Crime Disparity in Reporting
Institution of Affiliation
The policing policy is very essential within the criminal justice system that is a key determinant on the number of crimes being committed and those that get reported and duly served. The police have a responsibility of ensuring that they create an environment where the community members feel secure to report their issues and are served without discrimination or any form of bias based on socio-economic status, gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation among others. However, there happens to be some sort of discrimination and victimization within the policing system that prevents some sub-sets and members of the community from reporting their cases (Langton et al., 2012). It is however not surprising that there are always a very high number of crimes occurring yet only half of those crimes get reported to the police. If one was to rate crime rates according to the police reports, then the research would be highly biased since not all the cases get reported. Many researchers have coined their explanation to racial discrimination and victimization within the criminal justice system.
In the history of the U.S. discrimination against African Americans has always existed since the period where they were treated as slaves. The history reveals the existence of racial prejudice which was approved by upholding of slavery by the U.S Supreme court. The Jim Crow laws and the Black codes were some of the obvious examples of the legal forms of discrimination against the black community where they were brutally treated by the legal authorities. The effect still reflects today where the black community and other minorities such as the Hispanics are always suspect of crimes and are always the target of crime on cases of robbery, drugs, and murder. As a result of the oppression by the police and the criminal justice system, the minorities feel the need to take matters to their own hands rarely will the cases be reported to the police. Therefore, the police record will have lower records of crime compared to those that are committed.
Underrepresentation of the African Americans as officials within the criminal justice system and their overrepresentation as offenders and victims of crime is another factor that leads to the crime report disparity. Many victims of crime within the black community feel that they will less likely receive due justice because the criminal justice system has few people to represent them in their cases. The effect then translates to fewer crimes being reported to the police than they actually occur. One of the reasons is that the cases will take too long to be solved is because priority will be given to the privileged group of society. In many cases, justice ends up not being served not and if served, some aspects of it are undermined leading to lack of morale to report cases. The criminal justice system can be expensive for everyone. The high cost involved in traveling to and from the courts and hiring legal experts may discourage victims of crime from reporting crimes. Many victims already experience losses and grief a result of crime in that the cost of the criminal justice system will add to the burden they already have to deal with.
Proactive policing has decreased according to some researchers given the Ferguson incident where masses turned to protest against the killings that occurred (James, 2018). Due to the decrease in the proactive policing, crime rates, especially in the black communities, are believed to have increased and the majority of the cases will not appear in the police records. The police gained the fear of public repercussion whenever they respond to an incident when heavily harmed which has to some extent given some freedom to the commission of more crime that that being reported.
Hate crimes proof hard to report mainly due to the fact that determining what they are can be challenging for the victim. According to research studies, there are about 250,000 hate crimes victim each year. According to police records, these cases are almost non-existent. This means that these cases go unreported with about 87% of the law enforcement agencies in the whole of the U.S reporting zero hate crimes. Only little arrests have been made regarding hate crime but according to FBI data, such crimes have been on the rise. Minority groups are considered the main targets of hate crimes while factors such a bias based on religion and gender affiliation being contributing factors to the increase (Police Chief Magazine, 2019). For example, before LGBT community was fully accepted by the community besides being legally recognized, victims of the hate crimes would find it hard to report or even to get justice within the criminal justice system which resulted to them pretesting for their rights in the streets.
Victims of crime in some instances result in other forms reporting such as approaching other officials such as institutional managers or security guards instead of reporting their crimes to the police. It is however important that victims learn how to report their cases to the police in order to get through the victimization process and for justice to be served.
James, N. (2018). Recent Violent Crime Trends in the United States. R45236.
Langton, L., Berzofsky, M., Krebs, C. P., & Smiley-McDonald, H. (2012). Victimizations not reported to the police, 2006-2010. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Police Chief Magazine. (2019). The Hate Crimes Reporting Gap: Low Numbers Keep Tensions High. Retrieved from https://www.policechiefmagazine.org/the-hate-crimes/