Rapid Response, Neighborhood Watch, and Reactive Policing are three criminal justice policies or practices that I think will continue to be used massively in our society. I say this for a handful of reasons; The issue with rapid response is typically mixed, however there was an extensive study that was conducted in Kansas City in the 70’s that ultimately ruled rapid response times having virtually no effect on increasing arrest. However, there have been mixed studies conducted as well in Los Angeles that found that the chances of arrest could increase if officer travel time decreased.
Rapid response isn’t necessarily bad in my opinion in some situations and that’s the problem with it. Some situations it works, in others it won’t. In scenarios of carjacking or burglary even like Worrall suggest in our text, it can potentially be effective because you are catching individuals in the act and this is probably why it is a practice that will continue. It is a “sort of” works so why change it mentality here and that is already an issue that is pervasive in policy and practices in criminal justice. Surely there is a way of responding proactively. Neighborhood watches are also something that I feel are going to continue despite the lack of success. Personally, I find them to be a waste of time for not only officers but the individuals doing it. Except for one study that Worrall mentions in our book, there really isn’t much evidence that would suggest neighborhood watches reduce crime. In fact, where most neighborhood watches form, it is almost pointless because crime is more likely to occur in poorer, high crime areas rather than upper middle-class suburban areas. So, it begs the question: Why don’t they from NW’s in poor, higher crime areas?
The truth is that these neighborhoods lack a sense of reliance on one another and as well as the ever so popular lack of faith in the policing community. I can see this policy continuing for a few good reasons. We are in an era of policing that promotes community and police departments working together to control crime and reduce it. Also, individuals like to have a sense of pride in their communities and where they live and raise their families. Working together with other neighbors to watch for suspicious activity is something people would like to do. It keeps their neighborhood in good check, property values high and I can’t imagine why home owners would want that to stop. Reactive Policing is sort of similar to rapid response but instead of focusing on fast response times to crimes that occur, reactive policing acts when the crime is made aware to officials.
I can see this practice continuing because some crimes fit perfectly with this form of policing. And that may seem strange to think because of the research we have at our disposal. In some crimes, reactive policing feels like the best way to address certain crimes. Take domestic violence; How are we to know what is happening in someone’s home? We don’t. The purpose of reactive policing is to arrive when we are called. Like our book, I am not certain that it will reduce crimes being reduced but when looking at the scope of what reactive policing is for, it feels essential. Whether it is domestic or not, when the 911 call is made, officers react and go to where they are needed. That’s why it will continue to be used.
What can we reasonably expect from police in terms of crime prevention/control?
Reasonably, we can expect the police to do the best job that they can with the best resources and knowledge that they have. When it comes to tackling the issues that we as a community face, there shouldn’t be any problem that is far too big for local law enforcement to handle. At the end of the day, the police are here to serve us, the public, regardless of the negative image that they can and sometimes often have. In order to do that, we must employ policing tactics that are proven to work and that are backed with real data. Using tactics that don’t waste on funds and continue to improve the lives of those in the area that which the law enforcement serves. Using techniques that involve proactive policing to effectively eliminate crime, directing patrol to areas that are known to have crime issues (hot spots) and continuing to have a bonding relationship from members of the community and those who serve the community are some ideals that we can reasonably expect from the police when it comes to crime prevention/control.
We can also expect ethical guidelines to be met and held to a high level of respect. Having a police force that is ethically responsible and respectful to the badge that they wear and the members of the community that they serve are also a standard that should be met and should be reasonable to expect out of our law enforcement. Having an ethical police force that is respectful of the badge that they wear and the meaning it represents will in turn be a positive staple in our attempt to fight crime and care for our members for our community. Having individuals in places of power that act ethically correct will hopefully act in a way that isn’t corrupt and it’s a crying shame that this is something that needs to be reasonably expected.
How does the crime problem influence the manner in which police conduct business?
To start, I think about the crime problem that we have had in the past has led to great strides in the past when it comes to improving the police and the product that it provides to the American public. The ways in which we conduct business and how we handle crime problems have changed drastically over the years and what we are seeing is great strides in improving communities through police work, data collection, and policies that improve the standard of living. We can look at certain scenarios that allow crime to thrive and making alterations to the way that we address these areas can allow us to overcome our crime problems. A good example of this is from a personal experience of mine from a ride along with an officer that had to do for one of my classes last summer. On this ride along, we drove up next to a park and the officer told me about how this particular area was a hot spot at one point for Johns, and drug activity. There are was overgrown with shrubbery, littered with trash and just not a spot people who weren’t up to no good would frequent. This in theory was a hot spot and somewhere individuals who were doing things they shouldn’t be doing would frequent. The officers took it upon themselves to clean up the area, remove the shrubbery, and trash and make this once desolate park somewhere that families and kids could go to again.
And what happened after you might be wondering?
Simply, this area began to be void of actual crime. Johns weren’t frequenting it, homeless individuals weren’t sleeping there, and it became a place for the community to feel safe and visit again. What these officers did was what our book identifies as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and I know this isn’t something we have gone over yet in class, but it is something we have gone over in previous classes and it is something that I find is relevant in how we deal with crime. What CPTED is essentially is the manipulating of the environment that lessens the chances for offender opportunities to exploit the area that they are in. This is typically something that should be done well before issues are rising but it’s a proactive attempt at policing rather than reactive in the sense that we aren’t waiting for crime to begin being an issue in these areas.
To conclude, crime is always going to be an issue in society. It is an everchanging issue that always presents new ways that people will find a way to abuse for their own personal gain at the expense of those around them. As crime evolves, we as law enforcement must evolve.