United States Border Patrol Community Matters Criminology Essay

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The purpose of this study is to aid the United States Border Patrol at Wellesley Island in increasing their community outreach efforts. One can see that law enforcement has encountered much advancement over the years. One of those advances is the progress of community outreach, or, in other words, community policing strategies. Studies have shown that the community plays a fundamental role in the accomplishments of the many goals, and missions each agency sets forth. Therefore, it is essential that each and every agency ensure they create a solid foundation within the community as means to develop a positive relationship. In the end, this study could give USBP the opportunity to reevaluate their current outreach methods, and, in turn, would allow the agency to structure their strategy to the needs of the community. United States Border Patrol: Community Matters. USBP is well aware of the benefits that a community provides, and would ultimately like to view their status within the community. This study will focus on the possibility of any improvements needed, or boundaries hindering their operations. The ultimate goal is to increase the cohesiveness between the two entities, as well as maximize outreach efforts throughout the community. The approach to this study will be primarily quantitative, which will give USBP the ability to visually analyze the existing circumstances through the data collected. In the end, this study will focus, mainly, on target areas with known threats and risks, and support USBP operations and community outreach programs. Finally, this paper will discuss past literature which details past research regarding importance, advantage, and validity of community orientated policing. The research questions and concepts will be discussed in further detail. Furthermore, this paper will include the research method, sample, and response rate goal involved within this particular study. Finally, this paper will conclude with a discussion of the ethics, and possible outcomes of the study. Literature Review Gary Cordner (1995), Ian Mirsky (2009), and W. Pelfrey (2009) agree that community orientated policing can be deemed a tactic, philosophy, or phenomena that has gained immense momentum over the years. Overall, community policing is the concept of the police department's implementation, and dedication to joining forces with the community as means to combat crime (Mirsky 2009). However, many people, even police officers, believe that community policing is an empty attempt to appease the community (Somerville 2009). None the less, police departments all across the US have supplemented traditional policing with community based policing (Pelfrey 2009). In addition, they do so expecting instantaneous results, and don't realize the type of effort it takes to successfully build a relationship with the community (Somerville 2009). Jock Green (2000) discussed that fact that many variations of community policing exist in all areas on the United States, as well as around the world. Community policing has become a common practice, and the views of the community are now the upmost importance to most departments/agency's (Green 2000). As a result of scientific examination, community policing has evolved immensely from the days of the simplistic strategies (Green 2000). Altogether, departments truly dedicated to community police have, or will undergo a complete transformation in terms of philosophy (Green 2000). As a result, officers will become more proactive, involved, focused, and problem specific orientated with regards to the community (Green 2000). David Allender (2004) discussed that each and every agency must do their homework before switching to community policing. The department must also change their entire philosophy with regards to how they approach community outreach (David Allender 2004). This means, spending less time in the police car, and more time out on the streets interacting with members of the community (David Allender 2004). Furthermore, the officers, not the community members, must be proactive in every facet of outreach efforts (David Allender 2004). In other words, the officer must involve the citizens when trying to solve problems (David Allender 2004). In the end, the only way to successfully implement community policing, and outreach is to effectively build relationships with members of the community. A study in Newark, NJ was conducted to determine the effects of police interaction with the community (Mirsky 2009). The police department in NJ, with response to citizen outcry, decided to implement foot patrols as a method of community policing. The department sent officers out into neighborhoods, and gave them a specific beat to walk on a regular basis (Mirsky 2009). The yearlong study showed that the level of satisfaction and positive perception of the department increased as a direct result of the foot patrols (Mirsky 2009). The study also found that citizens felt safer, and started to utilize less safety measures within the areas being patrolled by officers on foot (Mirsky 2009). With regards to the study, one could say that something as simple as the implementation of interaction between the police officers and the community goes far in terms of community outreach. Also, in a similar study, Jerry Ratcliff, Travis Taniguchi, Elisabeth Groff, and Jerry Wood (2011) discussed how the same method of community policing worked in Philadelphia, Pa. A 12 week study, conducted in 2009, was used to determine the effect of police interaction of 60 high crime areas randomly drawn from the incident (INCT) database (Ratcliff et al. 2011). Each area was assigned two police officers, and each officer was assigned a beat to walk in the selected areas (Ratcliff et al. 2011). The results, in comparison to the control areas (no foot patrol), saw a .77 ratio, or 23% decrease in violent crimes in the targeted areas (Ratcliff et al. 2011). While, in addition, police offers felt that the citizens were more likely to interact with the officers with the target areas than in the control area (Ratcliff et al. 2011). This particular study had two significant findings, and, on one hand, the interaction could potentially decrease crime. Importantly, on the other hand, one could say that there is a direct correlation between police interaction, and the perception that one has towards authorities. The USBP study will be focused on creating community policing, and outreach events on the specific community at hand. As Cordner (1995) discusses, it is of extremely important to focus on the geographical locations when implementing community outreach. In other words it should be an obligation of the agency to discover who is living in the community, and what's going on (Cordner 1995). In that regard, the USBP study will focus on race within the target areas, simply, because studies in the past have shown a disparity with regards to perception and participation. According to P. Burns and M. Thomas (2005), race becomes a major issue when it comes to community policing. A study was conducted in 1999 to discover the perception police, and willingness to work alongside the police department (Burns and Thomas 2005). At the conclusion of the study, over one-third of the United States citizens had favorable perception towards police entities (Burns and Thomas 2005). Furthermore, of the more than on one third, a majority of white respondents had a favorable perception of the department (85%), while only 58% percent were African American (Burns and Thomas 2005). In the same way, Thomas and Burns (2005) explain that the same discrepancy was found when it came to their willingness to work with law enforcement. In the end, race can be a major factor when determining ones perception, and outlook on community outreach. In a different study, one department, as Steven Edmonson (2002) discussed, learned that the "cookie cutter" methods of the past are simply ineffective. The study was conducted by Topsham's Police Department (TPD) which included the 10,000 citizens of their ever growing community (Edmonson 2002). In addition, similar to USBP, TPD took the traditional route of employing community policing (Edmonson 2002). There was, at first, no attempt to create community outreach events around the community. Rather, the department simply used generic methods (Edmonson 2002). The outreach events included education, neighborhood watch programs, and multiple meetings between the two entities, just to name a few (Edmonson 2002). Ultimately, the department realized that this type of policing was time consuming, resource consuming, attracted only 5% of the community, and saw little reduction in crime (Edmonson 2002). In the same way, TPD, after the millennium, took steps to create a solution to the existing problems, while maintaining community relations (Edmonson 2002). The police department made it their mission to discover the interests, skills, and the identifiable problems within the community (Edmonson 2002). Edmonson (2002) reported that since the implementation of the new approach, TPD officers have seen an increase in community involvement, and crime reporting. Also, the department felt that the new method will continue increase quality of life in the community, and will benefit nearly everyone in the long run (Edmonson 2002). Concepts According to the 2012-2016 (2012) United States Border Patrol Mission Statement, the concept of community outreach, can, essentially, be interpreted as community oriented policing on the Federal level. In addition, community outreach efforts are specifically defined as an engagement between the community and the agency, as well as the education of the public regarding border issues (USBP Mission Statement 2012). Perception, within this study, relates to the community's views of border relations. In other words, perception relates to the respondents positive or negative views of the United States Border Patrol at Wellesley Island (Thomas and Burns 2005). Within the study, this, along with community outreach reception, will be used as the dependent variable throughout the study. Previous contact with an agent/officer will be used as the independent variable throughout the study. Previous contact constitutes as any previous positive or neutral interaction between an agent/officer and a community member (Mirsky 2009). Research Questions This study is designed to evaluate the current standing of the United States Border Patrol at Wellesley Island within the community. This study will aim to answer multiple questions that USBP feel are important to the community at large. For instance, this study will attempt to answer: Has the work of USBP garnered positive or negative perception from the members of the community? Does this perception effect how secure the community member feels? In the same way, this study will aim to answer questions regarding how well their community outreach efforts have been received in the community. It will attempt to answer: How well has USBP's past outreach campaigns reached target areas within the jurisdiction? The information could, potentially, give leadership the ability to visually see which parts of the community have been exposed to outreach attempts, and what areas have not. Knowing the demographics, as discussed by Burns and Thomas 2005, is a major advantage when it comes to community policing. Therefore, the study will attempt to answer: What kinds of people are living within these particular areas? Also, does race, or other demographics, affect ones willingness to participate? Method Those with previous contact with a Border Patrol Agent will have a positive perception of the agency, and be more inclined to participate in community outreach efforts. As means to test this hypothesis, the researcher will use a survey based research design as the mode of observation for this particular study. The survey research design is ideal for the population that this study will be associated with, and, as a result, can increase the generalizability of the study. A questionnaire will be strategically designed to compile quantitative data of relevant to community outreach methods, and community perception. In response, a questionnaire will be strategically designed to yield the best results regarding perception of USBP and previous community outreach efforts. This questionnaire will consist of 15 questions ranging from yes/no responses, to Likert-type response scales. Some of the questions will require a more specific elaboration, and this type of feedback is essential to the overall project. Ultimately, the feedback could allow USBP to uncover overall perception, specific disparities, grievances, or the outlook on community policing. With regards to the questionnaire, the first section of questions will be designed to collect information regarding the community's perceptions of USBP. One of the main goals of the study will be to evaluate if past outreach efforts have created a positive perception of the agency. To put this into perspective, the main question in this section is wither or not the respondent had any previous contact with an agent. This response will determine if that particular variable hand any effect on the subsequent questions. In the questionnaire, the subsequent questions will ask for the respondents input on perception of the agency, how safe they feel living along the border, and how dangerous their view of the border is. In sum, this section will determine if the level of views of the agency will have any effects on other border matters. The second section of questions will be designed to collect specific information regarding community outreach, and outreach campaigns of years passed. In this section, the first question will ask the respondent if they were specifically approached for community outreach purposes. This question is designed to see if the target areas have been reached, and, if yes, can see if the contact had any effect on the views of community outreach. This will ultimately be measure by asking the respondent to record their views of community outreach, and their willingness to participate. Also, as a secondary measure, this section will allow the respondent to report suspicious activity, and will give the agency an idea of how much activity has gone unreported. In the end, this section will be critical in the reevaluation of current outreach efforts, and could potentially change community outreach strategy altogether. The final section will deal specifically with the demographics of the community. USBP would like to get an overall idea of which groups of people exist within certain target areas. Also, it will allow USBP to know if any type of demographic, such as race, causes serious disparities within study. Secondly, variables, such as age and number of children, will be asked to ensure that spurious relationships do not exist within this particular study. In all, the respondent will be asked to record age, race, gender, number of children, and their length of residency in the area. Overall, this could allow USBP to make specific outreach events which directly correlate with the community. Subsequently, a consent form will be developed providing information about the study, the aspect of confidentiality/anonymity, and any stipulations. Both, the consent letter and questionnaire would then be sent out to randomly selected residents with a target area. In the end, they will simply be asked to complete the questionnaire, and send it back within a designated time frame. Ideally, the end goal of this study would be to obtain a 65%, or greater response rate. Sample In this particular study, the population will include all the households that are located within the particular zones selected by PAIC Matthew Roggow. In this case, the study will focus on zone 31 (Z31), zone 31M (Z31M), and zone 34 (Z34). These locations are desirable because leadership has deemed them "hotspots". In other words, these are the areas that have been susceptible to multiple cases of illegal border activity. The next stage of sampling would consist of selecting only those who live on properties which are considered to be either waterfront, or "water view" along the St. Lawrence River. In this case, the researcher would us a sampling frame that would be acquired from the Jefferson County Real-Estate Registry database (www.jeffcountymaps.com). This particular database provides names, addresses, and, importantly, tax addresses for those who are seasonal residence living in other areas of the country. Overall, the end population of this study consists of 404 primary property owners that fit the specific criteria. The elements of this particular study will consist of the property owners who are randomly selected. As means to create a smaller sample, the researcher will be using a systematic random sampling method. Specifically, the researcher will be randomly selecting the first address shown on the database, then, subsequently, systematically choose the rest. Broken down into zones, of the 404 property owners, Z31 has 62 that fit the criteria set forth, while Z31M has 68, and, finally, Z34 has 274 property owners. Due to the disparity, the researcher would want to sample each zone separately to ensure proper representation within the survey. To start, both Z31 and Z31M would have two thirds of the property owners randomly chosen from each respective zone. This method would result in a sample size of 47 property owners for Z31, and 53 property owners for Z31M. On the other hand, Z34 has a larger population of 274 property owners, and, therefore, the researcher would randomly choose every other address listed in the sampling frame. As a result, the sample size for Z34 would equate to 137 property owners. In the end, 237 elements will be randomly selected for the questionnaire. Ethics Involved Of the several ethical issues, confidentiality and anonymity are extremely important while dealing with survey based research (Bachman and Schutt 2010). The respondents trust the researcher with personal information, and the researcher must ensure none of the respondents names are linked to any one particular survey (Bachman and Schutt 2010). Next, it is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that the respondent knows the survey is voluntary, and there is no external pressure to participate in the survey (Bachman and Schutt 2010). Finally, one must have the upmost integrity when dealing with the results of each and every survey. When compiling the data the researcher must make it their mission to report valid results, rather than skew the data in favor of the study (Bachman and Schutt 2010). Conclusion Overall, this study will be designed to increase the cohesiveness of the USBP and the community members that it serves. The agency can only do so much to improve their community outreach tactics by themselves. In the end, the community plays a major role by giving feedback, and supplying valuable information to the agency. Therefore, one would consider the community as the backbone of this experiment to enhance community relations. All in all, the questionnaires being sent out should send a strong message to the members of the community, and show USBP's commitment to making the community a better and safer place to live.