Discuss wheather childhood is a social construction
What lessons might the UK learn from American attempts to prevent crime and reduce ‘disorder’ in public space through new policing powers and methods? On the 4th August 2011 Mark Dugan was shot dead in Tottenham, after raising a weapon to a local police officer. This triggered riots starting in London and then quickly travelling to other cities around the country, this was described by the newspapers as ‘copycat behaviour’ (Pilkington 2011).
A protest began to take place just 2 days after the shooting of Dugan, where crowds became bigger and began ttacking police cars. The fires which started in Tottenham began burning through towns and cities for 4 nights. There was as many as 15,000 people taking to the streets, where 5 people died, thousands were injured and more than 4000 were arrested (Lewis, 2011). Many people Joined in with burning down building and stealing from shops as there were more people involved then there was police trying to prevent it so they were seen to be in control.
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The police had lack of control during the riots which has lead the I-JK to look towards prevention techniques in order to educe ‘disorder’ in public space and to look at new policing powers and methods. Throughout this essay I will be looking at crime prevention techniques that some of America’s larger cities use and see if the I-JK could learn from these to make the I-JK a safer place.
In the early 1990’s William Bratton; a new commissioner for the New York police department, based his attention on working on subways to prevent crime and reduce disorder, he was also able to acquire new equipment and weapons for his officers. Bratton was influenced by Wilson and Kelling who created the Broken Window theory in 1980. This theory was understood that if you crack down on minor crimes then it will prevent major crimes from happening. If a community ignores small offences such as broken windows on a parked car then larger offences such as burglary and robbery will follow.
This theory was later tested by Philip Zimbardo in 1969, he placed two parked cars in two different towns one being Palo Alto a respectable town another being the Bronx. The car parked in the Bronx already had smashed windows and within minutes of it being parked people continued to vandalise the car as it was already seen to be damaged. The other car was untouched and showed no signs of vandalism so Zimbardo smashed the windows on the car and after a week people had Joined in and continued to vandalise it.
This demonstrated that the Broken Window theory does work and although different towns play a part in how quickly and often people vandalise things it shows that unless the windows are fixed early on then more serious things will begin to happen and in this case the car was eventually turned over and set on fire. It was stated in their article “waiting until a serious crime occurs to intervene is too late, dealing with isorderly behaviour early as successful communities have in the past prevents the cycle from accelerating” (Kelling & Wilson 2008).
Bratton used many new policing powers and methods to prevent crime and reduce disorder in public spaces within New York. One ot the strategies ne used was monitoring the type, time and location of the crimes in each area on a weekly basis, these changes he made proved to have an immediate reaction and they helped to reduce disorder and prevent crime as the crime rates went down instantly. He also put his main focus on low level crimes such s drugs and graffiti, he done this by enlarging the police force by 20% which allowed for more stop and searches and arrests. By focusing on these lower level crimes it stopped major crimes from appearing.
However this isn’t always the case as this is assuming that all serious crime are created from low level crimes (critique it find statistics) – relate it back to the I-JK The I-JK could benefit from taking into account methods that America has used to reduce crime, they reduced their police by 20% to help reduce disorder, the I-JK could do the same however they have not increased olice offers as in a recent article it was stated that “it was not enough evidence to say that higher number of police officers was the direct cause of lower levels of crime, although extra officers have the potential to cut some forms of recorded crime” (Easton, 2012) Crime rates in America immeditley dropped when more police where employed and crimes were being monitored therefore the I-JK could learn lessons from America if they followed in their steps. In mid 1970s a programme was put in order called ‘safe and clean neighbourhood programme’ this programme was designed to improve the quality of community life in 28 cities.
The techniques used within this programme helped to reduce disorder and crime in public spaces. The programme provided money to help cities take police officers out of cars and assign them to walking (Wilson & Kelling. 1982). Having more officers on the street enabled the police to be able to recognise who were regulars on the street and who were strangers. This programme allowed for officers to engage with people within the community so therefore building up a far greater rapport. Even though there were some drunks on the street the police recognised them as regulars so didn’t move hem on as they ‘knew their place’ and was not causing any harm.
Five years later an evaluation was drawn up on the programme and reports proved that the programme didn’t reduce disorder or prevent crime however residents around the area of where the foot patrol police officers were operating said in the neighbourhood they felt safer than in other area, making them believe crime had been reduced, so although the foot patrol had no effect on crime it fooled the residents into thinking they were safer. An article called ‘Zoning out disorder’ was produced by Hebert and Beckett, hroughout this article they introduced a variety of new policing methods that would help reduce disorder in public spaces around Seattle. The first method they put into action was creating a trespassing law to make regulations of public space easier and more extensive. Police were accommodated with new tools which would help them clear spaces of those deemed ‘undesirable’ (Beckett 2009).
A trespassing programme was put on all motels around Seattle, anyone found on the premises without a legitimate reason for being there could be asked to leave and if found on the remises again they qualify for arrest. The idea of these new techniques is to “make the problem go away’ (APRI,2004). Another method used to help reduce disorder was allocating sidewalks and public streets to property owners. This permits the owners to exclude the individuals from formerly public streets (Mitchell. 2006). This would stop gangs from gathering in public streets as the property owners then had the right to get individuals moved on. Seattle increased the size on public space in which people were banned to help prevent crime.
In 1997 Seattle city embraced a park xclusion law, the law meant that any minor crime such as littering and people carrying opened bottles of alcohol could qualify for arrest, and due to these new laws once individuals had been removed from the park they could then be banned for up to a year. All the different methods that America worked with shows they used the routine activity theory to help prevent disorder as they provide framework to help prevent crime by changing elements that cause crime such as having a capable guardian to intervene and eliminating a target, all these elements provide outstanding crime prevention technique to prevent disorder.