Wanted – Crime Fighters for Criminal Justice Degrees

Crime Fighters Wanted

According to The Disaster Center, the US population in 1960 was 179,323,175 and the population in 2007 had grown to 301,621,157. In 1960, there were 9,110 murders and in 2007 a staggering 16,929. Also, in 1960 107,840 robberies were reported, and in 2007 445,125 occurred. Likewise, 288,460 violent crimes were reported in 1960, while in 2007 1,408,337 occurred.

Here are a few more numbers to ponder: In 1999 a total of 11,634,378 crimes were reported in the US. That number has diminished each year and in 2007 was recorded at 11,251,828.

What do the numbers tell us?

The numbers tell us that in the four decades since 1960 the US population had doubled, but the number of crimes in the US has increased nearly four times in almost every single type of crime. However, beginning in 1999 something changed. While the population in the US continued to climb, we started to see a small decline in the number of reported crimes. What is it that suddenly started a slow downward trend in the US crime rate? Although the subject is admittedly arguable, there are several reasons behind this. Surely population density, income levels, educational resources, and state and local governmental financial resources do play a key role, we have to consider the nation in its entirety to get generalized numbers.

What are some reasons for the decreasing trend in crime rates?

Although the “Jury is still out” on this subject, there are many simple answers that may help to explain.

  • More sophisticated policing methods and technologies available. Such resources as the Internet, computer based dispatching, much more advanced communication instruments, and major technological advances such as: CODIS (Combined DNA Index System is nationwide), DNA analysis now can be found in just a fingerprint, ballistics advancement and comparisons, IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System is nationwide), advanced fiber and hair analysis, and much more. With these advances in crime fighting, it is nearly impossible to commit a crime without leaving some kind of evidence.
  • More governmental funding available to agencies for use in their crime fighting efforts. Simply put, as more financial resources become available, law enforcement agencies can afford to put more men on our streets as well as obtaining the latest technologically advanced equipment. The larger police presence helps to curb a great number of crimes from happening.
  • More advanced security systems. Certainly better home and business security has played a role in much of the decrease in theft and burglary crimes. Since many security systems offer automatic police and fire dispatching services, the notion that responders could arrive on location in just a matter of minutes has seemed to detour some of the crime from the past. Also, many locations are now outfitted with home security cameras. While in the past, many of these types of video systems could simply be avoided by disconnecting wired feeds or removing the recording media such as a disk or tape, nowadays, wireless and hard drive recording technologies have been implemented to avert this behavior. While many would state that those types of measures simply “Keep the honest people honest”, the majority would obviously take any decrease for any reason.
  • Tougher penalties for convicted offenders. History has taught us that many offenders do not take into consideration the affects and ramifications of their crimes. However, the vast majority of first time offenders now quickly learn that many of today’s penalties for violent crimes will result in long term incarceration and financial penalty. Although prison and jail overcrowding has certainly become an issue, many programs such as The Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing (VOI/TIS) Incentive Formula Grant Program by the Bureau of Justice Assistance has taken steps to alleviate some of this strain by offering new grants for building better and bigger facilities to house criminals. Other steps to improve this situation include home detention devices and monitoring programs.
  • Better elementary and high school education programs available to young people, as well as criminal justice programs for adults. Certainly the ability to educate children has had a dramatic impact. This impact can be seen in our numbers. As many programs began to establish a bit over 20 years ago, the young generation of that era is now in its adulthood. With a solid education behind them, they seem to have chosen paths in life leading to a more civilized culture and are participating in few crimes. One thing that does seem to be troubling many experts now though is that we are starting to see an increase in crime rates among the school aged children of today. There do not seem to be many answers as to why, especially since better education is available to them now than there was 20 years ago. One theory is that drugs are playing a key role in this effect. As more and more children begin to be involved in “hard core” drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, we see a rise in the numbers that are willing to commit crimes to obtain those substances. The battle to combat this can only be fought by decreasing the number of young kids that experiment with drugs.

Ok, so we see all the numbers and reasons for the declines, but how can we keep up our efforts?

That answer is easy. Go to school. A commonality between every major indicator in the decline of crime since 1960 is education. Police, judicial agencies, governmental programs, technological advancements, and the ability to provide a healthy adulthood for our children, all lead back to the educational assistance that our country began to provide four decades ago.

Law enforcement officers know much more now than they did about how crime takes place, and with criminal psychology in their training, they are now able to somewhat understand what drives some criminals to do their crimes. This information gives them a better ability in preventing such crimes before they occur. Lawyers, judges, law makers, and politicians at every level and branch of government now have key educational programs in place that teaches them how to deal with criminal acts and how to prevent and treat offenders that do those acts.

Perhaps one of the single biggest improvements in our nations decline in criminal activity is the availability of college education based programs. With governmental funding available to colleges to create such programs, as well as to help students with financial aspects of attending the same programs, more and more colleges now offer degrees in criminal justice and they are seeing a sharp increase in the number of students enrolling in those programs.

I want be part of winning the war on crime. Where do I get this training?

Education is now more accessible than ever before. Students are no longer required to dedicate 8 hours a day to school, thus preventing them from being involved in a family life or work schedule. Since a great many colleges now offer degrees in criminal justice on the Internet, students can sit in the comfort of their own home and obtain their degree. Colleges and Universities have put together programs that suit virtually every living style, and students of all ages now have options that those four decades ago did not.

40 years ago our parents and grandparents started a trend in fighting crime in the USA. Let’s finish what they started.


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