POLICE BEHAVIOR: A STUDY OF STRUCTURE, ANOMIE AND PATTERNED EVASION (CRIME, THEORY)

JOSEPH FRANCIS RYAN, Fordham University

Abstract

The proposition presented in this dissertation questions the role of the police in modern American society, arguing that as presently organized and functioning, the police are either directly or indirectly contributing to crime by their behavior.^ Inherent in the above proposition is the argument that the present theories of crime causation are incomplete in that the variable of police behavior, taken within the context of a multi-dimensional theory, had not been adequately addressed. This variable had been previously addressed in a piecemeal fashion according to singular topics such as discretion, cynicism, brutality, etcetera.^ This dissertation has combined these topics into the single variable of police behavior. This variable was shown to have three key aspects: police administration/management, the informal norms of the police, and illegal behavior by the police. These three aspects of police behavior, as presently construed, contribute to crime either independently or as a whole. The administrative aspect was shown to include the prerogative to use discretion in directing its members to address or ignore selected issues or offenses.^ The informal norms aspect contributes to crime by permitting the police to selectively enforce the law or to respond to calls for service based on individual temperaments. The decision to make an arrest based in some instances on an issue of whether an officer wishes to accrue overtime is just one example. This aspect of police behavior is especially pertinent in view of the sixty percent non-committed patrol time and by the inability to provide adequate supervision.^ The last aspect of police behavior, their involvement in illegal activities, is the most obvious example of how the police contribute to crime.^ In summary, when the police make themselves "differentially available" to whomever they choose, whether it is to enforce a law or to permit the offense to occur with impunity, then the police are directly or indirectly affecting the volume and rate of crime. In addition, within the context of a multi-dimensional theory of crime causation, the base data of other studies on crime will be affected by this indiscriminate enforcement of the law, that is, the selection of the subjects for these studies. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

JOSEPH FRANCIS RYAN, "POLICE BEHAVIOR: A STUDY OF STRUCTURE, ANOMIE AND PATTERNED EVASION (CRIME, THEORY)" (January 1, 1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8515896.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8515896

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