Low Crime Community Essay

Pages: 9 (2387 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Low-Crime Community

An Analysis of the Elements of Crime and how they can contribute to Harmony

A low crime community is the goal of every neighborhood and city in the world, but achieving it is unquestionably one of the most puzzling problems to solve for local governments and police forces. The problems of crime in some of the country's most dangerous communities are never-ending, and every additional crime begets more crime, creating a dangerous compounding effect. The motivations for an individual or group to commit a crime are many, from pure economic reasons, down to the most arcane violent acts that shock neighborhoods by the displayed malicious intent.

There are some communities that have significantly reduced crime, however, by adopting some common sense rules and by keeping alert to threats to the neighborhood. Low crime communities concentrate on police presence, neighborhood watch, streetlights, and sometimes, even gates are erected in the most dangerous situations to isolate the community from outside intrusion. This paper will discuss both how violent crime has progressed in the nation through various statistics, and will examine what needs to be done in order to successfully achieve and implement harmony that can maintain a long-term low-crime community.

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In order to understand what needs to be done to achieve neighborhood harmony in every single corner of this nation, one must first look at how crime rate have progressed (or regressed) in the past few decades. The categories that will be examined here will constitute violent crime, property crime, murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary, larceny-theft and vehicle theft. Though statistics are available since the 1960's, this examination will begin a decade later so as to be able to show the sheer increases in some of these categories. The data is provided below:

1. Year 1970: Population 203,252,298: Total Crime: 8,098,000

a. Violent -- 738,820

b. Property -- 7,359,200

c. Murder -- 16,000

TOPIC: Essay on Low Crime Community Assignment

d. Forcible Rape -- 37,990

e. Robbery -- 349,860

f. Aggravated Assault -- 334,970

g. Burglary -- 2,205,000

h. Larceny-Theft -- 4,225,800

i. Vehicle Theft -- 928,400

2. Year 1980: Population 225,349,264: Total Crime: 13,408,300

a. Violent -- 1,344,520

b. Property -- 12,063,700

c. Murder -- 23.040

d. Forcible Rape -- 82,990

e. Robbery -- 565,840

f. Aggravated Assault -- 672,650

g. Burglary -- 3,795,200

h. Larceny-Theft -- 7,136,900

i. Vehicle Theft -- 1,131,700

3. Year 1990: Population 248,709,873: Total Crime: 14,475,600

a. Violent -- 1,820,130

b. Property -- 12,655,500

c. Murder -- 23,440

d. Forcible Rape -- 102,560

e. Robbery -- 639,270

f. Aggravated Assault -- 1,054,860

g. Burglary -- 3,073,990

h. Larceny-Theft -- 7,945,700

i. Vehicle Theft -- 1,635,900

4. Year 2000: Population 281,421,906: Total Crime: 11,608,072

a. Violent -- 1,425,486

b. Property -- 10,182,586

c. Murder -- 15,586

d. Forcible Rape -- 90,178

e. Robbery -- 408,016

f. Aggravated Assault -- 911,706

g. Burglary -- 2,050,992

h. Larceny-Theft -- 6,971,590

i. Vehicle Theft -- 1,160,002

5. Year 2010: Population 308,745,538: Total Crime: 10,329,135

a. Violent -- 1,246,248

b. Property -- 9,082,887

c. Murder -- 14,748

d. Forcible Rape -- 84,767

e. Robbery -- 367,832

f. Aggravated Assault -- 778,901

g. Burglary -- 2,159,878

h. Larceny-Theft -- 6,185,867

i. Vehicle Theft -- 737,142 (All Statistical Information above from: Disaster Center, 2010)

From these simple statistics one can see that the rates in these nine categories have changed dramatically throughout the past four decades. In some respects, crime has increased; in others, however, it has increased almost exponentially. The reason these statistics were included were to utilize them to examine both strategies to curb crime, as well as those events that took place and that increased the number of crimes committed. This must be understood, especially in the latter case, in order to see what can be done to ensure the sustainability of low-crime communities.

First, it must be acknowledged that throughout these decades the U.S. population rose. From approximately 203,000,000 in the 1970's, the U.S. population now numbers 100,000,000 more, and rests at approximately 309,000,000. This increase is accounted for in almost all the categories of crime, which increased as well. Rape, for instance, is one of the categories that kept climbing. Burglary and property crime also increased, especially throughout the 1980's and 1990's. Yet as can be seen from the data, these statistics regressed to much lower rates in the 2000's. It is important to thus analyze the kind of elements that were in place in order to increase these crime rates in previous decades, for if these are understood they can be curbed, and stopped, so as to continue to reduce and eliminate crime and, again, ensure the safety of neighborhoods. (Crime in America, 2012)

To understand nationwide trends of increased crime that began in the 1970's, and ended in the late 1990's, one must examine another key factor: drugs. Crime and drugs go hand in hand, for two reasons. First of all, since drugs are always in high demand, yet are illegal to sell in the United States, there will always be a persistent black market for drugs. This black market surged in this era because of cultural acceptance of drugs like marijuana and cocaine, and because of the incredible amount of wealth, which could be attained, from controlling the drug trade. The war on drugs, a pivotal campaign during President Ronald Reagan's administration, began a multimillion-dollar anti-drug fight that spanned from the border of Mexico down to the jungles of Colombia. Television also depicted drug dealers as renegades in movies such as Scarface and Goodfellas, giving a sort of legitimacy to the idea of being a drug dealer as a high earning job, thereby increasing crime.

The second link between drugs and crime is that of addiction, and the effects of withdrawal. Those who used drugs such as cocaine in the 1980's and 1990s had a never-ending cycle of need, in which the acquisition of their drug of choice was the only thing they could think about. This mental state led many drug addicts to become habitual criminals in search of their next fix. This problem exacerbated other violent crimes, such as murder, rape, assault, and the illegal possession of firearms. A lack of public knowledge about the dangers of these party drugs meant that often, drug dealers as easy targets for addiction targeted young teenagers.

The problem of de-urbanization that came in the 1970's and 1980's meant that wealthy Americans left the major cities like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York City, in search of a suburban lifestyle. This meant that cities were without badly needed tax revenue, and the numbers of police and the level of citywide maintenance collapsed. Thus drug dealers became rampant, the homeless levels swelled, and prisons were overrun as cities seized in their inability to manage themselves properly. The federal government provided help in some regards, but nothing could reverse the negative trends at this point, because urban centers had gained a poor reputation and suburban families did not want to re-enter the major urban centers.

The late 1990's saw the reemergence of these cities because an entirely new generation of Americans began flocking back to the country's major urban centers as crime levels fell again and business boomed during the time of America's longest and largest economic expansion. Suddenly, cities were able to better manage their policing and public awareness problems that had plagued America in the 1970's and 1980's. Optimism was also shown in media once again, as urban centers were recast as places of youthful optimism, in television shows like Seinfeld and Friends. Gone were the depressing versions of inner city life that had occupied television for a generation. The 2000's saw a rapid movement back into cities once again, as the September 11th attacks consolidated America's favor of its major cities. The feeling of negativity towards these cities that was prevalent in the American collective conscious since the 1970's had entirely vanished, and a new era in America began. Major cities are now enjoying a renaissance of less crime than present in 50 years, particularly in Los Angeles and New York City. (Venkatesh, 2011)

Those who saw the problems that existed in America put their heads together and created a method of dual crime fighting measures to enact in the country's cities and communities, in order to create a more harmonious society. These are infrastructure problems, such as de-urbanization and police presence, and community solutions, such as increased police, increased streetlights and CCTV. One way in which to curb crime would thus be to ensure that such de-urbanization never occurs again, as well as to ensure that drugs stay out of cities, and the nation. Yet this is easier said than done. In large cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, drugs are a constant battle, especially since there are constant populations immigrating into these cities from various income groups that often upset the balance. That said, these cities are, as aforementioned, definitely faring better than in previous decades, and the statistics show it as well.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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