crime reduction in America

Introduction

Crime dropped significantly in the United States during 1990s; for all the categories of crime in almost all parts of America. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that homicide rates declined from 35% to reach the lowest levels during the ten year period from 1991 to 2001. The violent and property crime rates fell from 34% to 29% during the same decade. Initially, before the 1990, the United States experienced a series of rampant criminal activities which was accompanied by a decrease during the 1990s. However, the following decade saw the onset of increasing crime again. This crime rates decline occurred without a prior warning therefore raising concerns about a future explosion of crime rates again (Hancock & Sharp, 2000). The reduction of crime rates during the 1990s can be attributed to a number of measures and policies which were effectively put in place during this ten year period.

1.

One of the factors that can explain the crime rates decline during this decade was the strong economy that was experienced during the 1990s. During this period, there was sustainable economic growth in the United States; which saw the annual unemployment rate reduce from 6.8 % to 4.8 % in 2001. Macroeconomic performance is a key factor in influencing crime rates and this economic growth could possibly explain the why crime reduced during this ten year period. This economic improvement explains decline in crimes that are financially motivated such as robbery and burglary. Although it had less significant effect on the homicide, rape and assaults (Hancock & Sharp, 2000).  This depicts that any future changes in economic factors could possibly trigger the onset of crime again; and with the onset of global depression and recession, crime is on the rise again.

Another reason for crime reduction is better policing strategies. The crime control approach deployed increased law enforcement on criminal activities and identification of crime hot spots rather responding to emergency calls. Other approaches included community policing. These policing strategies saw a decline in crime rates. Any compromise on these policing strategies could lead to an explosion of crime again. The incline in crime during the present times has been sparked by the attitudes the masses have towards the police in general especially the African Americans.

Another factor that possibly led to crime decline is the crime control laws. Reports indicated that almost 60 % of homicide crimes that occurred before the 1990s had the use of a fire arm. The implementation of gun control laws reduced the levels of homicide crime in the United States during this period. The deployment stringent policies in gun control laws ensured that there was reduced illegal gun ownership and acquisition. Crime reduction to some extent can be credited to increased capital punishment that was evident during the 1990s, the demographic transformations that occurred during this period and the implementation of laws that allowed the ownership and acquisition of concealed weapons. Changes in the above factors are responsible for the present increase in crime levels in the United States.

2.

According to Herbart Packer, the Crime Control Model that is presently being used resembles an assembly line.  The determination of guilt by an offender is primarily based on two ideologies; factual guilt, where an offender’s guilt is determined by the views of the people and legal guilt whereby an offender’s guiltiness is bound under the lawful authority that defines what is bad or good to termed as a violation of state laws. The Current crime control model uses authoritative power and is subject to abuse of the abuse of the governmental power which could lead to the innocent be imprisoned and the society’s freedom to be compromised. From my opinion, I agree with Herbert Packer that the crime control model resembles an assembly line (Hancock & Sharp, 2000).

Most ideologies used towards crime control are based on false postulations concerning the functions of the criminal justice system. The current criminal justice system is not centered on seeking the truth and this explains the reasons why many criminals are let off the hook despite their actual involvement in the crime; elements of racial discrimination are evident in the criminal justice system. This can be explained by the lack of consistent and predictable judicial processes that are supposed to charge the factual offenders.

In the crime model, suppression of criminal behavior is the most significant purpose of the criminal process, it aims ensuring that crime is controlled rather than delivering justice. It aims at maximizing on effective crime control through increasing the number of criminals that are brought to justice.  The control model therefore resembles an assembly line, with its key goal being centered on quantity rather that quality; analogy to ensuring crime is stopped rather than fostering justice.

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