Lens 1: Patrol Officer
From the viewpoint of a patrol officer, the broken windows theory applies to the scenario in Anonymous City. A section of the theory explains how disorder in a neighborhood leads to crime. As such, residents from the Progressive City raised concerns about the chaotic nature of the anonymous community. Primarily, Progressive City residents associated the disorder in Anonymous Community with the rising cases of crime in their community (Swanson, Chamelin & Territo, 2012). Police officers hold the view that crime rate and fear of crime can be reduced by focusing on disorder and petty crimes through aggressive order maintenance (Wilson & Kelling, 2017). They also believe that community members who are intolerant to disorder are likely to report criminal acts to the police. Assimilation of some members from Anonymous Community, therefore, improved the relationship between them and the police. Patrol officers consider most of the assimilated residents as law-abiding citizens.
In many cases, residents of a diverse community such as Anonymous Community are unwilling to cooperate with police officers in crime investigations. Tactics used by police officers to fight crime in various communities are often militaristic and leads to community-police tension, mistrust and distorted communication (Wilson & Kelling, 2017). Police officers in Anonymous Community can improve communication with the residents through proper training on appropriate verbal communication and effective use of primary take-down techniques. Rather than demanding answers from a suspect, they can initiate a dialogue by calmly asking open-ended questions. Strong relationships promote mutual trust between community members and police agencies (Swanson, Chamelin & Territo, 2012). In achieving this, police agencies must acknowledge the challenges facing a diverse community before engaging them in community policing programmes. They must encourage and be part of community outreach and service programmes and increase foot patrols in the neighborhoods.
Lens 2: Community Member
From the perspective of a community member, the broken windows theory cannot apply in the anonymous city scenario. Use of militaristic tactics by police officers to restore order and the arrest of minor crime offenders compromises the community-police relationship (Geller, 2007). To a community member, these tactics amount to targeted policing in disorderly neighborhoods and mainly focuses on the minority groups such as people of color. Having been a member of the Anonymous Community for 25 years, assimilation to the progressive city culture cannot have any significant impact. There are no universal values about crime and public disorders that unite the native residents of such a community. In short, such a community member is not likely to link disorder with a crime.
Police officers can improve communication by addressing complaints of alleged police misconduct in the Anonymous Community to restore trust and confidence. Community members are hesitant to communicate with police officers accused of racism and brutality (Geller, 2007). They must, therefore, acknowledge and respect the diverse culture, practice restorative justice and operate transparently. Also, it is essential for them to participate in gang awareness programmes and other communal activities aimed at improving security. Through this, community efficacy is established, and the community members begin to collaborate with them in the fight against crime.
Answering from the perspective of a patrol officer was the most difficult. It is not challenging for a police officer to establish a clear between disorder and increase in crime. For example, some assimilated members from the Anonymous Community still engaged in various criminal activities in Progressive City (Swanson, Chamelin & Territo, 2012). It becomes difficult for a police officer to apply the broken windows theory and still regard the residents concerns. Many residents are opposed to aggressive order maintenance due to its oppressive nature. It is also challenging to illustrate how a police officer can collaborate with residents of a diverse culture and still practice aggressive order maintenance. It is also difficult to evaluate the outcome after applying a broken window theory as a strategy to fight crime. Information shared in the book, Criminal Investigation, could not be applied in addressing the use of aggressive tactics by police to fight crime in the Anonymous Community. In the book, strategies to implement a prosperous community policing programme are limited to restorative justice, increased foot patrol, community sponsored programmes and gang awareness programmes (Swanson, Chamelin & Territo, 2012). Use of excessive force damages police legitimacy and comes at the expense of increased mistrust and reduced residents satisfaction in a diverse community.
Geller, A. (2007). Neighbourhood Disorder and Crime: An Analysis of Broken Windows in New York City. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1079879References
Swanson, C.R., Chamelin, N.C, & Territo, L.(2012). Criminal investigation. New York. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Wilson, J., & Kelling, G. (2017). The Police Neighbourhood and Safety: Broken Windows. Retrieved 13 November 2017, from http:///www.manhattan-institute.org/pdf/_atlantic_monthly-broken_windows.pdf
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