Jul 11, 2019 in Review

Term Paper Essay Example

  • The concepts of corruption in police departments were introduced to us through the early works of William Westley and Robert Fogelson. Using that history and Zimring’s analysis what has changed? Has it? (Make sure to define terms such as inside job and inbreeding). Be specific.
Undoubtedly, corruption is a vice of policing and a huge concern to communities as a whole, especially due to the fact that this criminal offence has a substantial devastating effect on the image, reputation and authoritativeness of law enforcement. Scholars, such as Westley, Fogelson and Zimring, have attempted to clarify the core of the issue in order to find an appropriate means for eradication of this threat to public’s distrust in police. Success of these ventures is debated, though the theoretical background provided by the researchers allows better understanding of the problem. Drawing upon Westley’s arguments, corruption among police officers is linked to specific police subculture that is characterized by (a) secrecy, (b) legitimation of police activities by agents themselves, namely, finding justifications to any of their activities, and (c) public pressure on their authority along with the fact that this authority and power, even in an aggressive manner, is given them by the state, and people accordingly. Moreover, public can be perceived as a watchdog that underestimates the significance of police based on its distrust. It follows that being positioned among such external pressing circumstances, police officers are likely to misinterpret the extent and ethicality of their functions and transform their professional morality in order to secure their individual existence. For this reason, corruption may stem from such multidimensional pressing environment. Even though these findings were developed decades ago, the circumstances and pressures indicated by Westley are similar. Hence, it seems invalid to assert that likelihood of police corruption was eliminated from this perspective. Based on Fogelson’s studies, the scope of police responsibilities is determined by “autonomy, standards, and focus on crime”. For instance, patrolling as one of the primary activities of law enforcement was practically uncontrolled. Hence, possibility of using authority in an inappropriate manner was too tempting, especially in light of unfavorable people’s attitudes towards police. Whereas the scholar’s observations were linked to the era of transformations in the criminal justice system, this situation allowed to understand corruption from a different angle. This research reported that overly emphasis on eradication of corruption among police officers has led to even harsher public distrust and even outrage. This was due to that more severe crimes were overlooked and on the rise at the same time. Thus, again, the issue of corruption was misinterpreted in an attempt to address it. Although Zimring has analyzed decline in major crimes in New York, corruption among police officers was not a central part of the analysis. Thus, his approach evidenced a shift from overconcentration on this crime. Simultaneously, the scholar has identified a few more determining factors of possibility of corruption, such as “inside job” and “inbreeding.” “Inside job” can be interpreted as a tactic of police ‘self-recruitment’ and ‘self-retain’ of the staff with “police academies training recruits in larger departments and department- generated in-service training provided for specialized functions and administrative advancement”. This term can also be defined as a criminal offence committed by a person who is aware of the ‘inside knowledge’ of this particular crime and uses this awareness to cover one’s actions. “Inbreeding” as a “systemic dysfunction of central concern” characterized by familism and personal acquaintances instead of fair recruitment of professionals for staffing needs. Despite these issues were analyzed in historical perspective, no evidence exists that they were properly addressed and are eliminated nowadays. To summarize, the scholars have contributed to better understanding of nature of corruption and its root determinants. However, it is unlikely that the factors outlined by the researchers are nonexistent today.
  • In Chapter 5 Zimring uses the Broken Windows Theory in New York City leading to the significant crime decline. Explain how and if such can be applied to the current events of Baltimore, Maryland.
Broken windows theory of policing implies that establishment and maintenance of the order in society through strict enforcement measures against minor offences is an acceptable and appropriate way to eliminate criminality at large. The theory proposed by Wilson and Kelling in 1982 and tested in New York in the 1990s seemingly showed positive practical outcomes in terms of crime decline in the city, though Zimring ascertains that the practice worked out only partially. Despite its promotion as a sound and one-size-fits-all solution to eradication of crimes, application of the broken windows theory in current Baltimore, Maryland, is yet to be clarified. To start with, the indicated theory emphasizes a necessity of a thorough and holistic strategy in fearing the potential criminals and public at large in order to mitigate any further development of more severe crime rates. Potential criminality and threatening to public order and resilience is attributed to vice crimes, vandalism, marijuana use, and mere suspicious look of the individuals, to list a few. From the practical perspective, New York policies are considered an example of successful implementation of the theory on practice. For instance, a “quality-of-life” bicycle safety campaign targeting teenagers that was launched in 1996 helped the police in addressing “robberies, shootings, and drug transactions”. Specifically, in light of these bicycle safety measures, law enforcement officers were able to collect weapons and drugs among the representatives of the target audience. On a similar note, application of the theory in New York and subsequent crime reduction are the issues of dubious nature. A specific issue to consider is an overly emphasis on one criminal activities, such as marijuana use, while total ignorance of other so-called minor crimes, such as prostitution. This is regardless of the fact that this vice crime is of not less importance for ensuring all-embracing order and life quality for the entire community whereas prostitution can be a verge point for other crimes, including robbery or even murder from different perspectives. Moreover, the racial and gender attributes of broken window policies showed discrimination and growing tensions among minority groups rather than elimination of crime roots. To illustrate, Zimring has noted that while the number of male and female users of marijuana was approximately the same, the arrest rates were above 93% against 7% respectively. Additionally, while above 40% estimated marijuana users were white, they accounted for 9% of overall arrests in contrast to 34.2% use of cannabis by blacks and 55.7% rate of arrests among this minority. Based on up-to-date statistical data provided by Police Department of Baltimore County Government, possibility of application of the broken windows theory can be quite traceable. On the one hand, the assumption can be attributed to the trends in crime decline with regards to the groups of major criminal offences. Total theft for the last 5 years declined by 4.4%, while vehicle theft by 17.1%. Arsons were lowered by 25.8%, homicide rates showed zero percentage decrease, rape above 29%, though robbery cases increased per 6%. At the same time, the statistical data on minor offences summarized by Rentz does not allow to emphasize that these declines to capacities of the broken window theory:
  • In 2005, about 100,000 individuals were arrested in a city inhabited by 640,000 residents;
  • In 2009, approximately 23,000 were released without charges, while in 2014 only 956;
  • 94% of arrested were blacks even though they comprise 64% of general population.
It follows that the general crime decline in Baltimore was observed, but arrests for minor offences substantially decreased as well due to numerous protests and public outrage towards such policies. Thus, the reducing crime rates in the city can hardly be related to the broken window theory that undermine the possibility of its efficiency as a single approach to eradication of criminal behavior among individuals. To conclude, the analyzed theory definitely has shortcomings in terms of practical application whereas the discussion showed inconsistencies in its theorizing and implementation given the practice of New York and current Baltimore.
  •  Using Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay (Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas), along with Zimring’s geographical and social crime analysis, answer how does generational poverty in some inner city communities contribute to members of those communities being targets of racial profiling within the criminal justice system?
Being based on solely quantitative rather than supported with qualitative data, the approaches to crime analyses proposed by Shaw and McKay along with Zimring allow to shed some light on current racial profiling within the criminal justice system. Nonetheless, contemporary practical implication of the above practice is substantially grounded on prejudices and stereotypes in regard to these analyses. On the one hand, the studies by Shaw and McKay have been valuable sources to comprehension of juvenile criminality in a rather thorough and holistic manner. This was specifically due to the fact that scholars provided an in-depth and multifaceted overview of culture and environment within which adolescent Chicagoans were raised. What is more, their findings were supported with both quantitative census data and the previous research and well-argued theories in the field. To illustrate, children of European immigrants were evidenced to be delinquents with high rates. However, this phenomenon was stated as a single occasion rather than an issue of frequent or repeated incidence. Immediately, the scholars assumed that higher-level cultural and better educational background of parents enabled an urgent response to such events that prevented children from future criminal activities. In contrast, the statistics-based assumption that poorer minorities lived in constant deprivations, as well as the stories of previous involvement of their brothers in criminal activities, were found the core roots of future criminality of the younger generations. This was especially emphasized in regard to black and Hispanic gangs. Thus, it was not solely poverty but more racial background that was attributed to potential delinquency and criminality. On a similar note, the fact that the determinants of such profiling were not researched qualitatively but merely assumed undermines the validity of such statements. On the other hand, the findings of Zimring’s geographical and social crime analysis have revealed substantial prejudiced attitudes towards particular minority groups of youth in the USA. For instance, being black or Hispanic has eventually meant the likelihood of been arrested as marijuana user given the scholar’s data interpretation. Therefore, Zimring’s findings revealed the assumptions by the previous scholars in practice. In other words, this researcher has already evidenced the flawed or short-sighted perception of minority youth (even not poor) in the context of racial profiling even though this stereotyped viewpoint was objected by policemen. Hence, despite a few-decade distance in these findings, Shaw and McKay’s assumptions were confirmed by Zimring. Nonetheless, there is no clear factual information that would allowed to specifically indicate that those were something else than prejudices rather than environmental circumstances that led to juvenile delinquency. Based on the findings of the discussed researchers, it is evident that their results require clarifications. The assumptions made by the scholars clearly show inconsistencies and one-sided perspectives on the issue where stereotypical and outdated beliefs that govern the decision-making by police in terms of marginalization of the minorities. The significance of additional up-to-date research is especially necessary due to the fact that the times have changed and the US cities are not the same they were earlier.

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