This study was conducted with the aim of assessing the level of public trust of the police; identifying the major factors that shape public trust of the police, and exploring its relationship with crime rate, detection and prevention. In doing so, survey was employed which focused on gathering information on the major issues under study which included; the variations in the level of trust of the police among categories of the city’s residents, the factors that facilitate and hamper public trust of the police among the city’s residents, the relationship between crime rate and public trust of the police, and assessing public perceptions of police effectiveness in detecting and preventing crime. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with purposively selected residents and police officers who are in charge of providing security to the study area (wereda 01). The study shows that there are variations in the level of peoples’ trust of the police in accordance with their socio-demographic characteristics. Residents’ attitude regarding the ethical conduct of the police is one of the major factors that influence their trust of the police. Public perception of police effectiveness in crime detection and prevention, rather than the actual police performance, accounts for the lion’s share of impact on public trust of the police. Even though crime rate is decreasing from time to time, it is the public view of crime rate which is found to be significant in shaping public trust of the police. Community policing mainly focuses on preventing crime by putting members of the community in charge of securing their locality and safeguarding each other. In addition to this, it contributes to build trust, which is currently in its infant stage, between the residents and the police.
Keywords: Public trust, Police, Crime prevention, Crime detection, Crime rate