Police Influence On Society: Conflict Between Law Enforcement And Social Class Groups

Good Essays
Police Influence on Society

CJA - 344
November 5, 2012
Stephen Humphries

Police Influence on Society
There always has been conflict between law enforcement and ethnic and social class groups. Some argue police will arrest an African American, Hispanic, or Asian before they will arrest a Caucasian; there is also a belief police will arrest a person coming from a lesser socioeconomic class before he or she will arrest a person from a more affluent place in society. Unfortunately, though the criminal justice system denies these allegations, history tells a quite different story. History of Policing
Prior to the 1970s, law enforcement officers were mostly Caucasian males, five foot 10 inches or above. Although this
…show more content…
Social Class
Typically, lower income areas are known for higher criminal activity and lower police presence; the “broken window” theory, which suggest disorganization and decomposing neighborhoods are breeding grounds for criminal behavior, are thought to be a lesser concern for police. However, in “higher class,” more affluent neighborhoods, police officers are thought to show greater presence, have faster response time, and are less likely to arrest or ticket a person from a higher level of socioeconomics.
From a political standpoint, though most police officers do not differentiate between social classes; however, police agencies and public officials who oversee policing agencies, do. It is common knowledge that public officials attempt to gain and retain the support of affluent members of the community, some of this is accomplished by protecting the personal property and family of the
…show more content…
Police in early America were hand – picked by the affluent, and some are of the opinion this has not changed.
Relationships between lower income neighborhoods and police are often strained because citizens in these areas are less likely to speak with a police officer out of fear of becoming identified as a “snitch,” and most are not willing to risk their safety, or that of their families’ to attempt to report or witness a crime.
Conclusion
Just as individual relationships are, at best, difficult to manage, the relationship between the criminal justice system and a diverse society is no less difficult. Racial, cultural, gender, religious, and sexual orientation have always been, and most likely always will be a significant area of controversy and intolerance in American society today.
Though steps have been taken to reduce prejudice and discrimination against those of difference ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, the fact that the system has been forced into making laws to do this, is disturbing at the very

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    For most people, the police have been typically seen as the embodiment of fairness and impartiality. Contradictory to this mentality, social inequality exists in law enforcement, arguably the most in the police. This is due to the increased amount of contact with the general populace in their normal lives, as compared to the courts which only deal with the population when they are convicted. This essay will investigate the kinds of social inequalities present in the police, as well as the implications of these inequalities, namely gender specific, racial and sexual discriminations relating to females, ethnic minority groups, and the population in general.…

    • 531 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    According to official statistics, there are significant ethnic differences in the likelihood of being involved in the criminal justice system. Specifically, black people are over-represented in the system. In this essay I will talk about the reasons for these differences.…

    • 804 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Racial Profiling

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Situations between police and the public are very stressful and highly contested events. A strong reason for law enforcement officers to target minorities, particularly Black and Hispanic motorists, is the common belief that they are more likely to be violating laws, particularly drug laws.( Jost) With this perception, minority communities are feeling targeted and harassed by police officers. It is clear that given the power and discretion available to police, the experience of being subject to racial profiling can lead both to a feeling of being harassed and to a sense of alienation from the legal system and the wider society. (Chan) For example, when a police officer stops a black motorist, they are likely to be stopped and their car searched. While White motorist are just simply stopped and let go. This is because police have such wide discretion. They randomly stop any vehicle, at any time, for any reason or no reason at all.…

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The main purpose for police officers is public safety. Their goal is to predict, prevent, and stop crimes in order to ensure and restore peace in the communities. Diversity of communities lead to distinctive crimes, severity levels of crimes, and recidivism rates discrepancies. Criminals and law-breakers exist within any race, gender, sex, or socio-economic status. Jumping to a conclusion that one race is targeted more than the other without conducting a research and walking in a police officers’ shoes is incorrect and unfair. Numerous pieces of the event must…

    • 584 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Jim Crow

    • 2047 Words
    • 9 Pages

    In the book “The New Jim Crow” author Michelle Alexander talks about numerous issues of racial inequality in our criminal justice system. Alexander’s book is something every person who even has an interest in the criminal justice field should read, as it really looks beyond the color of a person’s skin. Alexander points out the vast majority of the problems our criminal justice system faces in racial inequality and discrimination. These problems have really formed our country to what it is to this day. Most people feel that society as a whole is past discrimination and that it is no longer a problem anymore. In reality, it is still a major problem in many aspects of our criminal justice system as well as the everyday lives of Americans. In all honesty I was one of them, but “The New Jim Crow” really opened my eyes on the discrimination that occurs within minorities in the United States. Reflecting back on this issue I had realized that I have witnessed this first hand with one of my close friends who is an African American male. I will get into more detail about this later on in my paper, but for now I am going to address some of the issues of racial inequality in the criminal justice system that Alexander mentioned.…

    • 2047 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    The United States has the largest documented incarceration rate in the world. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics at yearend 2012, approximately 6,937,600 offenders were under the supervision of adult correctional systems (2013). Of this number, more than 60% of the inmates in prison are minorities however; they make up only 37% of the United States population. Considering the trends in which minorities commit crimes, such broad statistics conceal that racial disparities pervade each stage of the U.S. judicial system, from arrest to trial and sentencing.…

    • 5238 Words
    • 16 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Race-based theory plays a major role in predicting substantial and institutionalized discrimination that is always aimed at minorities within the systems of criminal justice. Racial discrimination in the criminal systems is mainly carried out by police, judges in the courts and agencies which carry out corrections in the United States. Evidence of criminal discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics found in the United States highlights some of the discrimination incidences that the minorities go through. Discrimination against minorities is popularly explained as a purpose of little position of their socioeconomic actions rather than indigenous or racial status. There are two race-based conflict theories which address the discrimination…

    • 139 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Essay On Racial Profiling

    • 2490 Words
    • 10 Pages

    (Weitzer, R. 2000) surveys 3 neighborhoods in the Washington DC area that are examined. A middle-class white community, a middle-class black community, and a lower-class black community (Weitzer, R. 2000). The results from these examinations will better give us and understanding of why certain communities are targeted by officer’s racial biases. People in lower-class communities perceive themselves as always the victims in racial profiling however; never the…

    • 2490 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Stop and Frisk for Law

    • 1231 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is charged with keeping the public safe by responding to more than 100,000 emergency service (911) calls per year. In addition to responding to 911 calls, the NYPD also conduct patrols by foot and car to ensure the public’s safety. Keeping New York City (NYC) safe is a vital mission of the NYPD. Most residents that reside in NYC appreciate the efforts of the NYPD in keeping their neighborhoods safe; however in conjunction with safety the residents of NYC should trust the police that patrol their neighborhoods. This trust is called into question regarding the highly debated stop and frisk program conducted by the NYPD. Throughout the years there has been expressions of contentment and uneasiness regarding the stop and frisk program. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg along with the NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly—and some residents of NYC—fully support the stop and frisk program and agree that it is an effective crime fighting tool and deterrent, while many…

    • 1231 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Essay 2

    • 1110 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In this article, race has become a major factor in this topic being that people of color tend to believe that they are targeted by their color and are the prime target for police brutality and that police most likely will be bias and make them the particular threat to go after. The relationship with minorities and police go way back due to racism existing back in the day and many other reasons but in today’s time, people of minorities are fed up with it. In this particular text they show the issue under different lights such as under prevalence, “Given the history of police brutality in the United States and the self-perpetuating nature of reputations, distrust between…

    • 1110 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    My analysis on the early police community and their focus on minority communities concluded with the understanding that these minority areas were and still are a prominent area when speaking on poverty and crime so of course focusing on these areas would be crucial to crime prevention. Though these minority areas that are dealing with poverty “may” have a negative impact on people in these areas and influence them in ways that a suburban area “probably” would not, they still are not the only areas heavily infested with crime. Though these high crime rates and criminals may be primarily migrating towards these areas of poverty or already residing in these areas of poverty, there is still more research and elaboration that must be done on this topic of analysis. It is true that areas full of poverty and oppression may challenge some and alter ones thinking eventually making it hard for some to think rationally and doing negative impulsive acts. For instance, rather than finding a job to pay bills and feed ones family one might sell drugs to drug addicts, not caring who they are hurting when selling those drugs, or maybe one will rob a neighbor’s house who they knew for many years, just to support an habit or addiction. These were and still are instances related to and happening inside of poverty oppressed minority group areas which is why most of the earlier focus from the police community relations programs was on the minority community.…

    • 437 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Police and Society

    • 516 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Roberg (2005) argued that the history of policing can be traced all the way back in time to where the family enforced the norms and customs of conduct. The Roman then introduced a police force of twenty-four hour patrolling, and continued on to the development by the England on the emphasis of prevention. This method of prevention was then carried over to America and has exceeded by far. Today we have our police departments that were based off of four theories known as the disorder-control theory, the crime-control theory, the class-control theory and the urban-dispersion theory.…

    • 516 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Criminal Justice

    • 422 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Depending on a country's foreign policies including countries they are possibly at war with, or have immigration issues, the social stigma attached to certain ethnicities or creeds can have a great effect on the public. This attitude from the general public, or rather, sections of the public prejudice against other sections can directly influence law enforcement. Playing a role in furthering police corruption…

    • 422 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    In order to keep order in society there is a need for law enforcement. Since the beginning of time, man has created ways to protect citizens and communities. The most common way of doing that is with the police force. The police today are employed by the government and are usually very distinct from regular citizens since they wear uniforms in most cases. There are many different types of law enforcement officers, the most common ones are “local police officers, county deputies, state highway patrol troopers, or federal agents” (The Police An Introduction 28) We have a total of approximate 870,000 law enforcement officers in the United States that we have entrusted with many responsibilities to serve and protect us. The actual structure of the police could be very confusing to a regular citizen since they have private as well as public police and we the regular citizens may not know how to make a distinction between the two. (Paraphrased from The Police An Introduction 28)…

    • 1790 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Past experiences have shown that African Americans tend to have a more hostile relationship with police officers than other races. Research from multiple scholars confirms that there is in fact a correlation between a person’s race and the attitude they have towards officers. This experiment aims to verify that race is responsible for this difference in attitude. A survey containing multiple demographic questions and inquiries about attitudes and reactions to police officers was distributed to my Research Methods class as well as my family and friends. The results of this study support the hypothesis, and show that social class and type of neighborhood a person lives in also influences their attitude towards the police.…

    • 3297 Words
    • 14 Pages
    Better Essays

Related Topics