Criminal Justice Trends
Criminal Justice Trends
In today’s modern society the criminal justice field must stay up to date with the latest trends in order to effectively combat crime. As new crimes are committed, new technology and resources to solve and prevent these crimes is needed. This is a recap of the criminal justice trends that came with the birth of policing to what has yet to come in our modern world. In 1829 the London Metropolitan Police District was created. This was the first ever police force. Sir Robert Peel established principles for this police district as the first police chief. “These principles include the use of crime rates to determine the effectiveness of the police; the importance of a centrally located, publicly accessible police headquarters; and the value of proper recruitment, selection, and training” (Patterson). Peel assigned his officers to specific geographical zones which they were then responsible for preventing and suppressing crime within these zones. This is known as beats. Before Peel’s assignment, officers or military patrolled sporadically and usually only responded after a crime had been committed. By developing scheduled and organized beats, Peel helped to create order and police presence within the community. “To implement fully the beat concept, Peel instituted his second most enduring innovation: The paramilitary command structure. While Peel believed overall civilian control to be essential, he also believed that only military discipline would ensure that constables actually walked their beats and enforced the law on London's mean streets, something their nonmilitary predecessors, the watchmen, had failed to do” (Patterson). Today’s criminal justice system has technology that Peel never could have imagined. Officers are able to communicate via cell-phone, radio and computer in their car. Police stations and court houses can access the same databases, and there are hundreds of police officers patrolling the same city, broken down by precincts. There is strength in numbers and today’s police force supports that statement. While our criminal justice system may seem lengthier, we have laws that protect both the guilty and the innocent which allows them the chance at a fair trial. Whereas centuries ago rough justice could be taken into the hands of an officer or even the community. With growing numbers and today’s times also comes budget troubles that most agencies within the criminal justice must face. As published in The Police Chief Magazine, Bernard K. Melekian, Director, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Service states “Some agencies have found it necessary to use a triage approach in responding to calls for service, with some severely limiting the types of calls that result in direct face-to-face responses by officers”. Some of the changes that agencies have utilized in order to triage calls “included alternative methods for handling certain reports, greater utilization of closed-circuit television cameras, and greater utilization of civilian volunteers” (Melekian, 2012). Budget crises not only affect department operations and performance, but technology usage as well. “26 percent of respondents reported a reduction in investigative follow-ups, including those related to property crimes, fugitive tracking, nonfelony domestic assaults, financial crimes, computer crimes, narcotics, and traffic cases. The common theme across many of the service cutbacks is an unfortunate reduction in direct face-to-face contacts between citizens and police personnel. In addition, separate surveys by the IACP and by the Police Executive Research Forum confirm that substantial portions of agencies had already begun, or were planning to begin, cutbacks on training and on equipment purchases, including cutting-edge technology. Thus, it is not just a matter of fewer officers rendering fewer direct services; the quality of services in...
References: Bernard K. Melekian, "Policing in the New Economy: A New Report on the Emerging Trends from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services," The Police Chief 79 (January 2012): 16–19.
Nancy M. Ritter, “Preparing for the Future: Criminal Justice in 2040,” National Institute of Justice 255 (July 2004)
Patterson, J. (n.d.). Community Poicing: Learning The Lessons Of History. Retrieved from The Lectric Law Library: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cjs07.htm
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