Criminal Justice and Criminology the Research Proposal

  • Length: 15 pages
  • Sources: 14
  • Subject: Criminal Justice
  • Type: Research Proposal
  • Paper: #18724377

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Latinos participations are low in CAPS, and most of their members are unaware of the strategies of CAPS. Their levels of awareness have been on a declining state since the year 1990. Their involvement in these meetings was driving by the levels of crime, moral decay on the community and at the level of social disorder. The problem with the Latino population is that they do not turn up in numbers to these meetings. The community's representation is low in these meetings.

However, research further shows that the community lacks representation in the district advisory committees that meet on a regular basis with the police department. Compared to the African-Americans and the Whites Latinos have young families are they are more likely to be working and having families at home. Their involvement with the police department is variedly mixed. There is evidence that their community avoids police contacts, including not reporting crimes as they occur in their neighborhood, these implies that police reports on crimes committed within their neighborhoods is not conclusive (Nyden et. al. 2006). Another problem facing this community relates to their language. It is evident that members of this community interact less with the police and their neighbors. The group has a lower level of awareness and involvement in CAPS programs than their English speaking counter parts.

According to research by Cordner & Biebel published in the journal of Criminology & Public Policy, problem-oriented policing (POP) today is "widely regarded as the most analytical and intellectually complicated approach in the police arsenal" (Cordner & Biebel 2005). The studies analogize Problem-oriented policing to preventative medicine in healthcare: rather than focusing on the symptoms of crime, it attempts to address crimes root causes. "Problem-oriented policing comments that police should focus on problems, as opposed to happenings (Goldstein, 1990). Problems are either collections of happenings that have a correlation (if they occur at the same location) or underlying situations that result to occurrences, crimes, turmoil, and other significant community subjects that people expect the police to handle.

By focusing more on problems than on incidents, police can address causes rather than mere symptoms and consequently have a greater impact" Cordner & Biebel 2005). The technique deployed demonstrated efficacy in many regions of Great Britain and efficiently reduced costs for the UK's police departments. However, even in a nation whose police force has traditionally embraced more 'preventative' strategies than the U.S., creating the inter-agency cooperation required for the approach can be challenging. Problem-oriented policing is heavily reliant upon government agencies, and other research entities keeping track of community data to enable police agencies to assess security needs and delve into the root causes of problems (Applegate, 2004).

The studies reveal that, in the United States, a number of police departments have made problem-oriented policing a formal part of their best practices, although research indicates a substantial policy gap between implementation and theory. Despite 15 years of instruction in and promotion of problem-oriented policing by the San Diego Police Department, a survey of officer behavior indicates "officers often took part in small-scale problem solving with little official analysis or evaluation. Reactions generally involved enforcement and one or two more collaborative or nontraditional schemes" (Cordner & Biebel 2005). Even when police officers acquainted with the research supporting a problem-oriented approach, they did not necessarily trust that research to inform their practice. The culture had not changed to support a problem-oriented model.

As noted by Braga (et al. 1999), one reason that police departments may be wary of problem-oriented policing is that although these strategies are "effective in controlling property crimes and disorderly activity, such as residential burglaries in a privately owned low-income housing complex," their efficacy in treating violent crimes is less certain. For example, reducing the number of abandoned buildings on a city street, having prominently displayed centers of positive civic activity such as churches and community centers, and frequent police patrolling have shown to reduce incidents of property-related crimes. Braga (et al. 1999) conducted a study in the high-crime area of Jersey City to determine which locations were 'hot spots' of violent crime to see if similar strategies would work to reduce the rate of these types of offenses.

Ultimately, the program led to increased police presence and reduce violent crimes deemed the program effective, "the Jersey City Police Department's pilot problem-oriented policing program was successful in reducing crime, and disorder at violent places with little evidence of displacement" (the phenomenon whereby reduced crime in one specific area results in more crime nearby) (Braga et al. 1999). Because the foci of the study were on areas with physical features, which lent themselves to the crime, they did not result in 'spill over' to areas, which lacked such attractive features. 'Broken widows' theory, or the idea that small crimes lead to the appearance of disorder, and therefore, the concept of problem-oriented policing supported violent crimes, although POP tends to stress that particular conditions simply facilitate crime rather than takes a 'slippery slope' line of thinking (one of the criticisms of standard 'broken window' theory).

As Sidebottom & Tilley (2011) note, there are different acronyms used to refine the procedures of problem-oriented policing into a series of sequential steps. The most commonly used today is the SARA model. "SARA refers to Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment. It describes the core logical steps to follow in conducting problem-oriented work. Problems need to be identified (scanning). They need to examine to determine which of the conditions producing them might be open to preventive intervention (analysis). Measures have to be put in place to remove, reduce, or ameliorate the effects of the problem (response)" (Sidebottom & Tilley 2011).

After criticism of SARA for being overly linear in its approach, another method which developed was PROCTOR, "or "Problem, Cause, Tactic or Treatment, Output, and Result. SARA's primary aim was to signal that Analysis is significant throughout the problem-solving process and not as some may falsely infer from SARA, only after problem definition and before response selection. It is very much trying to encapsulate the same process as SARA but with an alternative acronym to avoid this problem" (Sidebottom & Tilley 2011). The 5Is of intelligence, intervention, implementation, involvement, and impact likewise attempt to stress the need for continued environmental scanning given that all 5Is must take place simultaneously (Sidebottom & Tilley 2011).

However, despite the objections occasionally raised to POP, many organizations have found it to be effective when there is a genuine, top-to-bottom effort to implement its principles in an enthusiastic manner. In addition, POP demonstrates a profound culture shift at the Chicago Metropolitan Police Department and has become part of the department's institutional culture. "POP principles are evident in the captain's culture, rank-and-file's culture, and the policy and procedure of the CMPD" (Ikerd 2010). For example, the CMPD had instituted a number of creative initiatives focused upon crime prevention, versus simply targeting individual crimes. "In this project, there was a problem with date rape cases occurring with regards to females going out and drinking at certain bars.

The department developed a response in which they teamed up with the bars to utilize plastic cups and place lids on the drinks to keep something from easily slipping in them. The captain indicated that the assessment showed elimination of the problem" (Ikerd 2010). Rank-and-file members likewise expressed support for POP because they had seen distractions of its efficacy. This response indicates that within some organizations, when made a priority and translated into practice rather than remaining at the level of theory, POP can indeed 'put down roots.'

According to Rosenfeld (2006) in his "Analysis of the Discipline of Criminology: Compared with its Contributions to Education, Health, or Economic Policy," evaluation research in Criminal justice has a long way to go. Criminal justice falls behind other areas of policy research not because it is a belief, evaluation methods are less well developed, or opportunities for randomized experiments are less available" but because of a rather scattershot theoretical approach to evaluating program efficacy (Rosenfeld 2006: 309). "Criminal justice lacks agreed-upon, coherent, knowledge-based standards for judging policy outcomes" (Rosenfeld 2006: 310). The mixed, often confused responses by criminologists regarding the reasons crime rates go up or down is an example of this phenomenon.

Depending on the emphasized data, the size of police departments, poverty rates, or psychological perceptions may qualify as the reasons for increases or decreases in the crime rate. Without clear standards for evaluation, it is very difficult to assess the efficacy of different policies. There remains a divergence between two dominant models: one driven by empirical evidence, the other by clinical experience. "The nature of criminal justice in 2040 will rely largely on the key research methodology. Is the criminal justice community properly served by considering the experiences and opinions of practitioners (the clinical experience model) or via research that examines programs and measures outcomes (the evidence-based model)" (Ritter 2006).

In light of…

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