|A neighborhood precinct in Montréal, with small windows with blinds or curtains, which is ironically one of the best designs of the examples I'll show here...|
|A precinct in Minneapolis, note the dearth of open windows at the ground level and the setback, but the worst is yet to come...|
|Behind these trees and parking lot could be any regular suburban office, but this is Arlington's (Texas) Police Department building|
|And this is the crowning achievement of shame, Glenn Heights' Police Department, in the suburbs of Dallas, no window on the road, which anyway is in the middle of nowhere. Might be useful in a zombie apocalypse, but otherwise...|
Another unpleasant result of this is that policemen develop severe windshield perspective syndrome, since they spend their jobs at the wheel, they adopt the point of view of drivers, being more lax towards casual traffic violations by drivers and more likely to enforce jaywalking fines or the like on pedestrians and cyclists (and also, disrespecting bike lanes).
The kouban, or police box
|This is the plaza in front of Gotanda Station in Tokyo, the Kouban is circled in red...|
|...here is what it looks like, not the small size and the windows making up nearly all of the front, allowing the policeman occupying it to see outside easily|
|That small red building in the center of this business district is also a kouban|
|This kouban is at the entry point of Yokohama's chinatown, as you can see a policeman is standing right in front of it|
|It may be hard to see, but the small building at the center of this image is the Susukino Kouban in Sapporo, right in the middle of an entertainment/red-light district|
|The small building to the right is a kouban in Iwamizawa, a small suburb of Sapporo, near the train station and the walkable commercial core of the town|
|A kouban in touristic Matsushima, near the train station, with architecture respecting the traditional context of the town|
These koubans also help people deal with regulations, koubans are involved in the "proof of parking" system and with the bike registry system. They also provide some certainty, when in trouble, people know where the police is, unlike in North America where you absolutely need to place a call to find the police. I think the location of these koubans in the middle of communities also helps foster a much better attitude in policemen towards the community, as they are less isolated from it, and also makes police part of community rather than a kind of occupying force, helping the community's attitude towards its police force.