Free «Criminal Justice» Essay Sample

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Versus Data Stat Survey

The NCVS is a collection of information on crimes suffered by individuals and households, whether or not those crimes were reported to law enforcement. Barkan & Bryjak (2011) says that NCVS has several strengths and weaknesses. Its major strength is that it provides more accurate estimates than UCR of the number of crimes. This implies that NCVS is the most reliable source of information on the number of crimes. Barkan & Bryjak (2011) says that the second strength of the NCVS stems from its greater accuracy hence researchers say that it is a better barometer than the data stat survey of changes in crime rates. The third strength of NCVS is that it provides rich information on the context of criminal victimization and its effects on crime. Data stat surveys allow researchers to collect detailed information about individual offenders. Unlike NCVS data stat survey sheds more light on the dark figure of crime by revealing both the prevalence and the incidence of offending. 

However, NCVS has various limitations. Firstly Barkan & Bryjak (2011), says that NCVS does not include two very important types of crime; commercial and white collar crime. Also NCVS does not cover crimes whose victims are younger than the age of twelve years. As a result of these omissions, the NCVS underestimates the actual amount of crime in the United States.

The second weakness is that NCVS respondents may forget about al least some of their victimizations or they may simply decide they do not want to tell the NCVS interviews about them. According to Barkan & Bryjak (2011), the second weakness is prevalent with crimes such as rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. The use of NCVS may result to over reporting as a result of victim’s misinterpretation of events and lead to inability to record the personal criminal activity of those interviewed about the use of guns. 

The D.A.R.E. Program

D.A.R.E is the most popular and widely used prevention program in American schools. The original core curriculum was designed as drug prevention for uniformed police officers to teach students in their last (5th and 6th) grade of elementary school. Cornell (2006) says that D.A.R.E is both drug and violence prevention program and it is intended to prevent children from using alcohol, tobacco and other illegal drugs. The components of D.A.R.E program include DARE junior high, DARE senior high, DARE parent program and the DARE plus after school activity.

Cornell (2006) noted that the rationale for the DARE Plus was that the most effective prevention programs attempted to influence children beyond the classroom through activities in their homes and neighborhoods. The DARE program should be continued because they in the planning of constructive activities such as bullying prevention seminar, community forums and neighborhood cleanups. Research shows that the DARE program helps to reduce tobacco, alcohol and drug use for boys.

DARE has been extremely successful at placing substance abuse education in the Nation’s schools. If well implemented DARE, can serve an important role schools repertoire of drug prevention strategies, but it will not address the now salient problem of the ineffectiveness of the core elementary school program for fifth and sixth graders. The program taught by law-enforcement personnel, lasts for about 10 weeks. Isralowitz & Myers (2011) noted that many evaluation studies have come to a conclusion that it does not reduce drug use and in some cases may increase it.    

Normative Education

Normative education establishes beliefs in conventional norms among students. Normative education teaches students that the prevalence of substance use among their peers is lower than they might otherwise expect. Kizito (2004) says that normative education is concerned with proposing ends or values for education to promote, principles for it follow. Normative education determines standards of education by stating the criteria for what counts or does not count in education. Kizito (2004) indicated that normative education has a practical dimension in which it recommends the means and methods that should be followed to attain educational ends.

The importance of normative education is that it promotes certain ends producing people of a certain sort. Through normative education it ensures that norms setting and public pledges to remain drug-free are usually elements of the most effective drug education curricula but meta analysis have not been able to disentangle the effects of the various components. Studies have established that positive effects on marijuana use and alcohol use are attributable more to a normative education than to a resistance skills training component. Kizito (2004) indicated that normative philosophy of education instills value. Through this normative education plays a fundamental role in the character formation of young people.

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Normative education ensures exclusive but complementary patterns of education through empirical and rational constructs. In this context normative education programs are uniquely associated with normative beliefs and values clarification programs that are uniquely associated with lifestyle incongruence. Kizito (2004) noted that this type of education is associated with social influence programs because of their relationship to the theory of reasoned action. It should be noted that prescription alone does not make education normative. Kizito (2004) thus says that what accounts for the philosophical dimension are the interests in justifying the prescriptions. As a result it contains practical percepts about what should be done in education and how as well as providing reasons for these conclusions.    

Youth Mentoring

Youth mentoring is an approach that resonates with mainstream cultural values because it is viewed as simple, direct, individualized, inexpensive and effective (Allen & Eby, 2011). Youth mentoring is characterized by a personal relationship in a caring individual provides consistent companionship, support, and guidance aimed at developing the competence and character of a child or adolescent (Allen & Eby, 2011). Youth mentoring corresponds with the intuitive understanding that youth learn about themselves and their worlds in the context of relationships with the significance adults in their lives. Research shows that through youth mentoring, children and adolescents who feel a sense of connection with a supportive adult engage in fewer health risk behaviors.

According to Allen & Eby (2011), support for youth mentoring as an intervention has been provided by rigorous evaluations demonstrating improvements in youth competencies and reductions in problem behaviors and by meta-analytic results substantiating the general effectiveness of mentoring across a range of programs and studies. Allen & Eby (2011) further noted that youth mentoring encompasses a wide array of relationships that may be differentiated by context such school, workplace and community. It may also be differentiated by special population such as gifted, disabled and at risk youth. 

Youth mentoring initiatives has been promoted by the desire to address community level concerns. Allen & Eby (2011) noted that social trends such as single parenthood, residential mobility and patterns of labor force participation have resulted in disrupted relationships and limited contact for children and the adults in their lives. This means that forging connections between adults and youth through mentoring programs has been advocated as a way to rebuild a sense of caring, civic engagement and inter-generational commitment within communities. In addition, Allen & Eby (2011) established that youth mentoring also represents a mechanism for implementing social; policy. Therefore the diversity seen in youth mentoring is a function of the many possible interstices between individualized helping relationships, larger social conditions, and philosophies of intervention (Allen & Eby, 2011). 

Elements of the Routine Activities Theory

The routine activities theory studies the decision to commit crimes. Samaha (2005) says that the focus is the influence of the location of targets and the movements of offenders and victims in time and space. It has been noted that opportunity and temptation are central to routine activities theory. Samaha (2005) says that the theory assumes that offender’s decision is not calculated to maximize success, but rather to meet their needs with a minimum of effort.

Research shows that the volume and distribution of crime is as a result of interaction of three major variables in societal structure which include suitable targets, capable guardians and motivated offenders. Samaha (2005) in this context says that the theory includes three major elements which include a motivated offender, a suitable target and the absence of a capable guardian. Ewald & Turkovi%u0107 (2006) noted that the presence or absence of these three components affects the likelihood of victimization, manipulation of one or more of three elements will show variations in the volume of distribution of crime. 

The routine activities theory assumes the presence motivated offenders and it presumes that crimes are mostly a product of opportunity, endorsing a rational choice perspective of understanding motivation (Ewald & Turkovi%u0107, 2006). The routine activities theory focuses on the opportunity to commit crime but is silent on the sources of motivation for committing violent acts. Capable guardians are measured by the way in which individuals protect themselves or their property from victimization. Suitable targets refer to the form or value of targets and characteristics related to visibility, accessibility and vulnerability of victimization. Ewald & Turkovi%u0107 (2006) for example says that examination of forms, types, or characteristics of crime targets demonstrates that they are judges attractive due to the potentially high number of victims or because of their accessibility, vulnerability or feasibility in terms of execution.    

Environmental Criminology

Environmental criminology is the study of crime, criminally and victimization as they relate, first to particular places and secondly to the way that individuals and organizations shape their activities spatially and in so doing are in turn influenced by place based or spatial factors. Environmental criminology is a generic label encompassing a number of different approaches that emerged mainly from the 1970s and that share an interest in the wider environmental determinants of crime. Gilling (1997) noted that environmental criminology seeks to redress the balance, without placing as much stress upon design. Environmental criminology is concerned with micro-level research which focuses on individual locations and attempts to explain the relationship between sites specific physical features, social characteristics and crime.

Moreover, Haining (2003) says that there is interest in the criminological implications of the shift towards the post industrial city. The changes in the use of space within urban area together with new patterns of mobility and new life styles are inducing changes in offense patterns and the emergence of new geographical concentrations of crime activities. Environmental criminology articulates that offences take place where criminal opportunities intersect with areas that are known to the offender because of their routine use of that space (Haining, 2003).

In environmental criminology, its should be noted that lack of social cohesion or the coexistence of certain types of social organization and disorganization within a neighborhood are possible explanatory variables in understanding where high offence rates occur and where offenders come from (Haining, 2003). In environmental criminology, explanations of where offenders come from often lay emphasis on area level attributes and emphasize housing type and neighborhood socialization process that may provide too few sanctions on juvenile delinquent behavior in certain areas. Area-level contextual influences linked to social organization and processes of informal social control within neighborhood play a role in explanations of the cause of offending and victimization (Haining, 2003).   

Advantages of Geographic Profiling

Geographic profiling is n information management strategy for serial violent crime investigation that analyses crime site information to determine the most probable area of offender residence. Wang (2005) says that the system used in geographic profiling shows the dimensions and pattern of distribution of the crimes believed to have taken place within a certain area. One of the advantages of geographic profiling is that it only needs the locations associated with a series of crimes as input and then adjusted to be tailored to the behavior of that particular individual.  

Geographic profiling makes the prediction of offender residence based on establishing the location relative frequencies of crimes around the incident location in the past. Wang (2005) says that in geographical profiling, a list of suspects is generated which now has to be ordered using the empirically established probabilities linking offender residence location to incident location. Another advantage of geographical profiling is its ability to locate even very systematic offenders who took great pins to cover their traces and not to leave a discernible pattern. Abelius (2011) noted that geographic profiling systems do have high quality applications which enable the police to solve high profile cases in a shorter amount of time than with traditional methods even if studies found the same accuracy in human investigative skills.

Geographic profiling can assist investigators in criminal cases to such a great extent that it has become an absolutely essential investigative method today (Abelius, 2011). The general idea in geographical profiling is that a criminal’s behavior in a given environment is based not only on the external, physical and geographical features of n area but also on the criminal’s psychological and emotional perception of that area.


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