Community Policing

Community Policing*Picture*Grade:B+Language:EnglishSystem:Four-Year CollegeCountry:USAAuthors Comments: :
Crime is defined as commission of an act or act of omission that violates the law and is punishable by the state. Crimes are considered injurious to society and the community. As defined by law, a crime includes both the act,or actus rea, and the intent to commit the act, or mens rea. Criminal intent involves an intellectual apprehension of factual elements of the act or acts commanded or enjoined by the law. It is usually inferred from the apparently voluntary commission of an overt act. Criminal liability is relieved in the case of insanity. Legal minors are also relieved of criminal liability, as are persons subjected to coercion or duress to such a degree as to render the commission of criminal acts involuntary. In most countries, crimes are defined and punished pursuant to statutes. Punishments may include death, imprisonment, exile, fines, forfeiture of property, removal from public office, and disqualification from holding such office.
Unless the act of which a defendant is accused is expressly defined by statute as a crime, no indictment or conviction for the commission of such an act can be legally sustained. This provision is important in establishing the difference between government by law and arbitrary or dictatorial government.
Under common law, a crime was generally classified as treason, felony, or misdemeanor, but many offenses could not be defined exactly, and the rule was adopted that any immoral act tending to the prejudice of the community was, per se, a crime, and punishable by the courts. Crimes are now usually classified as mala in se, which includes acts, such as murder, so offensive to morals as to be obviously criminal; and mala prohibita, which are violations of specific regulatory statutes, such as traffic violations, that ordinarily would not be punishable in the absence of statutory enactments prohibiting the commission of such acts. In most cases, crimes, including treason, that are mala in se are called felonies and are punished more severely than those that are mala prohibita, most of the latter falling into the category of misdemeanors.
Nearly everyone in America has been touched by crime in one way or another. There are reports of murders, arson, robberies, etc. every night on the news. However, the viewer is constantly bombarded with reports that there is either a crime wave or that crime is receding. This can confuse even the most adamant viewer. The book The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice by Kappeler, Blumberg, and Potter breaks down the essentials and gives the reader ideas on what exactly crime is, how it is represented by the media, and how Americans respond to it. In Chapter 2, the authors discuss crime waves and their effects on society.
In Chapter 2, the authors point out the main contributing factor to crime in the United States--poverty. According to the text, the main contributor to crime in the United States is a young, black male living in an urban environment. The text also notes that blacks commit crimes at three times the rate of their percentage in the national population.
The official crime rate in the United States is measured by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports. However, there is strong criticism for the FBI's measurement of crime using the UCR. For example, the FBI does not require that any person be arrested for crimes that are reported. All that is required is for someone to believe that a crime actually took place. One can see where this could create misleading statistics. For example, if someone were to lose a checkbook at a local mall, they could report that a pickpocket had stolen the checkbook from them. Under the FBI's UCR, this would be labeled as a crime, even though the checkbook was misplaced and was in fact not stolen.
Another source of crime information is found in the National Crime Victimization Survey. This survey is conducted through 100,000 households across the country by the Department of Justice. This survey is superior to the FBI's UCR in the fact that they measure both reported and unreported crime, are unaffected by technological changes in police record keeping, levels of reporting by the victims to the police, and other factors. Even though