The Co-Existence of Public Order and Individual Rights
Each election year, we must prepare ourselves for another shift in government, which usually is cause for certain items to come up for debate. One issue that seems to surface during local elections is the response to crime and those responsible for perpetrating criminal offenses. Those who advocate individual rights argue that we, as a society, have given government officials unrestrained power and control that is eroding the fundamental freedoms and rights afforded to all individuals under the U.S. Constitution. Public order advocates believe “that under certain circumstances involving criminal threat to public safety,” it is essential that “the interests of society should take precedence over individual rights.” (Schmalleger, p11) There is a fine balance between protecting individual civil liberties and establishing a safe and secure environment for the general public. I believe that it is possible to balance the precautionary actions required to protect society against crime and it’s perpetrators, while maintaining the individual rights and freedoms that allow us to maintain democracy. If society would have more faith in their government and the criminal justice system, I believe they would see that the crime rate is manageable as long as there is support and cooperation within the community. Increased police presence in high crime areas have proven to be both beneficial in solving crime as well as a deterrent. Rand Corporation study of Investigations found that patrol officers, on routine patrol, clear more crimes than investigators who work off of written reports. In the high crime areas of San Diego, where there was a deliberate increase in police presence, suspicious contacts were frequently stopped and
The Co-Existence of Public Order and Individual Rights 3
questioned as part of routine patrol. This aggressive interrogation strategy led to large drops in...
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