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NCJ Number: 150146 Find in a Library
Title: Policing the Ghetto Underclass: The Politics of Law and Law Enforcement
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:41  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1994)  Pages:177-194
Author(s): W J Chambliss
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 18
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Information gathered during more than 100 hours riding with members of the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police formed the basis of this discussion of law enforcement in United States cities and its impact on public attitudes toward crime and the lives of those most effective.
Abstract: Results revealed that the RDU organizes its crime control efforts around three distinct activities: the rip, or undercover drug purchases; vehicle stops; and serving warrants. The intensive surveillance of black neighborhoods and the pattern of surveillance of white neighborhoods has the general consequence of institutionalizing racism by defining crime and drug abuse as problems of young black men. Crime control policies contribute to the disruption of the family, the prevalence of single-parent families, and unemployment. Another result is the transfer of scarce resources from desperately needed social programs to criminal justice. Although the crime rate has not changed significantly in the last 20 years, the creation of a moral panic over crime has been brought about by a coalition of political, law enforcement, and media interests that accounts for the growth of the crime industry. Reversing the process will be more difficult than instituting it and will require political courage, shifts in emphasis in law enforcement, changes in media coverage, and research and dissemination of results by social scientists. Figures, tables, and 22 references
Main Term(s): Police-minority relations
Index Term(s): Crime control policies; Crime prevention planning; Racial discrimination
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