CRIMINOLOGY

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Theworld continues to experience massive security threats, which haveplagued the state security agencies. Terrorism is an example ofdestructive engagements that is taking place in the world today. Asthe world becomes a global village so are the rates of crime. Otherhigh-level criminal activities include drug trafficking, humantrafficking, and high-level robberies. The effects are high in theglobal economy, security, and health, among others. Primarily, thegovernments have the responsibility of providing security to itscitizens. Through the law enforcement agencies, the states arerequired to deploy resources and strategies aimed at preventing andcontrolling crimes. Governments in many parts of the world are facinglimitation in terms of resources and labor force within the securityagencies. As such, authorities engage the services of volunteers andcommunities to boost and supplement the crime prevention and controlstrategies. The purpose of the paper is to examine the problems thatcan arise as a consequence of transferring responsibility for crimeprevention and control to communities and the voluntary sector.

Overtime, traditional policing has changed with increased involvement ofcommunities and volunteer sector in crime prevention. The intentionof the government is to supplement and boost the war againstinsecurity and crimes. Authorities started using community policingfollowing failure by the traditional policing approaches to containcrimes. It is an appreciated move to involve both the public andprivate sectors in the control and prevention of crimes. Nonetheless, the approach has encountered various challenges such aslack of accountability, violence, and poor coordination. The renewalof private actors and communities in security functions is a riskyaffair that requires proper coordination. At times, it is likely tosignify a social breakdown or state failure. Appropriate measuresbacked by legislation need to be implemented when considering theinvolvement of communities and volunteers in policing and securityfunctions.

Discussion

Securityagencies are sanctioned by their nations to enforce the law, protectbelongings and ensure the safety of all citizens irrespective of age,class and nationality (Cuéllar,2013, p. 17).Usually, their duties include the rightful use of force to quellunruly conditions in any part of a country. Law enforcement officersinclude individuals such as police officers, special agents,probation personnel, corrections officers, immigration officers andinvestigators among others. The policing function involves manyactivities such as peacekeeping, crime prevention, investigation,maintenance of law and order in a country. All these are meant tokeep the society safe, secure and hospitable for ease in theperformance of daily activities (Prenzler, 2012, p. 6).

Currently,the societies are faced with a myriad of challenges regardinginfighting, conflicts, criminal activities and politicaluncertainties among others. Their capacity to handle such tasksrequire elaborate training and capacity building in areas such asfield assignments, intelligence gathering, and crime prevention. Overtime, authorities have found it necessary to involve non-state actorssuch as volunteers and community in policing functions. Non-stateactors are crucial to support the policing efforts by the recognizedstate agencies such military and police service (Lab &amp Das, 2003,P. 30). Usage of volunteers and community in crime prevention haslimitation sand challenges. Some criminals rely on irresponsiblecitizens to fault schemes on the security assessment. Drug peddlersand diamond smugglers, for instance, are known people who get safehiding places upon engagement of the non-state actors in lawenforcement. Some of the reported and investigated cases end with noconviction of suspected individuals due to poor investigations (Boon,Huq, &amp Lovelace, 2011, P. 9).

Insome areas, volunteers and community in crime prevention haveovershadowed the differentiation between the public and privateactors in security functions. By gaining entry in law enforcement,community and volunteers jeopardize the effectiveness of governmentefforts in crime control. In fact, the approach opens room formanipulation by the criminals. This is driven by the fact that thereare no appropriate accreditation criteria for the volunteers andcommunity in crime prevention. Appropriate policies and laws shouldguide security and policing functions. It is also notable that thevolunteers and community are not given resources such as uniforms andfirearms to help in crime prevention. As such, these individualsremain defenseless when crimes occur. Even in instances where theyare given resources, accountability remains a challenge. Withoutaccountability, efforts to contain crimes are jeopardized (Prenzler,2012, P. 46).

Moreover,some volunteers and community engage in the crime prevention servicesfor personal gain with little regard to the nature of theirresponsibilities. Others use their positions to create fear among thelocals. In most societies, there are no explicit laws to enhanceaccountability and regulation on the participation of volunteers andcommunity in crime prevention. Avant (2006) examines that the privateactors have limited control measures, which jeopardizes theaccountability obligations. Lack of accountability makes itimpossible to supervise the activities of volunteers and communityengaging in policing activities. Devoid of accountability andadequate oversight, the private actors have only augmented the crimesthat the governments intend to eradicate. Engaging private actors incrime prevention opens room for corruption. Since the majority of theparticipants do not get monetary or material gain, they use theopportunity to make through blackmailing the criminals. As such,arrested individuals are released after paying bribes. Community andvolunteers cannot provide long-term solutions to crime in thesociety. At times, differences among the volunteers and communityplay out leading to outbreaks of violence hence endangering thecreation of appropriate control measures.

Supervisionis also difficult hence compromising the quality of service provisionand adoption of the best standards in crime prevention. Ignoring therelation of the various groups is a catalyst for inefficiency inorganizational structure and inability to handle diverse challenges.This results in weak decision-making processes and consensus whenthere was a crisis. Incompetence and mistrust between the officersand the volunteers can jeopardize the operations. Further, weakrelationships jeopardized the realization of policing goals. As such,it is likely that the integrity and identity of the law officers willbe lost. According to Avant (2006), security privatization is achallenge to the sovereignty of a nation since most of the criticalfunctions are left under the care of non-state actors. Illegitimateactors have been a catalyst for conflicts and criminal activities inmany societies. Deliberate efforts to get a lasting solution willrequire policies and regulations.

Further,community and volunteers surpass the power arrangements in thesociety hence catalysing the security risks. Control of security andpolicing functions is crucial to enhance the long-term stability.Community and volunteers involved in crime prevention functions donot have the appropriate skills and training about policing. As such,they are likely to engage in wrong actions that do not help in crimecontrol. Lack of skills means that they cannot participate in lawenforcement appropriately. In policing, law enforcers work alongsideother bodies such as judiciary to help in convicting the criminals(Sadd &amp Grinc, 1996, P. 22). Since the community and volunteerslack appropriate training on investigations, they cannot effectivelyhelp in convicting the criminals (Miller,Hess &amp Orthmann, 2011, p. 39).Proper investigations are required to sustain a case within a courtof law. Further, some of their actions require approval from trainedpolice officers. On most instances, non-state actors undergo theiractivities without appropriate understanding of the mechanisms andworkings of the security officers. In some cases, non-state actorsare also contributors to insecurity. This arises due ‘self-policing’where only a society generates their programmes on how to undertaketheir functions. Whereas their security operations are carried out incoordination with the state agencies, there is no elaborate legalapparatus to guide their operations. At times, volunteers andcommunity fail to provide adequate information to the law enforcershence making their responsibilities futile. Fear to share informationalso arises since most of the participants are posted within theirhome area. Such scenarios have hindered sharing of securityinformation. Non-state actors lack adequate mechanisms and resourcesto help in intelligence gathering and reporting. According to Purpura(2011), the prevalence of the organized crimes in many places aroundthe world has been linked to the high involvement of the untrainedpersonnel. Some of the personnel engage in high-level robberies andother criminal activities. Volunteers are also known for negligenceand absconding of duties. The challenge arises owing to the fact thatthey are not remunerated hence they have other duties.

Today’senemies are inherently dynamic, very unpredictable, networked,constantly evolving and diverse. There are a number of securityapparatus established in all countries, which jeopardize thecoordination of security operations. Volunteers and communityengaging in crimes control face logistical challenges (Palmiotto&amp Unnithan, 2011, p. 70).Case in point, community policing in many parts of the world havebeen experiencing logistical challenges due to weak and uncoordinatedstructures. Poor coordination arises due to systemic failures andmanagement deficit among the volunteering personnel. An outsidesource may also lack an understanding of the police itself. Somecriminality must be seen and experienced in order to be understood(Hughes, 1998, p.72).

Itis challenging to maintain privacy within the security circles whencommunity and volunteers are involved. At times, officers maywillingly or unwillingly pass sensitive information to the volunteers(Bullock, 2014, p. 37). The move is likely to jeopardize security andpolicing functions. In some instances, volunteers and communities areinvolved major operations yet they are not involved in making thecrucial decisions. This undermines the realization of positiveoutcomes, particularly on crime prevention and control. Communitypolicing has dire consequences because of lack of cooperation fromthe police such as: more challenges in gathering and collectinginformation and intelligence, both from an informant and ordinarypeople, especially, when there is a lack of trust. As such, usage ofvolunteers and community should be conducted in a way that will notjeopardize the primary obligation of the state authorities(Christians, 2010, p. 12).

Nonetheless,I believe that the involvement of communities and volunteers isessential to crime prevention and control. Authorities need togenerate the guidelines and level of engagement for the non-stateactors. It is advisable that the authorities use volunteers andcommunity on issues such as awareness, crime, and intelligencereporting. Alliances will be formed to boost their security apparatuswith each undertaking to protect the other, hence creating mutualprotection plans. The government should not allow the citizens toprovide security functions or undertake crime prevention initiativesthat are not properly coordinated. In fact, the missions on crimeprevention and control require the services of trained and equippedpersonnel (Arrington, 2007, p. 19).

Inthe US, for instance, volunteers have helped in supplementing theagencies hence easing the workload of the officers. It is alsoessential to understand that countries are facing economic challengesthus the participation of volunteers and communities boost thepolicing functions. The move also helps in equipping the communityand volunteers with relevant skills that are beneficial to theirlife. Besides, the participation of volunteers helps the policeofficers to concentrate on their primary functions or where they areneeded most. The support allows the officers to engage in additionalservices that are essential and beneficial to the country. Increasedhomeland security and tough economic times have necessitated for theparticipation of volunteers in crime prevention functions (Bartels,2014, p. 15).

Lackof sufficient data on security intelligence about illegal activitiesgives the criminals a haven to continue with their heinous acts.Security threats require the devotion of extra resources to thephysical security. Criminals can really attack anything, anytime andanywhere as we lack proper coordination, which is necessary toprotect everything, at any place and at any time (Schneider,2006, p. 138).A state’s security is crucial to enhance the stability andachievement of a country’s agenda. The stability of a country isdependent on the social and political establishment that encouragescollaborative governance while discouraging unstable situationsbrought by insecurity. With such an understanding, it is importantfor the government agencies to implement the right legislations thatsafeguard the interests of a state. Strengthening the humancompetence of the officers is imperative for peace, security anddevelopment. A substantial review of the matter demands a clearunderstanding the elements and dynamics that aid in the adoption ofthe right approaches. Overall, caution must be taken when engagingvolunteers and community in crime prevention and control. I believethat both state and non-state actors must join hands in ensuring thatcrimes are contained to the lowest levels (Palmiotto, 1999, p. 82).

Conclusion

Highreliance on volunteers and community in crime prevention is a riskyaffair if it not properly implemented and checked. With high-levelcriminal activities and insecurity, it is only proper for a state touphold the legitimacy of addressing the security functions. Crimeprevention needs to start with the government tackling the primarysocial, political and economic challenges. Further, it is appropriateto create harmonized enforcement agencies and institutions to help inthe management of security functions including crime prevention.Nonetheless, it is crucial for the state agencies to supplement thesecurity surveillance by employing the services of the community andvolunteers. The contracts with the non-state actors should involveminor functions that have limited implications such awarenesscampaigns. Appropriate laws and regulations are crucial to guaranteeharmonized policies and improve accountability. Non-state actorscannot be regarded as legitimate actors in the contemporary securityand policing functions.

Listof References

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BARTELS,E. C. (2014). Volunteerpolice in the United States: programs, challenges, and legal aspects.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02365-6.

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CHRISTIANS,E. (2010). Challengesof community policing in service delivery to the hearing-impairedcommunity: a case of Worcester SAPS.

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LAB,S. P., &amp DAS, D. K. (2003). Internationalperspectives on community policing and crime prevention.Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall.

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PALMIOTTO, M., &amp UNNITHAN, N.P. (2011). Policing &ampsociety: a global approach.Clifton Park, NY, Delmar Cengage Learning.

PRENZLER,T. (2012). Policingand security in practice challenges and achievements.New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

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SADD,S., &amp GRINC, R. M. (1996). Implementationchallenges in community policing: Innovative Neighborhood-OrientedPolicing in eight cities.[Washington, D.C.], U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of JusticePrograms, National Institute of Justice.

SCHNEIDER, S. (2006). Refocusingcrime prevention: collective action and the quest for community.Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

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