Another interesting statistic is that youth belonging to gangs commit the greatest percentage of violent crime among the youth, with a figure as high as 89% of serious violent crimes by gang members reported for Denver, where only 14% of the youth population belonged to gangs. This is an issue that should be seriously addressed in Macom.
In terms of ethnic minorities, the statistics are far less conclusive than those related to gangs. According to a study of crime in Miami conducted by Liliana Cordero, ethnicity plays a far less significant role in the occurrence of homicide than factors such as drugs, alcohol, arguments, and killing in the course of other felonies such as robbery. In the case of Macom, it is then perhaps wise to make the primary target of investigation the youth in general rather than a specific ethnic group. This could have the concomitant advantage of remedying the relationship damage between the police and the minority community.
In short, the police not only can, but should do something about the rising crime rates in the Macom community. This is indicated by the mission statement above, and indeed also the primary function of the police force.
III Policing philosophy and strategies
In addition to a clear and public mission statement, the Macom police should also have a clearly articulated policing philosophy and concomitant strategies to curb the crime problem. This is where targeted investigation can lead to targeted solutions via effective strategy. The philosophy should closely adhere to the mission statement and the purpose of the police department. A suggestion for a policing philosophy is as follows:
Policing is a service towards the community to help promote safety and security. In order to fulfill its functions of crime prevention effectively, the police should ensure favorable relations with the community they serve, and where possible involve the community in teamwork efforts towards promoting safety and security.
Community policing is a trend that has been part of police work for a number of years. Yet it is a very contentious issue, and not all police officers and agencies are in favor of it. According to Ellison (2006), some manifestations of the phenomenon include officers walking rather than driving around neighborhoods, ride bicycle, or interact with neighborhood associations. Other community policing programs occur in the form of educational programs for young people, neighborhood watch programs, etc. According to Ellison, this diversity indicates the diversity of the people involved in community policing. It also indicates that the trend is very flexible, and can be adjusted according to the needs and culture of any specific police department.
This is good news for the Macom police department and its specific problems. It is suggested that the department create a program in various steps. Firstly, an in-depth investigation should be launched into the associations between the changing demographic and criminal activity. A report should then be followed by meetings with community leaders from the ethnic community, and also school teachers, parents, business representatives, and other influential people from the community. The findings of the study should be presented to these delegates, and strategies devised in which the community can cooperate with police to curb the rising crime rate. Specifically, gangsterism, drug abuse and poverty are issues that should take precedence over ethnicity alone in the initial investigations.
It is important that community leaders throughout Macom be made aware of the police department's mission statement and philosophy. The main effects of the crime problems are currently police demoralization and community negativity and fear. These can be mitigated by strategies under the umbrella of community policing. For Macom specifically, I believe community policing is an excellent solution to the current hostility from the ethnic community particularly. In this regard, Stephens (2001) also suggests that strategies such as needs analyses, mediation, and arbitration as alternatives for formal court settlements could further enhance the relationship between the community and the police.
IV Civil Liberties
After 9/11/2001, civil liberties have come under microscopic scrutiny, with accusations running rampant to the effect of police detaining suspected terrorists simply on the basis of their ethnicity, and the like. While the situation in Macom is not as extreme and does not relate to terrorism, it is nonetheless related. It appears that there is indeed an element of truth in the community leaders' accusations of racism, profiling, and arrest without proof of criminal activity. These issues are extremely damaging to the effectiveness of the police and should be addressed with the urgency they deserve.
Stephens (2001) addresses the issue by citing a study on the issue of crime prevention conducted by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Dept. Of Justice since the mid-1990s. Desire reduction programs such as visits to troubled homes to prevent the youth from criminal activities, parent training, family therapy, drug treatment and vocational training programs have been found to work well.
At bottom, the Macom police department should concentrate on programs to nurture its youth via wholesome activities and educational programs, while at the same time building its community relations by cultivating positive relationships with all community leaders.
Berry, Tim. (2008) Writing a Mission Statement. Bplans.com http://articles.bplans.com/index.php/business-articles/writing-a-business-plan/writing-a-mission-statement/
Cordero, Liliana. The Perpetration of and Victimization by Violence in Ethnic Minorities- Issues, Findings, and Considerations. Texas Tech University. http://www.apa.org/divisions/div12/sections/section7/Diversity-Fact-Sheet.doc
Ellison, John. (2006, April). Community policing: implementation issues. The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Article Database: FindArticles.com http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_4_75/ai_n16133604/print
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. (2008). Youth Gangs and Violence. http://www.safeyouth.org/scripts/faq/youthgang.asp
Stephens, Gene. (2008, May). Proactive Policing: The Key to Successful Crime Prevention and Control. USA Today. Article database: FindArticles.com http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2672_129/ai_74572242/print