In the fifth chapter of Walker’s book, he discusses the idea that we can reduce crime rates if we “unleash” cops and give them more capabilities, deter future crimes through more severe punishments, and that we should lock up more criminals and for longer terms. The author of 14 books on issues of crime, policing, and policies surrounding those issues, Walker holds the title of Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he taught for many years, even though he has not taught there since 2005. Before this, in 1973, he acquired a Ph.D. in American History at Ohio State University which is his highest degree to date. Walker has written and done research on numerous subjects involving the criminal justice system and because of this has keen insight into the world of law and policing.
In this particular chapter I am focusing on, Walker broaches the topic of “unleashing the cops”, a concept that he assumes Conservatives believe is one of the main solutions to decreasing crime. In the crime control agenda for Conservatives, they expect increasingly rigorous police patrol, which would be done by expanding the number of units available for patrol whose focus is either on intense crackdowns on specific crime or general focus on certain areas and crimes as a whole. They also expect the criminal justice system to give police in general more powers that have otherwise been restricted by the Constitution on matters of obtaining evidence and coercing admissions of guilt.
By approaching these ideas with solid research goals and planning, researchers have come up with two basic crime fighting strategies that can increase police effectiveness. The first strategy Community Policing, which addresses immediate concerns in the community by use of police officers interacting with citizens on a daily basis on issues regarding public safety, whether it be crime or the fear of crime itself. The second strategy is that of problem-oriented policing programs. This strategy looks at distinct crime and social disorder issues and makes it the point to identify and study each of them in order to create response programs that can work alongside other programs.
Another notion Walker discusses briefly is that of “hot spot” policing. This is when, by use of an evidence-based approach, an effect anti-crime effort by police is that of one that attacks crime intelligently, such as his example of using closed circuit television (CCTV) to monitor criminal activity. The idea of “hot spot” policing is not just the conservative view of “more cops working harder” but of cops that we already have, putting their efforts towards more effective and intuitive goals and plans.
This chapter’s intent is to show the reader that the process of reducing crime is more complicated that just “unleashing the cops”, that not only does the way we approach crime have to be smarter, but we also have to remember to look carefully at what society sees when we go...