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NCJ Number: 51826 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: WAR ON CRIME IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 1955-1975
Author(s): J V WILSON
Corporate Author: American University
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 106
Sponsoring Agency: American University
Washington, DC 20016
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
US Dept of Justice

US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 75-NI-99-0042
Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents, GPO
Washington, DC 20402
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE RESPONSE OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO ACTUAL AND PERCEIVED CRIME IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DURING THE PERIOD 1955 TO 1975 IS DESCRIBED AND APPRAISED.
Abstract: THE RESULT IS A CASE STUDY OF AN AMERICAN CITY WHICH SUFFERED EARLIEST AND LONGEST FROM A REPUTATION FOR HIGH CRIME AND FEAR OF CRIME. THE PUBLIC PERCEPTION AND POLITICAL PROCESSES WHICH LED TO THAT REPUTATION ARE EXAMINED, ALONG WITH THE VARIETY OF GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSES TO THE PROBLEM. SUCH RESPONSES AS INCREASED NUMBERS OF POLICE, HOLDING COMMANDERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR CRIME, COURT REORGANIZATION, NARCOTICS TREATMENT, AND INCREASED INCARCERATION OF OFFENDERS ARE DESCRIBED AS HAVING CONTRIBUTED TO A RELATIVELY STABLE TREND OF REPORTED CRIME DURING THE LAST 5 YEARS OF THE STUDY PERIOD. EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE RESPONSES ARE UNDERSCORED, AS ARE CHANGES IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, COURTS, AND CORRECTIONS. A NUMBER OF ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT CRIME TRENDS, CRIME REPORTING, AND PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS WERE CONFIRMED, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING: (1) THE UPWARD TREND OF REPORTED CRIME IN THE LATE 1950'S AND EARLY 1960'S WAS AFFECTED BY POLICE REPORTING PROCEDURES; (2) THE CITY'S CRIME REPORTING SYSTEM, DESPITE ITS DEFICIENCIES, WAS AS ACCURATE AS THAT OF MOST OTHER LARGE CITIES; AND (3) THE PUBLIC WAS LEAD TO OVERESTIMATE THE THREAT OF CRIME IN WASHINGTON BY STATEMENTS OF POLICE OFFICIALS AND POLITICAL LEADERS. OTHER HYPOTHESES ABOUT POLICE PERFORMANCE AND LOBBYING FOR LEGISLATIVE CHANGES WERE NOT UPHELD, INCLUDING ASSUMPTIONS THAT POLICE LEADERS OVEREMPHASIZED HINDRANCES TO CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND THAT POLICE DEMONSTRATED A NEGATIVE OUTLOOK TOWARDS COMBATING CRIME. IT IS CLEAR FROM STUDIES THAT TRIAL COURT ADMINISTRATION DETERIORATED BADLY DURING THE MIDDLE 1960'S UNDER PRESSURE OF GROWING CASELOADS, ADDED REQUIREMENTS FOR TRIAL PROCEDURES, AND MANIPULATION OF COURT SCHEDULING PROCESSES BY DEFENSE ATTORNEYS. ADDITIONALLY, A SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN REPORTED CRIME AND THE PREVALENCE OF HEROIN USE WAS FOUND, AS WAS AN APPARENT NEGATIVE CORRELATION BETWEEN TRENDS OF INMATE POPULATIONS AND REPORTED SERIOUS CRIMES. WHILE AVAILABLE RECORDS INDICATE THAT THE BAIL REFORM ACT OF 1966 CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROBLEMS IN THE CITY, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM WAS NOT SIGNIFICANTLY HAMPERED BY A LACK OF RESOURCES. IT WAS ALSO FOUND THAT DESPITE REPEATED EFFORTS FROM LEGISLATORS, EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIALS, AND STUDY COMMISSIONS, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN THE DISTRICT CONTINUES TO SUFFER FROM THE LACK OF TIMELY, COMPREHENSIVE DATA ON CRIMINAL OFFENDERS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE OPERATIONS. CITY GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONAL AND BUDGETARY INFORMATION ARE APPENDED. GRAPHIC AND TABULAR DATA ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Bail/Financial Release; Crime patterns; Crime Rate; District of Columbia; Fear of crime; Legislation; Perception; Police effectiveness; Reactions to crime; Reform
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51826

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