This paper explains the decline of crime rates in the United States and how community policing had helped in its decline. The paper is divided into four parts. The first part discusses the statistics on the crime rate of the United States in the late 1990s. The Second part of the paper shows the different factors that had affected the decline in the crime rate in the United States. The third part of the paper shows how community policing had helped in the decline of crime rates. The last part of the paper shows the conclusion and recommendation of the proponent to the future forecast of crime rate in the United States.
Gilmore (2007) had wrote in his article that forecast in the 90s was that crime rates would increase because of the estimated demographics. It was estimated that the number of youths and young adults would increase and as a result, experts had thought that a dangerous crime wave of what they call “super predators” would appear. However, crime rates had fallen by 40% in the cities and across the country. The decline in the crime rate had made experts like Franklin Zimring to study the trend.
Zimring had noted in his book “The Great American Crime Decline”, had noted that the crime rate can still drop down without any changes or improvements to the urban environment. He had further stated that the changes in crime rates are due to the mix of elements of policing and police laws are the one that had been used in order to lower crime. He had shown New York City as an example. Zimring (2007) had shown that New York had hit its violence peak in 1990. In the following years, the crime rated had went down by 75 percent. The change was brought about by three reasons according to Zimring.
First is that there was an increase in police force by 35%, police had engaged in more aggressive policing such as establishing an arrest program for drug offenses and public order offenses and lastly the change in management style where more police officers are sent out for patrol. Zimring had noted that nothing was changed in the city of New York except for its policing strategies and techniques. However, Zimring does not discount other possible reasons for the crime decline. Marowitz (2000) had studied different articles relating to the crime rate of America.
From his studies he had grouped all ideas into 11 categories to explain why there is a decline in the crime rate. The 11 categories is as follows: Effectual strength of law enforcement strategies, implementation and investigative emphasis of law enforcement, other policies in the criminal justice system aside from the policing policies, attitude of constituents against crime, population density and degree of urbanization, demographics, economic conditions, cultural factors, family conditions with respect to marriage and family life, drug use and weapons.
The effectual strength of law enforcement strategies had shown that the proactive community policing had helped in the drop of crime rates. This method had been explained to further cause the decline in serious crime because the public and the police are the ones who are monitoring the community. The implementation and investigative emphasis on law enforcement had helped in the decline through the use of efficient community policing by using computerized mapping systems that pinpoints areas that has a high crime rate.
The policies that had been implemented such as the intervention of lower courts with minor offenders had been proven to be effective, offenders were ruled to the respective programs that would help the offenders improve such as drug treatment and community service. The increase in incarceration rates had contributed to the decrease in juvenile offenders, property crime and adult violent crime. The citizens had become more aware of preventing crimes.
Communities had increased their communication with the police, some juveniles who had witnessed crime committed by a family member had been motivated to avoid criminal activities and security systems had been put into place by some of the citizens. The further drop in crime rates had been shown in the big cities and since most of the crimes as shown in statistics happen in the big cities, the smaller cities had followed in the trend. Experts had used the analogy that the younger the generation, the bigger the chances of crime rate increase.
However based on the investigation in the population statistics, there have been no shifts in the age group in the United States. Older criminals had stopped committing crimes because of age,death and imprisonment. It has been proven that there are more legitimate work available now as compared to the latter years. The cultural factors had contributed to the decline in crime because the youth were not incited to violence by violent media, and cultural renewal had been taking place.
Availability of legal assistance and domestic violence services had helped in the decrease in domestic crimes by 9% from the years 1993 to 1996. Furthermore, educational institutions had assumed some responsibilities of parents and this had contributed to the decrease in crime. Recent decrease in crime had also been due to the abatement of the “crack cocaine epidemic”. The decrease in the use of guns had lead to a decrease in violence crime relating to the use of guns. All of the above are factors that had contributed to the decline in crime.
However, looking closely at these factors, it seems that the community policing had played a very big role in the decline of crime. Travis (1995) had shown a study on the community policing. Travis (1995) had surveyed 2,314 municipal, county police and sheriff departments regarding the use of community policing in their area. Although some of the police that had been surveyed at this time haven’t implemented community policing, those who had been implementing community policing had shown good results in their area.
It had been shown that the police agencies who had implemented community policing for a year had shown that there area had a 99% improved cooperation between the police and the citizens, 80% had shown that citizens’ fear of crime had been reduced and 67% had shown that there were fewer crimes against persons. Due to this result it can be seen that the implementation of community policing had helped in the reduction of crime. Further evidence that community policing had contributed in the decline of crime is shown in the paper written by Gest (2007).
Gest (2007) had noted several changes that had been used to adopt community policing in the 80s up to the early 2000. In the decade of the 70s, Goldstein from the University of Wisconsin had conceptualized “problem oriented policing”. The idea from this method is that the police would analyze specific crimes in a proactive manner. The police should do this in their specific areas and work with the businesses and the concerned citizen groups to develop ways on how to prevent the crimes from taking place.
Another approach that had been adopted by the police enforcement is what had been called “broken windows” which had been developed by James Wilson and George Kelling in the year 1992. This method is done through the implementation of the government of the zero tolerance approach. The crimes associated to the zero-tolerance approach includes minor offenses and attack to the public like broken windows in housing projects and public drunkenness. These approaches had been used in the late 1990s and as such had contributed greatly to the decline in crime. In the year 1994, community policing had boost on a national level.
This was due to the fact that the year 1994 had shown a great rise in crime rates. President Bill Clinton had promised to add 100,000 local police officers. The police officers were directed to decrease the crime rate level in the nation. As a result, police agencies had adopted community service as a part of their program to decrease crime rates in the nation. As stated above, community policing is not only the factor that had contributed in the decline of crime rates in the United States. Gest had forecasted that crime rates is continually rising from the year 2006 up to the present.
This is so because in the month of December 2006, it can be shown that there has been an increase of 3. 7% in the rise of crime rate with regard to violent crimes. Police numbers alone are not indicators of decline in crime but according to experts in the US Government Accountability Office, the police that had been funded from the years 1993 up to the year 2000 contributed to the 2. 5% decline in crime. A corps of police officers argues that homeland security is consistent with community policing. Being able to know the citizens and people in the community is like gathering intelligence.
This is stated by Bonnie Bucqueroux from the Michigan State University. Further assistance is necessary to curb crime, the rising number of community policing officers is an important factor to decrease the number of crimes in a certain area. Being able to increase the influence of the police to the community helps increase the chances of the area to be protected by one. However, thinking about the issues and conclusions stated by Zimring (2007) in his book and the 11 factors that had been stated by Marowitz (2000) in his paper, the government must be able to find the right mix of elements in order to continually suppress crime rates.
The decline on crimes does not only rely on police force but it also includes implementation of non-police police, community service and educational institutions, culture, family and other factors related to the community. REFERENCES Gilmore, J. (20 February 2007). New research reveals historic 1990s US crime decline, Retrieved last January 20, 2008 from University of California – Berkeley. Website: http://www. eurekalert. org/pub_releases/2007-02/uoc–nrr021207. php# Marowitz, L. (December 2000).
Why Did Crime Rate Decrease Through 1999? (And Why Might It Decrease or Increase in 2000 and Beyond? ). CJSC Research Series. Crime Justice Statistics Center. Research Report No. CJSC-2000-01 Travis, J. (November 1995). Community Policing Strategies. Office of Justice Programs. U. S. Department of Justice. National Institute of Justice. Washington D. C. 20531. Gest, T. (March 2007) Community Policing In Age of Guns, Gangs and Violent Crime. Jerry Lee Center of Criminology Forum on Crime and Justice. University of Pennsylvania.