This paper is a response to a low income community that has been run down by criminal elements who are not satisfied only at taking advantage of the situation. They misuse the infrastructure and natural surroundings, to lay waste private properties. They are also breeding crime at every street corner and creating nuisance to legitimate business establishments. The task at hand is to use the SARA model and come up with a comprehensive plan to counter this massive overrun by criminal elements (Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, 2015).
Scanning: Identifying problem areas
The priority issues revolve around crimes involving firearms. The thick overgrowth provides amnesty to the weapons themselves and the surrounding area behind the housing complex provides a perfect escape route for criminal elements. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to pursue suspects or make the case stick in court for lack of evidence. In addition, destruction of civic property including streetlights add to the hardship of the inhabitants. The peddling of drugs and the operation of prostitution make the neighborhood extremely volatile and unsafe for young children. Moreover, the ambience of the neighborhood stands destroyed at the hands of graffiti artists, vandals, and vagabonds. The spate of crime is conducted due to the invulnerability exhibited by criminals who use firearms and the T-Shaped alley behind the drug store. The priority of actions should start from the complex and its surroundings. The next item on the list is the T-Shaped alley and finally the interlaying streets (Palmiotto, 2011).
Analyzing: Civic infrastructure
The fractured civic infrastructure exposes two possibilities. The first possibility is that this neighborhood has been forgotten by municipal agencies that are responsible for this particular community. The other possibility is that there are no legitimate options for this community to increase their livelihood and they turn to a life of crime invariably. The data that has to be collected should range from the dropout rates of the local school district. Incidentally most of the school dropouts end up on the streets starting their criminal history sheets. The other data should be procured from the parole board on how many career criminals have taken residence in this neighborhood. Their numbers and their crimes will yield information on the connection (Palmiotto, 2011). The final critical information is from the local precinct; the data of all small time criminals from this neighborhood. These criminals often form the ideal network of intelligence gathering mechanisms.
Response: Community Policing
The primary response to stem the crime wave in this neighborhood is to starve the workforce. This will be achieved in coordination with the local school district. The community police personnel will undertake seminars and workshops in the adjoining public schools on the downside of dropping out of school. The next aspect of the neighborhood that requires attention is to cleanse the population of its criminal overlords; career criminals. This move should be coordinated with the Department of Corrections and the respective parole officers. The returning of parole violators will minimize the scope of expanding and escalating criminal activity within the community (Palmiotto, 2011).
The overgrowth surrounding the housing complex should be leveled completely and the vacant space behind developed into a youth center for sports. This effectively removes the neighborhood’s effective hideout and increase the probability of arrests. Since federal charges that involve firearms are usually stiff, it wouldn’t hurt to run a few operations alongside the ATF and the DEA (Palmiotto, 2011). Increasing the lighting by installing new streetlights and the placement of motorcycle and cruiser patrols at vantage points especially those covering the T-Shaped alley will prove to be a deterrent. It would also be a good idea to install a few mobile toilets around the neighborhood. Special patrols should be placed near the drug store and the payphones with back up reserve units that will respond to any 911 call from the neighborhood in a very limited space of time. Finally, the local police and government agencies should encourage private sector industries to adopt sections of the neighborhood to increase the likelihood of procuring legitimate jobs. This will also influence the population in this neighborhood to abstain from crime.
The measures that were taken have cleansed the streets of the gang leaders and other criminal bosses. The leaderless legions were provided with legitimate options to earn their livelihood and they also faced an increased threat of being arrested. The leveling of the thick overgrowth essentially eliminated the chance of escaping surprise raids by local police with other federal agencies. The excitement of shooting at streetlights has been neutralized by police arriving at the scene with no real escape routes. There are no dark spots or safe alleys to hide. The police have also increased their presence significantly and are randomly patrolling different sections of the neighborhood. With reduced predictability, it is difficult to plan any illegal activity. The existing criminal elements are dwindling with the entry of new industries that are open to employ anyone with a high schools diploma (Palmiotto, 2011).
This has essentially increased the number of dropouts returning to school to graduate. The neighborhood is also fast being recognized as a police hot spot. This has reduced the influx of customers who once sustained the drug and prostitution rings. The police are always present near the payphones and almost on all entrances to the T-Shaped alley. Moreover, there are no new recruits with students refusing to dropout for a quick buck. They now realize that a prison-laced criminal career is much more complicated than what they had thought of earlier. They also are aware of the Youth Crime Bill that tries juveniles as adults for violent crimes especially those committed with firearms. Crime has lost its novelty in this neighborhood and it will never rear its ugly head.
Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (2015). The SARA Model. Retrieved from: http://www.popcenter.org/about/?p=sara.
Palmiotto, Michael J. (2011). Community Policing: A Police-Citizen Partnership. Routledge. New York: NY. Pp. 179 – 260.