There is generally a concept that police respond only after a crime is committed. However, now police do have opportunities to be proactive. Today proactive policing has emerged as the key to a booming future in crime prevention and control. Now police uncompromisingly carries out required investigation and works with citizens and social service groups in order to contain crime-breeding conditions and decrease the rate of street crime.
Proactive/community policing stresses on clarification, forecast and avoidance of crime occurrence. This is done through the investigation of fundamental issues of offenses and chaos and through proactive problem solving for problems that are anticipated to culminate into criminal / anti-social activism, if not controlled at the initial stage.
Outline of the Paper
The article discusses police practices towards controlling crime. Its main emphasis is on analyzing proactive practices adopted in the police systems over the years, translating from the early 90s to the modern era. It offers viewpoints of different authors, analysts and scholars of the related discipline who have researched upon various incidences to evolve theories that define the most effective policing practices. It also describes various areas in which proactive policing has been successful and unsuccessful in crime control.
Today proactive policing has emerged as the key to a booming future in crime prevention and control. Now police uncompromisingly carries out required investigation and works with citizens and social service groups in order to contain crime-breeding conditions and decrease street crime rates in a radical manner (Journal News).
At the same time, there are also substitute dispute resolution methods like arbitration, offender-victim conferencing and mediation that are replaced for adversarial court proceedings to manage the majority of cases, which comprises of crimes involving people who know each other. The victims and community both are rewarded by offenders who are concurrently broken through community-developed programs, restricting future crime (Journal News).
There is generally a concept that police responds only after a crime is committed. However, now police do have opportunities to be proactive. In 2003 it has been observed that crime statistics for the city of Fairfield offered a glance at the effect proactive policing can have on a city. However, the latest statistics illustrated that the city underwent a considerable drop in burglaries and assaults. The credit for this goes to the proactive policing, a policing that was made prominent after assessing past trends (Journal News).
We have, for the past several years, made a concerted effort in problem solving," said Fairfield Police Chief Michael Dickey. "And when we see a trend developing, the operation divisions make a concerted effort to use tactics that oppose the situation."
Both burglaries and assaults have decreased in 2002 from 2001 levels. It was through the problem-solving efforts of the police department, like for instance the increased presence of the police in spots where there was mostly trouble. In the year 2003, both categories were cut down to such a low crime rate that had not been achieved in at least a decade, according to Dickey (Stephens, 2001).
To carry out the task of proactive policing; the major stumbling blocks that could be an obstacle in this trend are those where there is existence of old trends of crime and punishment. These include companion war-model methods of "fighting" crime that have ended in growth by virtue of massive criminal justice industrial complexes in countries like the United States. Though such trends are not likely to be eliminated from a society, they willingly accept a diminished role through presence of police, courts, and corrections (Angell, 1971).
Providing the stress and emphasis on dominating crime by capturing and punishing individual offenders, the result is in little success on the decrease street crime rates ending in the criminal justice complex promoting for more crimes to feed its monetary requirements to provide its huge millions of employees, organization from courthouses to jails/prisons, and equipment ranging from police cruisers to body armor and a plethora of weaponry. Few perceive the current drug war as a case of a social/medical problem, which is being criminalized to support billions in funding for criminal justice (Bennett, 1990).
A research that has been carried out in fact indicated that the current falling street crime rate is not just a result of the reactive war model methods but also because of proactive policing. While "get tough" supporters cite the "three strikes" laws along with the full prison population as reasons for the dramatic decreases (Stephens, 2001).
The cleared-by-arrest rate reported in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports for the eight major crimes constantly has been in the 20% range, for decades, which means that just one in five major crimes led to an arrest of a criminal. This is not enough to strike fear into the hearts of would-be offenders, and surely very little to discourage them or prevent crime (Stephens, 2001).
The offenders who are already behind bars, out of which, 25% in state prisons are those who have been arrested on drug convictions, while 80% in Federal prisons are those whopping. The great majority of these prisoners are addicts who have been serving time for possession of illegal drags, although dealers are not much easy to capture and convict. The increase in drug offenders accounts for most of the prison population explosion (Stephens, 2001).
This picture was before the proactive policing but now the trend has changed. This real change took place in the 1990s and till today the citizen response to crime, is lead by proactive / community action. Majority of the countries' police agencies seek to be model of proactive policing or community-oriented police operations (Stephens, 2001).
These efforts seem to be silently transforming America into an efficient and effective crime preventing and controlling society. It is these crimes prevented that are shown in statistics as nonevents. Thus reducing crime rates on the whole. However, if crime does not take place, it results in great savings. Through proactive policing, no harm to victims, offenders, or community takes place, and no private or public money are essential to heal harm and remove justice (Brodeur, 1983).
Further than this, no costs for socioeconomic is made by fear, distress and trauma. In fact more importantly, the criminal justice industrial complex is being funded in order to do something positive for the citizenry, rather than left involved in race/class warfare in the streets as seen by many (Brodeur, 1983).
The emphasis for preventing the formula of crime has long been used in the field of crime prevention, but this has usually been on opportunity reduction through target hardening by means of approaches like fixing improved locks and alarms and avoids moving out alone after dark. Even though such methods have been successful in reducing crime, but it has obtained a heavy cost on individuals as well as society as a whole, since concerned citizens have been encouraged to worry and doubt one another (Melchers, 2000).
The desire that leads to crime has started to gain attention, since the belief has been that prompt, harsh, and stern punishment of the offender that discouraged crime and resulted in the few reduction of such desires. However, it has been indicated through research that punishment neither discourage nor reduce crime by those caught and convicted (Melchers, 2000).
But actually, it frequently leads to increased criminal activity by the angry receiver. However, this desire part which is still appearing to be working is approached now with modified method that places more emphasis on proactive prevention in order to reduce criminal desire, rather than using the reactive method of hiding behind locked doors or severely punishing the comparatively few caught criminals (Melchers, 2000).
Simultaneously, emerging new technology holds much possibility for assisting communities in their search for security and harmony. Thus, now with the help of continuous surveillance to birth-to-death dossiers, chemical implants to control behavior and DNA identification, the probable to be offenders can be identified and stopped. This may however, results in a high price to the traditional values like as privacy and freedom of expression and movement (Melchers, 2000).
The main objective of proactive policing is to find ways to make cohesiveness and public-private partnerships, which are essential to give safety and security, make use of the high-tech innovations and at the same time maintain an atmosphere familiar with the emotional, cultural, spiritual, social needs of people (Melchers, 2000).
It has been since the mid 1990s that the National Institute of Justice of the United States Department of Justice has supported by sponsoring and evaluated many crime prevention initiatives. Thus, as a result in a landmark study of Federal legislation, requiting a scientific review of these programs was given and got published in NIJ Preventing Crime, under the topic: "What Works, What Doesn't, and What's Promising" (Gaffigan, 1995). This program significantly contains desire reduction programs through proactive policing, for example:
Frequent visits and assistance by nurses and other health/social work professionals at infants in troubled homes