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Rising Crime Rates Essay, Research Paper

Rising Crime Rates

It is hard to say what precise reason can cause the crime rate in the United States to fall, but I will attempt to rationalize an answer. According to Samuel Walker the author of “Sense and Nonsense About Crime” none of the above choices cause the crime rate to descend. In my opinion none of the choices are soley responsible, but in combination with each other some are very effective.

Walker spends alot of time talking about deterence, especially “detering the drunk driver”, in which he claims there is no short term way to deter drunk drivers. Walker states “Enforcement crack-downs will not deter drunk driving.” In my opinion this couldn’t be further from the truth. I think about it this way, “What would keep me from driving home drunk?” Besides the moal delema of if I killed someone, the only thing stopping me is what would happen if I got caught. I have had a first hand experience that lisence suspension would work. I’ve seen my friends beg for rides to work because the lost their license. secondly the increase in insurence rates can also hurt prety bad too. I don’t know about anyone else but I think about these things before I plan to go out drinking.

Still on the subject of drunk driving I feel there is an alternative that would work extremely well… Zero-tolerance. One of the main reasons I feel this would work so well is that most people don’t know where the limit is. One aspect of crime is “means rea” a guilty mind. How are you going to know when you are commiting the crime of drunk driving when you don’t know whether you are legally drunk or not? It’s like telling someone you can steal but once you steal over a certain amount it’s wrong, and here’s the catch you don’t know what that certain amount is.Yes zero tolerance seems harsher but in the long run most people will be better off.

As to the decreasing crime rate in the US. deternce in my opinion plays a large role through the increase of sentences and a higher police presence. In the case of more cops i don’t think they have an imidiate affect on whether someone commits a crime or not. For example, If I’m going to rob a house, but suddenly I notice a cop patroling the neighborhood obviouly i’m not going to rob the house. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to rob the house at all, I may rob it later or pick another house. I think cops are more effective after the fact. Now say I rob the house, I the police force is large and well organized, chances are I’ll get caught. Now, this may deter me from doing this again or keep other from doing in fear that they’ll get caught too.

Fear of being caught , this leads me to my next proposal. In Singapore (I think) they have a very very low crime rate, and they have streets and alleys covered with surveilance cameras, in which they watch for crime. I think there is a great deal of logic to this kind of tatic. First one person could man a console hooked up to a buch of cameras and watch a much larger area then they could on foot patrol or in a car. Thus the likelyhood of catching someone commiting a crime would be greater. It’s also probably more cost effective, because it’s cheaper to set up camera than it is to pay each cop 60,000 a year, not to mention cost of cars,uniforms, and insurance. It also will allieviate court backups and costs because what more proof than video tape would you need.

The second positive example is far more interesting and far more effective. The idea is having people police themselves. With these video cameras people don’t know when they are being watched, whereas with police officers they know they are being watched because there is a cop present. For most people when they don’t know when they are being watched they assume they are always being watched. How many people do you know that will steal something when it’s owner is watching? This idea of self policing through surveilence is introduced by the author of “The Panopticon”. In “The Panopticon” he discibes his idea for a prision and compares it our modern day prison. his idea was to have all cells in a circular pattern with a tower in the middle with gaurds behind glass that you can’t see into. He explains that is is human nature for the inmates to behave more often because they think they are always being watched. I even think this is part of the concept behind many religions, “God is always watching”, at times it works for me.

Along with this idea of surveilance there has to be some kind of threat or punishment, or else who cares if you being watched. That is why i think punishments don’t have to be too tough but, more consistant. I agree when Walker says policies like manditory sentencing are too harsh. It’ an overkill in most cases. When i say more consistant i don’t mean manditory sentances, what I mean is if two people commit the same crime and one of them gets jail and the other walks because he wasn’t read his rights properly, that’s absurd.

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