Community Policing Today Is a Very Complex Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2494 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Community Policing

Policing today is a very complex and dangerous service provided to an often inconsiderate and ungrateful community. Indeed, the crime rate appears to dictate a community's feelings about its police force. On the other hand, it has too often happened that the very same maligned force tends to take criticism without attempting to remedy the departments in question according to the community's voiced needs. Having recognized this apparent segregation between the police force and the community it serves, critics and researchers have begun to investigate ways in which to remedy the difficulties in the relationship between the community and its police force. The concept arising from this has come to be known as community policing.

In the light of these issues, this paper focuses on the community of Macom and its police force, as requested. The problems as they are currently experienced are explored and analyzed in order to make recommendations and suggest improvements. In summary, Macom's problem is two-fold: the drop in morale in the police force as a result of the rising crime rates, and the increasing fearfulness of the community for the same reason. Specifically, the police appears to have major difficulties in its relationship with the community it serves. In turn, the community no longer appears to trust the police of Macom.

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Researchers and writers on the problem of rising crime rates have focused on a variety of aspects that could cause this phenomenon. Some have gone as far as noting that parents should take greater responsibility for their children, which would result in a more stable society. While this could be true to a certain extent, it is also true that there are other major influences on a young person's life as soon as he or she leaves for school, a friend's house, a club, or any location away from the parental home. Aspects of these influences are discussed later.

Term Paper on Community Policing Today Is a Very Complex Assignment

In summary, this report will address the problems as they currently experienced in Macom. Specifically, this is a process that includes defining a mission statement for the department, addressing the problem of rising crime rates and its possible causes, addressing theories and philosophies of policing, and making recommendations based upon the findings. Specific aspects of the problems in Macom are addressed and analyzed in order to integrate with the research conducted. It is important to recognize that various points-of-view exist surrounding the problems.

Basically, it does appear that Macom's police department needs to implement some changes in order to address their problems. It is unlikely, in the light of the demographic described, that the crime rate will drop without any intervention. Indeed, the very purpose of the police should be to prevent crime and to seriously address rising crime rates. As such, it is therefore imperative that targeted changes be made within the police department in order to address the crime problems of the community.

Primary Mission of Macom Police Department clear mission statement is vitally important in any business environment. It is particularly important for a service provider such as the police department, as more is involved than a financial bottom line. The police functions within a community. The department's effectiveness within any specific community is integrated with the community's perception of the department. If a community for example believes that the police is corrupt or biased, there will be an innate distrust whenever the police attempt to enforce the law. Such negativity also makes it difficult to implement strategies such as community policing. The police are then seen as a kind of heavy-handed parent or school master, assuming guilt and taking no great pains to prove innocence before punishing.

The Macom police need to decide what their primary goal is in the community. According to the final statement in the communication received, the disagreement with the police chief revolves around whether a change in basic strategy is needed in order to curb the upsurge of crime in the community. The other side of the argument is that the surge will simply subside, like it did during the 1990s, and that no change should be made within the department. The fundamental problem with the latter strategy is that the primary function of any police department is to fight crime. If there is an upsurge of crime and the police department makes no change in its strategy, this does not correlate well with this primary function. Progressively, this ideal can be presented as follows:

The police department works to fight crime.

Crime rises.

The police department works harder.

Ignoring the problem would simply exacerbate the already strained relationship between the community and the police. In creating the mission statement, the Macon Police department should therefore consider the primary problems that currently present themselves: the attitude of the community, and the current strategies of the police department. These are presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Community and Police relationship in Macom

Community

Police

Fear of rising crime levels.

Continuation of existing strategies; demoralization.

Negative perceptions: police are biased.

No attempt to meet with community leaders to talk about the issues; attempts to justify existing patrol patterns.

The table makes it clear that the lack of action on the part of the Macom police has perpetuated negative perceptions and feelings within the community. Delineating the problem in this way also makes it clear that no change is simply not an option. Ignoring the problem will exacerbate it to eventually unmanageable levels. This should be kept in mind when constructing a mission statement. The statement should also take into account the nature of the problems, and how these can be addressed while also curbing the crime problem.

For a mission statement, the following is suggested:

The purpose and mission of the Macom police department is to control the criminal element within the community, ensure community safety and security, and build community relationships in order to reach these goals optimally."

The rise in crime levels then indicate that the police need to change their strategies to target the factors responsible for the phenomenon. They should also do so publicly, and where possible, involve community leaders in order to enhance mutual trust and respect. Tim Berry (2008) suggests that the mission statement should be a team effort to ensure that it represents the entire department. In these terms, the mission statement should be made available to all police officers. It should be discussed and modified via departmental meetings, and finally displayed at prominent locations throughout the department. In this way, it is ensured that all police officers are in agreement as to the purpose and projected results of change.

II the Crime Rate and Police Strategy

The rise in crime rates can be directly related to the demographic changes in Macom, particularly in the disproportionate increase of young people and the ethnic minority community. Table II indicates some crime problems that could result from an increase of persons in these two groups. Young people often succumb to peer pressure when committing crimes. Such pressure, and the desire to be seen as "cool" and accepted by their peers, could encourage even children from good, law-abiding homes to become involved in petty crimes such as property damage or shoplifting, or indeed in drug-related offenses. The ethnic minority in turn could be influenced by the perception of their position within the general community. Crime could be a way to retaliate against victimization by either the police or the community. Furthermore, ethnic minority communities are often poor, which could result in crime as an attempted source of income.

Table 2: Criminal activity among the youth and ethnic minority

The Youth

Ethnic Minorities

Peer pressure

Problems in relationship with police could encourage criminal activity

Problems at home

Victimization by police and general community

Academic / learning problems

Perception of position in society

Gangsterism

Poverty

The above are only hypotheses of possible reasons for the rise in the crime rates mentioned. The demographic groups most likely to be involved should be investigated and monitored very closely in order to delineate the extent of the problem, and to construct problem-solving strategies in order to curb the problem. In forming such strategies, it is important that the police take a community-oriented approach, working with parents and community leaders. A positive position of mutual trust should be used as a basis from which to influence the youth and ethnic demographic. In this way, crime can be discouraged and replaced by more wholesome activities. Punitive measures tend to have a negative effect on the community, and will exacerbate the already negative perception of racism among the Macom police.

A major problem specifically among the youth is gangsterism and offenses perpetrated as part of a gang. This is also a problem for the Macom community as well, with reports of loud music, graffiti, vandalism and other misdemeanors that could be gang-related. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (2008), the youth join gangs for a number of reasons, but that fear is not generally one of them.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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