, economic and demographic char-acteristics.

A community effects analysis examined attitudes toward thepolice and police effectiveness, assessments of police activities inthe neighborhoods, protective measures taken by residents, andfeelings of safety and self-reported victimization. The analysis alsoincludes an assessment of attitudes toward the community by em-ploying a "Community Attitudinal Scale," measuring perceptions ofcommunity services, integration and civic responsibility.

Friedmann's analysis has several implications for communitypolicing efforts. First, the analysis suggests that research and con-trol neighborhoods differed significantly on victimization beforeand after the program. Given the selection criteria used to obtainresearch areas defined as "problem neighborhoods" such differ-ences might have been expected. Nonetheless, changes in level ofvictimization could not be attributed to the policing intervention,even when neighborhoods were matched on other criteria.

Second, Friedmann reports that awareness of the program, es-pecially by residents in the research neighborhoods, increased dra-matically over the life of the project. While awareness of the exis-tence of the program was demonstrated, no evidence suggestedthat differences in direct contact with the police actually occurred.Improvements in police and community relations stemming fromthe program, then, were much more indirect than first anticipated,perhaps being mediated through community social organizationsrather than in citizen/police contact.

Third, in a factor analysis of the community attitude items,Friedmann's study suggests that research neighborhoods had alower view of self-conception than did their counterparts in thecontrol neighborhoods. These same research neighborhoodsdemonstrated a positive shift in attitude toward their community,while the comparison neighborhoods experienced a decline andrestabilization in attitudes toward the community.

Finally, an interesting and possibly counter intuitive finding inthe Friedmann study suggests a general decline in attitudes towardthe police, even when attitudes toward the community were im-

American Journal of Police 11

proving. This suggests that expectations of improved commu-nity/police relations and community restabilization may be unrealis-tic in certain communities, and that the dynamic of communitychange is much more difficult for the police to manipulate. Giventhe community change strategy imbedded in many communitypolicing and foot patrol programs, such findings direct attention tothe theory that undergirds the new policing philosophy.

Collectively, the three foot patrol and community policing pro-grams provide mixed evidence for certain of the claims made forthis type of police strategy. Evidence from these projects does notprovide tremendous support for the crime control goals of theseprograms, although in one program, reported by Esbensen, therewas a decline in public disorder crimes. Victimization, as measuredby Friedmann, was not associated with the community policing in-tervention evaluated, although community cohesion did seem to beaffected, but mediated through existing social institutions ratherthan directly from police and citizen contact.

Improving the "Quality of Life"for the Police

Another set of claims associated with community policing andfoot patrol programs are connected with improving police officerjob attachment and officer satisfaction, while at the same time im-proving the "quality of life" in the community. The final paper inthis volume considers these claims.

Assessing police officer job satisfaction in a community polic-ing program in Baltimore County, Maryland, David Hayslip andGary Cordner examine the "The Effects of Community-OrientedPatrol on Police Officer Attitudes". This evaluation of police offi-cer job satisfaction was undertaken in conjunction with the adop-tion of a problem-oriented police strategy in Baltimore County,Maryland in 1982.

Project COPE, Citizen Oriented Police Enforcement, soughtto approach crime and law enforcement by targeting communityproblems through-various police tactics. COPE police officers weregiven an expanded police role, a role that involved more discretionin decision making and a wider field of police interventions.

Building on past assessments of community police officer jobsatisfaction, this study sought to determine the independent effectsof patrol officer participation in project COPE. Using a treatment

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and control group, surveys were administered four times, at the be-ginning of the program in 1982, January-February 1983, November1983, and in March 1985. These surveys measured officer job sat-isfaction, attitudes toward the community, attitudes toward the po-lice role, and personal assessments of the effectiveness of theCOPE strategy. In addition to these outcome variables, officertenure, education and age were included in the analysis to controlfour other factors previously associated with levels of job satisfac-tion.

In the bivariate analysis presented, Hayeslip and Cordner sug-gest that COPE participation increased or maintained the level ofjob satisfaction and sense of accomplishment among COPE offi-cers, while control group officers generally reported less satisfactionand accomplishment throughout the life of the program. Attitudestoward the community also tended to be more positive amongCOPE officers in comparison to the control group, and COPE offi-cers tended to maintain a broader definition of their police role.Finally, as might be expected, COPE officers saw more promise forthe COPE strategy than did control officers.

In a multivariate analysis, Hayeslip and Cordner report thatparticipation in the COPE program best predicted assignment sat-isfaction, feelings of accomplishment, positive police image, andperceptions that COPE had some effect on crime. Personal andjob assignment and tenure variables had little consistent effect onthe measures of job satisfaction and accomplishment.

The findings from the research conducted by Hayslip andCordner extend the analyses of others who, while measuring as-pects of job satisfaction among the police, failed to control forother personal and rank/assignment factors that may affect satisfac-tion. These findings suggest that police officer attitudes toward thecommunity, their role as agents of social control, and their sense ofachievement and accomplishment can be influenced by participa-tion in a community policing strategy. This finding is consistentwith other projects that have attempted to reorient the police to acommunity focus (see Boydstun and Sherry, 1975).

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It is clear that the concepts of foot patrol and communitypolicing have captured the imagination of the public, social scien-tists and police managers. Each affected group has differing rea-sons for its support of these programs. The community sees suchpolice programs as more visibly deterring crime, despite the evi-dence that suggests that crime and victimization are little affectedby such police strategies.

Social scientists see the prospects of such community policingand crime prevention programs as a way of testing ideas about in-formal social control, fear of crime and the police role in these pro-cesses. Despite what we have learned about the effectiveness andineffectiveness of these programs, the debate as to the role of thepolice in maintaining the "sense of community" thought to makeneighborhoods more crime resistant continues.

Police managers see these programs as alternative definitionsof police effectiveness and efficiency at a time when all public agen-cies are being subjected to more extensive review and evaluation.After a decade of research "debunking" the effectiveness of mostpatrol and investigative effort, community policing and foot patrolprovide a fresh opportunity to "demonstrate" that the police aredoing something about crime and disorder.

All of this "police experimentation" is occurring within a po-litical context stressing "getting tough on crime," "self-help" and"co-protection," emphasizing the community's role in crime preven-tion and order maintenance. But what of this for the continuationof such police innovations?

The prospects for community policing and foot patrol are un-certain at present. There is much rhetoric currently surroundingthe foot patrol debate. Proponents of this patrol strategy makeseveral claims; some claim crime effectiveness and improved socialinteraction among the police and the community. Others claimthat such programs are merely "old wine in new bottles". The pa-pers presented in this volume of The American Journal of Police at-tempt to focus and clarify some of the claims and counterclaims. Inthe long run, the test of community policing and foot patrol willdepend on careful documentation and thorough analysis.

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Angell, J.E. (1971) "Towards an Alternative to the Classical PoliceOrganizational Arrangements: A Democratic Model" Criminology9 (2,3): 185-206.

Boydstun, J.E. and M.E. Sherry (1975) San Diego Community Pro-file: Final Report. Washington, DC: Police Foundation.

Fogelson, R.M. (1977) Big City Police. Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversity Press.

Goldstein, H. (1977) Policing a Free Society. Cambridge, MA:Ballinger.

Goldstein, H. (1979) "Improving Policing: A Problem OrientedApproach" Crime and Delinquency. 25 (April): 236-258

Greene, J.R. (1985) "Religiosity and Crime Control: A Look atFoot Patrol and Community-Based Policing." Paper presented atthe annual meetings of the Society for the Study of Social Prob-lems, Washington, DC, August.

Greene, J.R., and R. B. Taylor (1986) "A Closer Look at Foot Pa-trol and Community Based Policing: Issues of Theory, Evaluationand Operationalization." Paper presented at the annual meetingsof the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Orlando, Florida,March.

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Schwartz, A.I. and S.N. Clarren (1977) The Cincinnati Team Polic-ing Experiment. A Summary Report. Washington, DC: The UrbanInstitute and the Police Foundation.

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Sykes, G. (1986) "Street Justice: A Moral Defense of Order Main-tenance Policing," Justice Quarterly 3,4 (December): 497-512.

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