Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice Final Research Paper
In order to get a greater understanding of the crime trends in a particular geographical area or to gather numerical information for the entire nation research methods must be developed to compile this crime data. The Crime in the United States is a publication by the F.B.I’s Uniform Crime Report that is released every year and provides rankings concerning the different crime trends in America’s cities and towns. The report is completed after the UCR receives the necessary crime data from the cities and towns across America. Their level of crime patterns and trends then ranks Cities and towns.
Crime in the U.S publication usually entails but is not limited to hate crime statistics, law enforcement officers’ assault, financial crimes reports, bank crimes reports, financial institution and mortgage fraud reports, terrorism incidents among others. The objective of this yearly exercise is not only to inform the public of the rate of crime, but to keep law enforcers and officers accountable. They are also used to gauge the country’s justice and safety position so as to inform what needs to be improved or implemented to maintain safety and peace for the sake of the citizens. In light of this, it is very important that the statistics and information collected and reported is accurate and free of bias as it is used as basis for important planning and strategy.
The Crime in the United States report is used to determine the cities or towns with the highest crime rates to the lowest. The information pertaining to this ranking is received by local law enforcement agencies across the country. The information that is received is often time inaccurate or incomplete and not all law enforcement agencies participate. When the UCR releases this report each year it comes with a cautionary warning for users. The purpose of this cautionary warning is to make the user aware that the information is not one hundred percent factual and a more valid assessment tool should be used in or der to gather accurate statistical data.
Even if every law enforcement agencies in the country reported their crime trends and patterns to the F.B.I and the information was accurate there would still be other factors that would need to be taken into consideration before the data would provide and reliable and valid ranking based of towns and cities crime rates. In one city there could be a large population of youth while in other a large population of the elderly. Because it is a fact that youths commit more crimes than the elderly, the crime rates would not reflect a true gauge of the city’s crime ranking. Another factor that can affect the rankings is economic conditions of the area. In lower class areas there is more crime than in middle to upper class areas.
When a city or town is ranked by their crime trends the result could be that the city or town may appear to be something that it is not. For example if a city appears to have high crime rates people may refuse to move to the area based on the crude and unreliable data published in the F.B.I’s Crime in the united States publication. Locales should not be ranked because there are many factors that cause the nature and type of crime that occurs and it can create a false picture of the city (F.B.I, 2009). Unreliable crime statistics can cause economic damage to an area everyone fears moving to or cause discriminatory behavior towards the residents.
Thetraining guide for hate crimes is intended to assist law enforcement agencies in the task of establishing a hate crime training program for their personnel (). The information provided enable law enforcement’s agencies and their officers to recognize acts of discrimination and hate. The training guide provides the definition for words such as prejudice, stereotype, discrimination, racism, sexism, in-group, and out groups as well as conformity, institutional supports, and social categorization. Prejudice is a word used to describe individuals that have negative feelings or preconceived ideas about another group of individuals based solely on their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
A stereotype is a label. It is when an individual makes an assumption about another individual based on a generalization. In other words that man is Italian so he must be with the mob or because that girl is Asian she must be smart. These assumptions generalize the entire race, gender, etc. instead of allowing each individual to be judged based on their own unique personality traits or characteristics. Discrimination is when one individual is treated differently than another individual based on their race, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation. The behavior the individuals receive is negative and designed to prevent the individual from succeeding. Racism is when someone is hated based solely on the color of their skin while sexism is discriminatory or negative behavior being directed at an individual based on their gender.
The social environment or the norms of society can play a major role in the discriminatory or prejudicial behavior that occurs. If an individual is not a part of the in group or the group that is more accepted by society leads to unequal status for these individuals in society. For example if the non-minority is a part of the in crowd than the minority would be subject to discriminatory or prejudicial behavior. That individual would be considered a part of the out crowd. In order to avoid being a part of the out crowd members of society will conform to the beliefs and values of the in crowd. Conformity means to be the same or uniform.
In order to ensure that hate crimes do not occur in American society legislation has been developed to ensure that every individual has the same and equal opportunity for success. The Civil Rights Act and Affirmative Action have ensured that individuals will no longer be denied educational and job opportunities based on their race, age, sex, disabilities, or sexual orientation and new, stiffer hate crime laws and penalties were developed to stop senseless violence against other citizens form prejudicial or discriminatory reasons. These are the social institutions that have been put into place to prevent discrimination, hate crimes, or racism at the institutional level. When social institutions are not in place events like the many hate crimes and racist acts against African Americans occur and there is no method of enforcement.
Social categorization is similar to stereotyping except individuals are categorized into classes or subgroups by society. By defining individual in society by class an in group develops and the out groups is discriminated against. Social categorization lies at the foundation of social interactions and assists perceivers in effectively and efficiently dealing with information in their social environment (Weeks, 2004). In other words how an individual defines or categorizes an individual from another class or culture is how they perceive them in society.
While law enforcement practices have changed drastically since the 1960’s and the establishment of legislation that protects the citizen from discriminatory or prejudicial has been enacted, the law enforcement community is not one hundred percent free of racial discrimination practices in arrests. There is a major cultural diversity issue involved with the contact of the minorities and the police as well as in the overrepresentation of minorities in the correctional system. Because the police determine what individuals will receive attention or suspicion as well as determining the citizens that will be arrested this overrepresentation have been blamed on discriminatory practices by the police.
Racial profiling is believed to be the main cause for a large representation of minority offenders being arrested by police. Racial profiling is the use of race as the “sole” basis for a stop (Leach, 2009). If the police use race as the basis for their suspicion or their traffic stops then discriminatory practices still occur. Cultural diversity affects all aspects of American life including the practices of law enforcement but through proper diversity training the police can gain a better understanding of the unique differences located within the American population.
(2009). Caution against ranking: Variables Affecting Crime. Federal Bureau of Investigations.
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Weeks, M. &Lupfer, M. (2004). Complicating Race: The Relationship Between
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