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Policing programs to reduce armed robberies by the homeless

Newly appointed Police Chief Alexandra Delatorre of the Anytown Police Department (APD) has been attending several town and city council meetings whereby she has heard numerous complaints about the increase in armed robberies being committed by the local transients (Homeless people) in and near the Anytown Gallery Shopping Mall. Chief Delatorre checked with the crime analysis unit of the department to obtain information on the crime statistics for robberies in the area of the shopping mall. The crime analysis unit determined that there was 75% increase in the number of robberies between 2009 and 2011. The chief attended a meeting with the shopping mall executives and learned that there had been a steady increase in the number of businesses leaving the mall, which served as major sources for employment and revenue for the city.

One week ago, Chief Delatorre drove to the shopping mall one evening at 9:30 p.m., before the mall was about to close, and discovered that several sections of the subterranean multilevel parking lot had poor lighting and no security gate that secured the parking area, and the guard shack was in an obscure portion of the first level and appeared to not have been used for quite some time. She also found what appeared to be small "camps" of blankets, trash, old and dirty clothes, and metal shopping carts that belonged to different local grocery stores in the far corners of the parking lot on the lower two levels. There was also a very strong odor of urine in the area of the "camps."

Chief Delatorre has convened you and your team to make recommendations on addressing the problem of the robberies at the shopping mall. She wants to implement a program using the community-oriented policing (COP) philosophy. She has several specific areas that need to be considered for the COP program to reduce or even eliminate the robberies at the shopping mall. She would like to give the program a name. You are to compose a written memo that addresses the following:

- What social forces exist within the above assignment scenario? Describe and explain.
- How should the department prepare for the program, and who should be involved? Explain.
- What types of social or special interest groups should be included? Why are they important to this program? How
might they affect the final product?
- Gathering information
- What information (Data, facts, statistics, etc.) would need to be gathered to start the program design? Explain.
- Consider at least race, age, gender, social class, and public opinion in your response.

Organizational review
- How will this COP program impact the daily operations of the APD? Explain.
- How will the program affect the organizational culture of the department? Explain.

The community
- How will the community members be involved? Explain.
- How will the program extend to members of a multicultural community?
- Consider religion, ethnicity, customs, etc.
- How will media relations be considered with regard to the program? Explain.
- How might the activities and influence of the media affect the success of the program? Explain.

- When should the program begin?
- Who will be involved?
- What special activities would need to be in place to implement the COP program?

Preliminary evaluation
- What initial monitoring and evaluation would need to take place after the implementation?
- Evaluation and monitoring
- What feedback should be obtained, and from whom? Explain.
- How should the program be assessed for continued effectiveness?

In a time of economic decline, how would you address poverty-stricken populations in your COP program? Explain.

What challenges exist with regard to this population, and how might it impact your program? Explain.

Considering the possibility of a terrorist attack, how would you address the fear instilled in the general population? Explain.

Solution Preview

What social forces exist within the above assignment scenario? Describe and explain.

The social forces that are evident within this scenario are poverty, mental illness, and substance abuse. The homeless in this scenario who have camped out in this enclave are destitute and most likely mentally ill as a large percentage of homeless people in America are mentally ill. In addition, they are most probably substance abusers who are committing these crimes to obtain drugs. Society's lack of ability to address mental illness in this country is rampant.

Mentally ill individuals often live on the fringes of society and are dependent upon crime to survive or the use of panhandling. These efforts at obtaining their drug fixes can decimate businesses where they matriculate and endanger the safety of the public. Most importantly, by society refusing to provide treatment for mentally ill addicts, they are unable to receive the help they need to get out of the spiral that is evident within American society. Often, these individuals are arrested and a large percentage of mentally ill also are represented within jails and prisons.

Incarceration doesn't provide any treatment for these offenders either, but only serves as a temporary holdover where they are able to obtain the same drugs that were available on the streets while incarcerated. Therefore, the cycle of mental illness, drug abuse, and crime is continued without any approach toward the underlying problem by the public or society.


How should the department prepare for the program, and who should be involved? Explain.

To prepare for this program the department has to involve the community through community partnerships. Community partnerships are based upon trust between the community and businesses within the community and the police. The department must develop outreach programs toward the community to establish GIS systems, crime mapping, data collection and analysis to develop a coordinated approach toward the problem.

Community partnerships are imperative because those businesses most affected by the homeless criminals will be the most important entities within the scenario. The businesses will serve as the eyes and ears by reporting any suspicious activity and suspicious individuals to police directly upon witnessing these occurrences. It's necessary for the police to provide training and involve the community ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines policing programs to reduce armed robberies by the homeless.