Preventive patrol is a form of police service that directly attempts to eliminate opportunity for misconduct. It involves walking or driving around the area and keeping a look out for potential problems. Preventive patrol purports to increase police presence in areas of expected crime in order to act as a deterrent. The notion behind preventive patrol is the belief that patrol prevents and deters crime. It is one of the five core operational strategies of policing. Preventive patrol is often adopted as a measure of community caretaking functions that include the duty to reduce the opportunities for the commission of some crimes.
The objectives of preventive patrol include (i) deterrence of crime, (ii) apprehension of criminals, (ii) satisfaction of the public demands for services related to crime, (iv) development of a sense of security and confidence In the law enforcement agency, and (v) recovery of stolen property.