66. Americans rank crime among the nations greatest problems. Crime can touch people of all lifestyles, race, and ethnicity. Public polls further illustrate that people in America remain fearful of crime without realizing that serious crime has declined since the record-setting years of the early 1980's.
However, many people still believe that crime rates are rising in United States. The news media and politicians help to keep the public's attention focused on crime. This attention also keeps people fearful of crime in America. FBI data further supports that there is no national crime wave to fear. Most people will not experience crime directly but instead learn about it indirectly. Researchers believe that conversations with friends may help to magnify the amount of local violence.
Fear of crime forces many Americans to "stay of the streets" and away from dangerous areas. 67. Politicians, responding to the nations fear of crime, have attempted to outdo each other in being "tougher of crime." This attention toward our nations fear of crime has resulted in the addition of police officers, the building of more prisons, extending the death penalty to cover sixty federal offenses, and mandating longer sentences. The homicide rate in the United States was more than twice the homicide rate in Canada and many times that in other countries. However, the victimization rates for assault and robbery were lower for Americans than for Canadians, Australians, and Spaniards.
Outbreaks of violence have occurred throughout history starting with the post-Civil War era. This was eventually followed by organized crime and an increase in the murder rate throughout the 1930's. During the 1950's crime rates decreased only to increase once again in the 1980's. Today crime rates are down whether Americans choose to accept this or not. Murder rates are well below the record setting 1930's and violent crime has decreased 33 % since 1993.
Chapter 267. Doing justice, controlling crime, and preventing crime are the three goals of Criminal Justice. Doing justice is the basis for the rules, procedures, and institutions of the criminal justice system. Criminal justice agencies, supported by the public, are responsible for successfully doing justice. The criminal justice system is designed to control crime by arresting, prosecuting, convicting, and punishing those people who disobey the law. The goal of crime control is rigorously being pursued by police officers, patrol cars, lawyers who speak for a judge, and probation officers who visit clients.
Crime prevention depends upon the actions of criminal justice officials and citizens. Citizens are unable to enforce the law, but they can take simple steps that are often necessary to protect themselves and their property. 68. Criminal justice is based on the concept of federalism in which power is divided between a central (national) government and regional (state) governments. The Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI is a national law enforcement agency. Federal criminal cases are tried in the U.
S. federal courts and federal prisons can be found throughout the nation. However, most criminal justice activity takes place at the state level. A variety of laws have been enacted by Congress and enforced by the FBI. These include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U. S.
Secret Service, and numerous other federal agencies. Federal involvement in the criminal justice system is slowly expanding. Congress has passed laws that allow the FBI to investigate situations in which local police forces will be ineffective. The FBI is also capable of pursuing criminal investigations across state borders.