I believe the largest impact on policing has been made by the simple invention of the two way radio which has in turn been expanded upon with cell phone and mobile internet capabilities. I had read this in textbooks concerning the evolution of policing, but reading this article certainly helped to confirm it. The advent of the car and of two-way wireless communications systems brought about what it called an “incident-driven” policing strategy that relied on random patrol and rapid response in radio-equipped patrol cars to prevent crime.
However, research conducted in the latter part of the century on the impact of this strategy found it to be too costly in terms of the actual number of officers and vehicles that an agency would have to deploy to have a meaningful impact. Research also found that adopting this strategy contributed to the social distancing of the police from the community, with its consequent negative effect on an agency’s ability to not only prevent and detect crime but also on its ability to enforce the law and to maintain order.
While the ability to communicate instantly over long distances is certainly a boon when it comes to coordinating efforts to detain criminals on the run, it has damaged the relationship the police have with the public. Crime typically happens in such a small window it is often rare that a police officer arrives in time to prevent its commission or at the very least its escalation. Not only that, the addition of the accessibility of the internet can make it painfully obvious the difference of the level of effort in some communities as opposed to others.
Either way, it seems to be losing battles for law enforcement as budgets are cut yet more is asked of them while at the same time embellishment of negative incidents makes it more difficult for them to perform their duties in an increasingly more sensitive public environment. Being that funding is based on the surrounding areas and their ability to generate taxes, it seems we are on an inevitable course that will see justice served only to those with the means to fund its pursuit.
Courtney from Study Moose
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