Partnering Center

SARA Model

Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment

The Partnering Center uses the SARA model as part of the problem-solving process. The acronym refers to the model’s four-step process: Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment. The SARA Model has been used over the past 16 years to help residents of several Cincinnati neighborhoods work in partnership with police to solve community crime and mayhem.

Would your community like to learn how to use the SARA process to identify and respond to issues around crime and safety? Contact the Partnering Center at or call (513) 559-5450 to get started.

The SARA Model

A commonly used problem-solving method is the SARA model (Scanning, Analysis, Response and Assessment). The SARA model contains the following elements:

  • Identifying recurring problems of concern to the public and the police.
  • Identifying the consequences of the problem for the community and the police.
  • Prioritizing those problems.
  • Developing broad goals.
  • Confirming that the problems exist.
  • Determining how frequently the problem occurs and how long it has been taking place.
  • Selecting problems for closer examination.


  • Identifying and understanding the events and conditions that precede and accompany the problem.
  • Identifying relevant data to be collected.
  • Researching what is known about the problem type.
  • Taking inventory of how the problem is currently addressed and the strengths and limitations of the current response.
  • Narrowing the scope of the problem as specifically as possible.
  • Identifying a variety of resources that may be of assistance in developing a deeper understanding of the problem.
  • Developing a working hypothesis about why the problem is occurring.


  • Brainstorming for new interventions.
  • Searching for what other communities with similar problems have done.
  • Choosing among the alternative interventions.
  • Outlining a response plan and identifying responsible parties.
  • Stating the specific objectives for the response plan.
  • Carrying out the planned activities.


  • Determining whether the plan was implemented (a process evaluation).
  • Collecting pre– and post–response qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Determining whether broad goals and specific objectives were attained.
  • Identifying any new strategies needed to augment the original plan.
  • Conducting ongoing assessment to ensure continued effectiveness.