Community crimes have been on the increase both in number and severity. Years ago, the worst crime imaginable was someone robbing a bank, but today it has been replaced with first-degree murder. Crimes are now committed not only by adults, but also by juveniles as young as eight and nine years of age. This is commensurate with initiation rituals required in order to be accepted into a gang. Communities and businesses are more fearful than before due to what seems to be the ineffectiveness of local law enforcement.
Communities and law enforcement must work together to find strategies and solutions to what is quickly becoming a problem of epidemic proportion. The crimes being committed today involve a much more level of deviance than once before. Crimes associated with drugs are sometimes gang related. Gang activity in turn is related to the number of vehicle thefts, armed robberies, assault and batteries, and rapes within larger communities (Gaines & Miller, 2009). Sex offenses are being reported frequently. Children are being kidnapped. Investigators later find their murdered bodies in remote areas; often victims of some form of sexual assault.
Members of law enforcement are overburdened with the number of calls versus the number of uniformed officers. In order to begin combating the current crime surge, law enforcement must first employ a higher number in their ranks. Agencies then must provide specific training and education to the officers and designate them to specific crime patrols. Some officers should be assigned to areas of known criminal activity while others could be put on foot or bicycle patrols (Gaines & Miller, 2009). Task forces should be developed in areas absent such technologies.
These task forces should include a drug task force, gang task force, sexual assault unit, and a forensics unit. Ultimately, each law enforcement agency should delegate a specific CRIMINOLOGY 3 number of specially trained officers to run a juvenile justice unit. The vast growing number of juveniles committing severe and heinous crimes is astounding. A juvenile operations unit would enable law enforcement to gain inside information to the possibility of premeditated criminal activity.
The community bears a specific responsibility to the goings-on in its neighborhoods. Citizens cannot sit idly by and do nothing while expecting law enforcement agencies to do it all. Community participation can be delegated through neighborhood watch programs (Ward, 1998). Neighbors could become familiar with their neighbors and be on the look-out for suspicious persons or activities in their streets. Citizens could adopt and volunteer to work for an anonymous criminal information hotline whereby community members could phone in tips on current crimes to better enable law enforcement to apprehend the guilty offender (Ward, 1998).
Parents could encourage their children’s schools to sponsor events where members of law enforcement could attend. Officers could provide information about crime and the importance of reporting on an educational level that is age appropriate to the children. Law enforcement agencies and communities should all strive for the same goal of safety within their cities. Nothing will ever be accomplished or resolved unless someone makes the first move to negotiate a solution.
Uniformed officers need to make their visual presence known and familiar to community members. Citizens should move beyond their personal fears and report incidents of crime to the proper authorities. If everyone works together, then everyone will be safe during the day and at night. References Gaines, L. , & Miller, R. (2009). Criminal justice in action (5th ed. ). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. Ward, C. (1998). Community education and crime prevention: confronting foreground and background causes of criminal behavior. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group.