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NCJ Number: 155889 Find in a Library
Title: Crisis of Public Order
Journal: Atlantic Monthly  Volume:276  Issue:1  Dated:(July 1995)  Pages:39-54
Author(s): A. Walinsky
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 16
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines trends in and causes of violence that is contributing to a crisis of public order in America, followed by a recommended strategy to counter it.
Abstract: FBI statistics show that at least 48 percent of city homicides are murders committed by strangers to the victims; only 12 percent of city homicides result in arrest, however. When all violent crimes are considered together, 58 percent of white victims and 54 percent of African-American victims report that their assailant was a stranger. Citizens of all races who are fearful of random violence have good reason for their concern. In 1990, two-thirds of African-American children were born to single mothers, many of them teenagers. Only one-third of African- American children lived with both parents, even in the first 3 years of their lives. Social disorder has caused the sudden collapse of family institutions and social bonds that had survived three centuries of slavery and oppression. The children born in the midst of this breakdown of socializing institutions have tended to commit crimes, especially violent crimes, out of all proportion to their numbers. Of all juveniles confined for violent offenses, less than 30 percent grew up with both parents. Also, those who manifest violent behavior have access to guns, which magnifies the injuries and number of deaths caused by violent individuals. Instead of addressing this crisis of public order, we have tended to run from it, abandoning the residents of our cities to anarchy and death. The first step that should be taken is to increase the number of police officers available to protect citizens. Governments at all levels must exert the will to spend money to protect citizens according to the threat that confronts them. A comprehensive strategy should also include welfare reform, the minimization of illegitimacy, reform of public education, the strengthening of employment opportunities, and an end to racism.
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Crime Statistics; Homicide; Homicide trends; Police effectiveness; Police personnel; Social conditions; Violence causes
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