Is Racial Profiling Justified Criminology Essay

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Racial profiling is a practice used by police where they focus on a particular race for scrutiny and intervention. Example of racial profiling is when police stop black men in United States and scrutinize them for drug trafficking. It is an implicit policy; however, it is prescribed protocol in some agencies. It may occur when law enforcement inappropriately considers different races to decide on how to intervene in an enforcement capacity. In my paper I will try to develop a general evaluation of racial profiling as a public policy. My aim is to develop an analysis of racial profiling that explicitly addresses the full range of effects of racial profiling on society. In doing so, I will explicitly focus on ethical issues that arise when profiling occurs. I will do so without ignoring the efficacy of racial profiling with respect to law enforcement goals. However, I wish to place such factors in a context in which law enforcement objectives represent a subset of the desiderata for public policy. I do not claim to provide a direct way of trading off these desiderata. Instead, I will argue that the strength of available evidence is relevant to this trade-off; current arguments about profiling need to account explicitly for the absence of strong empirical evidence on many of the factors that come into play when assessing profiling. Racial profiling is necessary and justified to use as active law enforcement.

In my discussion, I will focus on different issues. First, I will focus on one form of racial profiling: highway traffic stops in which the objective of the stops is to identify drug carriers. As such, the pretexts for the stops have no intrinsic importance. Further, by focusing on this specific context, it is possible to discuss the state of evidence on the factors that are relevant to evaluating a profiling policy. Second, I assume that there are no errors in stops and searches in the sense that once someone is stopped, if he is innocent he is always let go whereas if he is guilty he is always arrested. Third, I ignore any issues of differential punishments by race; all criminals are assumed to have committed the same offense and receive the same punishment. Fourth, I do not question whether various drug laws are themselves just. These assumptions allow the discussion to focus on the main issues specific to profiling as a police strategy.

It produces individual benefits in its average reduction of crime rate. In the police department there is a police force that deals with police-community relations which devise creative approaches to manage low level disorder such as public consumption of alcohol rowdy youths and civil mediation such as resolving interpersonal controversies or documenting the facts surrounding automobile accidents. Racial profiling is aimed at minimizing crime, traffic violations, drug trafficking, perpetration of felonies and misdemeanors.

In curbing these, the police force requires some techniques and tactics. The first tactic is the police to respond immediately at the site of crime. Most of the time police are reluctant to crimes unless alerted by other police men. The reason of responding is however very crucial as it ascertain who has committed the crime, the gravity of the offence and to apprehend the person who has committed the crime. When the forces arrive after the perpetrators have already fled, they will engage in search of that person. The gravity of the search is based on the information forwarded to them by the witnesses. Mostly the information given is based on the criminal's physical characteristics, direction of exit and mode of flight. In their search, the police will stop all who match the descriptions given to see whether any in the group can be identified for questioning.

Mostly, hardworking police will position themselves where there is higher chances of crime or where the response to the reported crime by a complainant is first. These measures may include: spending more time in neighborhoods where level of crime is high or staying alert at certain times of the day. For an action to qualify to be a crime there must be enough evidence and fact. For the police to conduct investigation they rely so much on this evidence whether they were there at the time of crime or it was reported.

Another useful tactic in fight for criminals and crime is proactive apprehension of people who commit crimes where there is no complain from the civilians. In such cases police must use all facts from stated allegations by others. Some of these cases happen where the government is the only complainant, such as prostitution and all traffic infractions. Another case is where civilians have unlicensed firearms which according to the law is assumed that it is a prelude to robbery or deliberate assault. A police radio scanner, an armored vest, and lock-picking tools might be legal by themselves, however if all this are in possession of one person at once at night near a commercial strip, there is a strong indication of an impending burglary.

In addition, there are also some proactive apprehensions of criminals for whom the suitable complainant is still to be located. In a case where a driver of a stolen vehicle is apprehended even before the owner realizes that it is stolen, or arresting a burglar who intends to invade a building before the owner of the house gets home.

The third technique is deterrence by mere presence. Presence of police prevents criminals who are about to commit a crime from committing. This is because the specter of capture and incarceration overshadows the benefits of committing a crime. Deterrence which is a way of winning without fighting is the best since some criminals who have intentions of committing crime, shy away from their actions in the sense that they might confront with the policemen.

Due to the outlined measure, the police conjecture necessarily increases. Statements such as "I am looking for five black gentlemen in leather jackets..." are mostly used. However, police cannot rely too much on the evidence offered even though the citizens depend too much on them. It is therefore wise to use racial profiling and other proactive measures otherwise lack of these measures would l mean that police will make no arrest. Without this, the police will find themselves only encountering criminals either through luck encounters or after the state-driven crime has yielded a complainant-driven one, and this means that they will investigate only after an innocent person has been harmed and the trail of the perpetrator has started to cool.

While police protect and honor human rights, it is presumed that good police are the one that expose few citizens as possible to criminal activities which may result to loss of property or body harm. Due to this reason, it follows that in state of law enforcement, most crimes are deterred and others intercepted before they happen. However police cannot be everywhere and thus they should work on presumptions, predictions, intuition and interference. This will help them at the end where they require hard facts and evidence.


In a practical example a terrorist goes on a plane with explosives but they did not explode due to technical problems. His intentions were to bring down the entire flight and kill millions of people in a major city in US. This man to the Al Qaeda was a hero though he did not succeed because of technical problem. Following the evidence provided the man belonged to the Al Qaeda and he had attended a training camp for terrorists. This man should have been prevented from boarding the flight since he had bought a one way ticket and he was on the terrorist watch list. In the case of terrorism police should use all measures to prevent it from happening. Racial profiling in this case is the best form of prevention where any suspicious person is scrutinized and questioned. For us to protect our country, racial profiling should be used abundantly. In the above case, if it had been used because of his name, the man could have been scrutinized before buying one ticket. If proper procedures were followed, the airport security with the help of policemen could have discovered the explosives. Racial profiling in this case could have saved many innocent lives that could have died.

However, there are liberals in our country who would rather risk the security and safety of all Americans instead of offending minority groups. Some in the White house and Congress will not allow racial profiling to occur.

In another example, a car with five black who look really mean dives in a neighborhood of another man. These men are smoking weed and its smell lingers as they drive past. Unfortunately they saw his wife and daughter in the front yard, stopped the car, and made sexist remarks to him related to what they would like to do to his wife and little girl.  The man hurriedly moves his wife and daughter inside.  They looked him into his eyes with a menacing glare and asked if they could go into his house. The guy refused to let them in; did he act with racial bias?  Is this not racial profiling? 

The president, Congress and FBI together with all agencies who have a duty of protecting the nation should not in any way let the bad guys in the house. Since they have evidence of whom they are, more than 99% are Muslims while more than 94% have Muslims names and majority of them are of Middle East nations or African nations. Their intentions are well known is to destroy Americans. However some of the Americans are so much concerned over their rights and jeopardize the welfare of the whole nation.

In order to protect our nation, racial profiling is highly required. All Muslims, those with Muslim names and all those that meet the profile of the majority of terrorists must be scrutinized so as to provide better security for the whole nation. Even though not all Muslims are terrorists, it is very evident that all terrorists are Muslims and therefore we cannot take chances but act accordingly.

Liberals will talk of failed civil and human rights. The entire Muslim community will fuss about profiling and racism. However in order to protect the freedom of many racial profiling must be used.

War against terrorism is not about racism or judging a person by his color. Also it is not about judging a group because of the actions of a few men and women within it. But it is war against enemies who the government know how they look like, sound like and their names. The best thing to do now is to use this information to protect the entire nation without violating civil rights of any individual. If used properly profiling position will insure security and safety of the nation.

Black motorists who are pulled over by highway police argue that it's because of their race. They claim that they are harassed and searched but these allegations are mostly untrue since there are video cameras in patrol cars which were installed due to the controversy of racial profiling. With these cameras some of the charges claimed have been proved as lies. In addition, drug trafficking is a major threat of peace and development and judging by the number of arrests, small groups are highly represented among drug traffickers. Even though blacks are less than 14%in the population, they make up to 60% of arrests in America for drugs and illegal weapons. Against these results police arrests and scrutinizing appear appropriate.

Though minority is pulled over by police, study shows that they are a subject to disproportionate traffic stops. There is problem however which can show whether police pulls over, searches, or arrests too many blacks. The arising question is what comparison is made to know that the police are arresting more blacks. According to reports from anti-profiling activists, police pulls over for genuine traffic violations reason, and not just drivers. A benchmark should be done to show whether it is true or they just pull any driver for no reason. If in any case it turns out that minorities are subject to traffic violations or that they drive more recklessly, then it is true they should be a subject to more stops. In the case of age the blacks have more young immature drivers than whites do and this will lead to more arrests of blacks compared to whites. Also if we apply the police deployment patterns with racial driving patterns, then if more police are on the road when a certain group is driving as in case of weekends where blacks mostly drive then they will be a subject of more stops.


To conclude, one interpretation of this essay is that what is needed is better evidence on the effects of profiling strategies on individual decisions, which means either the construction of new data sets and/or econometric methods that allow a researcher to identify deterrence effects. Similarly, we have very little firm evidence on the effects of a stop and search on the well being of a motorist. Many of the arguments presented concern the plausibility of empirical claims that have been made by others or appear to be necessary to justify profiling and typically my conclusion has been that these claims are little more than assertions. For this reason, I argue that profiling is justified.