In the previous years, California witnessed a rise in the crime rate. A high number of criminal activities ranging from murders, burglaries, and felonies became characteristic of the state. Much effort has been made by various law enforcement agencies in a bid to make the criminal activities in the state reduce. The measures implemented by the agencies have borne fruit; in the last decade, a significant reduction in the crime rate was reported (Denvir, 2015).
The Rate of Crime in California and Its Perceptions
Unlike other states, California managed to reduce the crime cases; consequently, the cities witnessed an overall decrease in the crime rates. In California, the crime rates took a downward slope because of the toughened limitations for citizens, use of technology, and penitentiary programs that kept adolescents in check. Nevertheless, the society reported a contrary situation (Denvir, 2015). Nevertheless, the data point out that there is a lack of evidence to support official claims that the crime rate reduced. In such a manner, there is a need for further research that will either confirm or refute the claims about the issue. All relevant bodies must help look at the matter in order to get an answer to the question of the crime rate in California.
Explanation of whether the Crime Rate Has Increased or Declined since the 1990s in the State of California
The State of California has reported a change in the crime rate since the 1990s (Chettiar, 2015). As compared to the previous years, there was an overall decline in the rates. The state law enforcement agencies reported an overall decrease in the number of crimes. In such a manner, in the last two decades, instances of crime in the state of California have fallen down (Chettiar, 2015). According to the survey conducted by Gallup, crime was one of the America’s greatest fears because of the impact that it made on the people (Chettiar, 2015). The adverse effects caused by crime caused the state and society develop and implement various measures in order to ensure an overall improvement. As it was registered in 2011, California noted a forty-five-year decrease in the crime rate. According to reports, the decline has been steady since 1992 (Denvir, 2015). Despite the crime rates being high in the previous years, California managed to achieve a significant reduction in the criminal activities and reach a figure of 4.22%. The situation was much better as compared to those of the previous years with 11.2% (Chettiar, 2015). Such figures are a clear indication that the criminal activities in the state have gone down since the 1990s (Bruer & Perez, 2015).
Further, the California Department of Justice asserts that there was a considerable decline in the crime rates, particularly in the county of Humboldt with a rate of 2.89 for one thousand of residents (Chettiar, 2015). The presented statistics are lower than those recorded in other states of the country. Moreover, as compared to the national averages, the rate had tremendously declined. Further statistics of the cities in California have shown that the society has enjoyed a period of low criminal activities with Humboldt County being determined the safest place for people to live (Chettiar, 2015).
Despite the presented positive statistics, there also were some exceptions. Such counties as Eureka reported an increase in the criminal activities. As compared to other cities in the state, it was concluded that the region experienced an increase in the crime level that was really high. This fact is an indication that despite the overall decline in the crime rates in the state, other regions still faced an increase in the criminal activities (Chettiar, 2015). The same can be used as a strong counterargument to contradict official claims regarding the crime rate decline.
The Perception of Crime by the People
The presented data about the decline of the crime rates in California evidently contradict the public perception. Most people consider that the crime statistics presented by officials does not reflect the actual situation, especially in terms of the crime rates reduction (Chettiar, 2015). There is a significant disparity between the data presented officially and what the society believes to be true. People consider that the state is still not safe despite the reports that have been released by the state agencies (Chettiar, 2015). Most of them tend to believe that there are no positive results of the crime elimination or even if there are some, criminal activities taking place in the state of California are still numerous (Wolfers, 2014).
Citizens refute the claims that the crime rates are significantly declining. According to many people, the official statistics can be completely opposite to the actual situation. The same fact demonstrates the lack of agreement when it comes to the issue of crime rates. Moreover, it questions the legibility of the studies that were conducted by reputable research organizations (Chettiar, 2015). Overall, there is a need to do a thorough analysis in order to ascertain whether crime rates have indeed decreased or what have happened in actual practice. Researchers need to gather relevant information from the grass-roots level; this strategy can help in developing an accurate picture of the present situation (Chettiar, 2015). Scientists must gather the opinions of citizens before concluding on the criminal situation in California.
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According to people, the reality is different. Most of those who have fallen victims to any criminal activities are extremely concerned about the situation. Further, the condition has been worsened by the fact that the reports being presented regarding the crime rates in the state are contradictory and oppose the actual situation on the ground. There is still much to worry about, according to many citizens of California. Therefore, there are numerous concerns and suggestions regarding what needs to be done in the nearest future (Wolfers, 2014). The opinions of the law enforcement agencies differ with those witnessed by common people. Business owners are worried about their premises. In the same regard, parents are concerned about individuals breaking into their homes, their children being attacked, or their property being stolen.
First of all, the issue of the people’s perception of the concept of crime needs to be changed as soon as possible. People in California are still worried that the rate of crime have not changed as much as it is reflected in various crime reports that have been presented to public (Wolfers, 2014). Whether the crimes have decreased or not is an issue that needs further analysis and investigation. There is a need to understand that there is a possibility that some criminal activities that do take place may not be reported at all; thus, they are not considered in the statistics (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). In preparing statistics on the crime rates in California, there is a need to develop a broader perspective on the situation since it would be helpful for providing accurate information about the situation as it is in sober fact (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). People at the grass roots need to be consulted since they are the ones who face the crime as it occurs. Some of them could report the crimes while others could decide not report them at all. The same fact indicates the presence of a differing opinion when it comes to the perception of the crime rates reduction.
The assertion that the crime rates have reduced when the same is not true is a reflection of the fact that people in the state are not satisfied with the present situation. Moreover, it further explains the differences when it comes to the actual criminal situation (Webster, 2014). Citizens seem to have a contrary opinion that creates the need to conduct further analysis of the situation regarding the crime rates in California. Moreover, it indicates that the public doubt the official statistics regarding the crime rates issue (Webster, 2014). However, it is crucial to understand why there are differences and inconsistencies when it comes to the state and public viewpoint on the situation. The information that could have been provided by the researched statistics could have been altered a bit in order to suit the situation. For the same reason, what have been depicted may not be the true reflection of what have been happening in California.
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Statistics demonstrates that there has been a decline in the crime rates in California. According to official data, in 2014, the rates decreased by one percent to reach forty-seven issues as compared to three hundred and ninety-three per one hundred thousand residents in the past (Petersilia, 2014). Further reports have shown that the decline was of a timely nature; it was indicated by the national statistics that was published in 2013 (Webster, 2014). Also, it was reported that in 2013, California’s crime rate in terms of violence decreased in a substantial manner with a rate of four hundred and two per one hundred thousand residents (Webster, 2014). However, despite the general statistics that have been shown, there are some inconsistencies in the classification of crimes that had been committed at the time. For example, in 2014, sixty-one percent of the crimes committed were violent crimes that included assaults, robberies, and rapes and one percent was the homicides (Webster, 2014). The statistics explains the nature of crimes that were committed at the time. However, the provided data indicate an overall decline in the rates of violent crimes (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). As compared to the recent decades, the statistics have shown an overall decrease in the rates of violent crimes that had been committed in the state of California (Webster, 2014). The data from 2010 also confirm the reduction in the offense levels at the time.
California experienced a further decline in the rates of crime related to the property. For example, in 2014, there was a decrease in the crime rate to two thousand four hundred and fifty-nine per one hundred thousand from a figure of two thousand five hundred and ninety-four per one hundred thousand that was recorded in 2013 (Wolfers, 2014). The statistics further indicated that there was an overall decline in the crime rates from the late 1990s to around 2011. The decline constituted sixty-three percent. A further breakdown of the reduction of the crime rates was categorized (Webster, Doob, & Zimring, 2006). Most crimes that were reported to have dropped included larceny-thefts; the number of auto thefts also declined, as well as the cases related to burglary did.
Despite the decrease in the crime rates in various regions of the state, there was no uniformity as other regions recorded a decrease at a faster and slower pace as compared to others. For example, the rates of property crime have tremendously decreased in the Sierra region and the South Coast areas of Ventura, Orange, and San Diego (Petersilia, 2014). Moreover, the decrease in the rates of crime was witnessed in violent activities. Some areas also experienced a drop in the crime rates of a greater percentage than other places did. It is an indication of the fact that despite the overall decrease in the crime rates, some parts of the state experiences a faster reduction than the others did. There were variations in the decline of the crime rates reported by different counties; nevertheless, in general, the state experienced a decrease in the criminal activities (Petersilia, 2014).
State Policies Put in Place in the 1990’s to Address Crime
The decline in the crime rates in California negates the need to conduct an analysis as to what the state may have done to achieve this decline. The first reason that has been presented to explain the rationale behind the decrease in the crime rate considers the changes in the criminal justice system (Petersilia, 2014). One of the reasons that have been associated with the decrease in the crime rates in the state regards the concept of incarceration. The state believed that if more criminals were arrested and other potential offenders were put behind bars, the chances of them committing the crime would reduce. California as a state took the necessary precautions and passed the needed laws to ensure that most of those who commit any offense were put behind bars (Petersilia, 2014). By such measures, it became possible to reduce the number of criminals who were likely to engage in crime. They were put away before they could commit any offense. In line, it became possible to reduce the overall rate, at which crimes were committed. It also provides an explanation for the decline in the crime rates.
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The other policy that proved to be helpful in the fight against crime regards the nature of policing. The systems that are used to manage crime are constructed in such a way that they make it difficult for the criminals to engage in any illegal activity (Petersilia, 2014). For example, the rate, at which surveillance is conducted, has made it difficult for the criminals to commit a crime. The state has installed numerous cameras in various parts of the city so that all activities and events are monitored in the real time. Most of those who may think of committing a crime usually refuse to do it because they may be seen by the law enforcement agencies and captured shortly. Moreover, it has been possible to reduce the overall crimes rate in California (Eck & Weisburd, 2015).
Furthermore, the state has introduced a program that aims to promote the very idea of the community involvement in the fight against criminal activities. For example, some policies that have been introduced serve to encourage the participation of the public in the fight against the crime. Through the enrollment of the public, it became possible to manage crime because common citizens are always on the lookout. If a crime is about to be committed within the sight of a law-abiding citizen, most probably, he or she will report the case to the relevant law enforcement agencies. Moreover, it became possible to prevent crimes before criminals commit them (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). The fact that the community cooperates with the law enforcement agencies serves a good ground for the prevention of crime before it takes place. Such a move has been particularly helpful since criminals are brought to light and arrested as soon as they commit a crime (Petersilia, 2014). In such a manner, it became possible to ensure that the illegal activities are brought under control. The state has been able to benefit from such policies since criminals are isolated before they actually commit a crime.
Costs and Results of the Policies, and Whether they Are Worth Being Implemented
The decision to increase the number of incarceration is associated with extra costs. It means that the state creates more space for imprisoned criminals. In the future, the arrested has to undergo a trial and the jury has to be convinced that the person has committed a crime and is to be incarcerated. To achieve the aim, it is mandatory to have an elaborate criminal justice system that will be able to deal with any crime cases. (Wolfers, 2014). The state has to employ many prosecutors who will work in the close cooperation with the police in order to ensure that all those who commit a crime are arrested and put behind bars. With no doubt, such measures prove the fact that the state has to invest in the criminal justice system. Moreover, it goes further than creating an efficient prosecution system. The jails themselves have to be expanded. This step is crucial; the state should ensure that all criminals who are arrested and put away have enough space where they will be accommodated upon getting sentenced (Wolfers, 2014). For the same reason, there is need to ensure that the state invests in creating more space for criminals at jails. Therefore, it is an indication that there is a need to make the number of criminals reduce. Moreover, the initiative should consider the cost that the state is ready to spend for it. It is worth to invest in such measures for as long as they can improve the safety of people.
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Finally, there is an issue of the policing strategy. The state asserts that it comes up with appropriate policies to create an environment conducive enough to deal with the crimes that take place in the state (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). The required costs include the acquisition of devices to monitor activities within the state easily and timely. Notably, there is the concept of increased surveillance. It is expensive to have each location of the state possess cameras that would help in monitoring the criminals (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). Such a measure would demand the state to purchase additional equipment including better buildings for the law enforcement agencies in order to help them in dealing with the criminal activities. The purchase of such equipment is costly for the state. However, despite the costs that are likely to be incurred by the state, it is better to implement this initiative and assure the public safety.
Finally, there is an idea of engaging the community in the prevention of crime campaign. This measure will include educating the public on the best ways to identify a criminal or predict a crime before it occurs and how to report the issue as soon as possible. Evidently, such a move has its cost since the public is to be educated (Eck & Weisburd, 2015). The training can cost the state a lot as it is a creation of a quality awareness program. However, the cost that the state would have to incur is worth it since it is supposed to contribute to the reduction of the crime rates in the state (Eck & Weisburd, 2015).
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