Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

First Advisor

Dr. Robert D. Winkle

Second Advisor

Dr. Gary Tschoepe

Third Advisor

Dr. Philip A. Ethridge


In 1997, in the small rural community of San Benito in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, at the southern tip of Texas, graffiti vandalism was the target of a community-police partnership. Supported in part by the Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Offices, U.S. Department of Justice, the San Benito Police Department took action against graffiti and in doing so elicited the community's participation.

This thesis provides a brief overview of American policing with emphasis on an innovative and strategic management concept known as community-oriented policing and on problem-solving approaches. These efforts were undertaken by individual officers and community organizers to address graffiti as a persistent crime problem. The main focus is the SARA Model, a 4-step problem-solving process, as implemented by the San Benito Police Department. SARA is the acronym for Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment. This thesis discusses how the problem was identified, what sources of information were used to analyze the problem, what actions were taken, and what was the outcome.


Copyright 2001 Yolanda Lopez. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American