Table of Contents
Description of the initiative.
Other factors for consideration.
Crime occurring in the schools cannot be described as a new event, however, with the sharp rise of it, is becoming a growing concern when it comes to the schools in Queensland. The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project was a joint initiative comprising of the Dayton Police Department (DPD), along with several other interested parties during 2011 (The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project , 2011). Basically, the problem which was taken into consideration was within the vicinity of the Belmont High School in Daytona (USA). The prominent rise in the number of assaults, with robberies, weapons violations and also drug-related offences and forcible rapes were observed during the school hours. Not only the crime was the sole major concern, but the performance in the educational area was also severely declined, and thus academic environment was also heavily hampered. The diagnosis was reasoned for and linked with the long and sustained economic downturn following tax fluctuations giving rise to both societal and economic problems, within the school premises, and on society as a whole.
The project deployed several policing strategies which were inclusive of the crime prevention based on environmental design. The community alliance was unified in such a way that the crime can be dislodged through engagement, based on which success was achieved. The higher level of success followed and the crime was seen to have massively reduced, along with improvement in educational goals followed by a safe environment. This paper will analyse and critique ‘The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project’ mentioned above and in so doing will develop a brief insight about the implementation of the project along with the outcome which developed from those initiatives. The paper will also focus on the theoretical perspective considered within the project and analysing the in-depth procedure, will provide recommendations which can be considered in future.
The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project, the team diagnosed the crime based on the criminology theories. One of the key findings was that smaller numbers of students were getting influenced and that was having direct consequences with the commission of crimes, so Rational Choice theory and Bounded Rationality theory can be used for diagnosing crimes in the schools. The rational choice theory lays the entire focus on the hypotheses that the preferences an individual makes them avoid any other relevant alternatives, and thus makes them rational while depicting responsibility in arranging crimes (Loughran & Paternoster, 2016). More importantly, the act so done based on this theory are not for personal benefits but for affecting others, (Thomas, Loughran, & Hamilton, 2020). As rationality is relative, so making choices with an aim to affect others do not often have positive impacts.
On the other hand, the theory of Bounded Rationality, do not have any regards as to the intelligence level of the decision-maker, so, what they are made to believe is entirely based on the information that is provided to them (Pogarsky, Roche, & Pickett, 2017). So, when a smaller group of students becomes influenced then the manipulative strategies are entirely due to the peer influences for the commission of a common agenda, like that of assaults.
When the resolution strategy was to reassign classrooms for the group students so that unnecessary gatherings or interactions can be avoided, then the underlying theory of crime displacement is by the way of problem-oriented policing (Hinkle & Weisburd, 2020). The efforts which are taken by the police in the prevention of crime results in crime displacement. The theory of problem-oriented policing is based on an operational structure commonly referred as the SARA model, where the Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment are the iterative steps to be followed in series (Caskey, Wasek, & Franz, 2018). However, the major drawback in here is the implementation of the model, since in all the stages the deficiencies are always prevalent.
Within the criminological theories, the term Displacement can be proactive towards measuring the reduction rate of crime by intervening activities within the intervention area (Hodgkinson, Saville, & Andresen, 2020). Again, the reduction rate of crime will cause its displacement to those proximate vicinities where areas fall within the non- intervention category, which will then extract benefit from those intervention areas. In the project discussed here, the crime and disorder prone students were displaced to another school, thus reducing the rate of crime in the intervention area.
Another two theories of Social disorganisation and Routine Activity Theory possess an entirely different meaning. Social disorganisation (McCarthy, Porter, & Townsley, 2018), places the onus on the prevalent characteristics of the environment, like that of the ethnic heterogeneity, followed by the economic deprivation, as well as mobility within the population, which acted as a predictive factor of disorganised society giving rise to disorders and crimes, as mentioned in Urban Project (Braga & Clarke, 2017). Routine Activity Theory, another criminological theory is entirely focussed on the situations related to crime. It highly disaffirms the fact that social causes are not the contributing factors for the crime (Reyns & Henson, 2016). According to this theory, motivated offenders possess both willingness and dedication towards the commission of criminal activity. Thus, it can be maintained that crime is that concept which is acquired and also is connected psychologically where the belief of utilitarian effect is reasoned for by the criminals (Pratt & Turanovic, 2016). In this project, the hotspots were identified within the alleyways, adjacent bus stops adjoining bathrooms and also in the hallways within the premises. Again, the Crime Pattern Theory can help in elucidating the ways of the commission of crimes in specific areas. This theory actually helps in exploring criminal behavioural patterns through organised activities (D.Barnum, M.Caplan, & W.Kennedy, 2017). This theory also highlights a common activity space, where the victim, as well as the offender, intersects (Pooley & Ferguson, 2017).
The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project was nonetheless through in discovering the issues that were attached to the crime and disorder and finding the possible way out towards reduction of crime within the intervention period. The factors which were discussed in details within the project do not make enough room to accommodate outside factors and place the onus on it. But it is also pertinent to say that, discounting any other factors, whether it is external or internal or any management aspects, will be injudicious since there can also be factors which might have acted as aggravator in inducing the crime. However, the project in itself does not explicitly mention the factors which are not related and caused the issue in the process of reduction of crime (Braga, Weisburd, & Turchan, 2018). The relevant authorities and bodies involved in the project did not consider the urgency for examining the factors which are not within the project itself. The focus could have been laid on the impacts that a possible outside factor might cause. The best way to observe the outside factors and their impact on the disorder would have required an extension of the intervention period based on which the effect could have been construed on a more compact way. It is inevitable that there are strengths and weaknesses involved within each and every project, so an apparent and heightened problem identified in this project also have drawbacks and advantages. The intuitive analysis made by the project highlighted certain factors which were nevertheless significant since they were considered as the underlying conditions which are quite undesirous and thus contribute towards precipitation of the problem. Within the school buildings, the classrooms were so unorganised that no minimal order can be maintained within the classroom. The students were running in between the classes, resulting in collisions and confrontations, thereby disrupting the minimum decorum of the classrooms. Assaults and robberies initiate from unnecessary interaction based on the running activities (The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project , 2011). Again, while out of the school, the students leave the school premises and waits for public buses and also in the alleys located nearby, and this entire period or the area is not being monitored, and hence their behaviours are not witnessed. The project placed the major onus of the problem on the management. The positive outcome was achieved in this particular project, however, this cannot be considered as the most plausible and feasible solution, since there could have been possible hindrances from the schools in the non- intervention areas. On the other hand, the theories concerning diffusion consider situational prevention through displacement as a probable threat, since in the later victimisation burden becomes equitably distributed within those communities who possess less severe crimes. The general investigation which was made within the project gave a straightforward and succinct perception into about the agendas that are needed to be executed. While explaining each part of the task the project provides enough resources which can be utilised and accepted by various schools suffering from comparative issues in furtherance of crime and disorder. The overall project did have flaws in not taking into consideration those factors which could have been of importance if not ignored. With a budget constraint followed by non- availability of resources, they were proficient to prove that lacking monetary support does not harm the resolution of the issue. The prima facie important consideration achieved by the project is the consensus, which they have succeeded in gathering from all the stakeholders (Matsukawa & Tatsuki, 2018). However, the extensive follow-ups for engagement and commitment were not easily obtained. The project encountered issues or rather encumbrances when they sought complete consensus from the stakeholders (Matsukawa & Tatsuki, 2018), on the sole point that multiple angles are to be implemented for resolving these types of crime and disorders. It is not ethical and cannot also be considered moral when it sublimes to the point that, the active participants were only the police, and that they are not supported school or the community.
Stakeholders were not having a consensus was prevalent within the project. Various stakeholders had various ideas of implementation and each one of them wanted to implement them from an individual perspective (Matsukawa & Tatsuki, 2018). But allowing each stakeholder to implement a whole new set of ideas will not only be an organised one and hence will be detrimental since non- consensus can render the whole project ineffective.
The initial hypotheses made by the project was entirely based on what they observed and that they entirely linked with social displacement where the economic downturn was primary cause not only within the Belmont but also on its surrounding community. However, after in-depth observation, the disorganisation present within the school surfaced, where classrooms’ assignment was so unorganised that no minimal order can be maintained within the classroom. Safety issues were a major concern since both the students and the staffs became victimised. As the criminal activity and the police involvement was on the hike, so the environment within the Belmont, cannot be diagnosed as safe and that is reasoned as the lack of concentration when it comes to academics. The explanations set forth by the project during the time of assessment was entirely around the periphery of the socio-economic downturn, however, that was also concluded as not being conclusive as well exhaustive. Again, the labelling theory was also seen to be present within the crime. It is not a rule that labelling effect will only have dire consequences however when a label becomes attached then the social- construction along with the symbolic-interaction analysis becomes closely related (Barmaki, 2019).
The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project, no doubt did a job that is praiseworthy by the reduction of crime and related problems drastically. ‘The Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project’ and it showed the ability to tackle the entire situation based on the factors they considered essential. The outcome which surfaced in Belmont High School requires no improvement, but to specifically recommend the same the project in an altogether new scenario like that of Queensland having an entirely different social as well cultural views, needs to be thought through. With the idea of adopting this in Queensland, there is a need for improvement. Especially, the intervention strategies that were adopted by the Dayton police cannot be said that it was easy for them to assemble the minds of all the interested stakeholders. Seeking a consensus amongst the interested stakeholders was a tiresome job (Matsukawa & Tatsuki, 2018). This kind of project where the livelihood is involved along with the abilities of children students a transparent agreement must be considered as the highest priority. The above- named project did focus on the prevention of crime and have also reduced it and at the same time have closely scrutinised the safety of those who are in the midst of the crime- stricken area. Again, in places where the interventions were high, there the diffusion of crime‐reduction benefits can be easily achieved than causing crime displacement, thus allowing the police to adopt problem- solving scenarios as the main agenda towards creating an effective prevention strategy. However, on the other hand, problem-oriented policing might not give exact results since they will showcase tremendous variability based on the crimes identified to the one where the tailored intervention was projected (Hinkle & Weisburd, 2020). So, the only recommendation that can be made is that the entire evaluation process must be so designed that there will be more feasibility in capturing data thereby causing direct access to the problems which will, in turn, be amenable in adopting problem- solving interventions (Borrion, Ekblom, & Alrajeh, 2020). The foremost consideration to be taken is the safety of the students thus allowing the needs to get prioritised and not following the rules blindly. If the students are provided with the opportunity to speak about the strategies then the impact on them could be easily identified by the evaluators.
Australia and the US are said to have similarity when it comes to the land areas. However, Australia cannot be equated to the US in terms of the population since the former have a significantly smaller population when compared to the US. So, for implementation of the Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project in Queensland, Australia there are multiple aspects of social and spatial-physical factors that need consideration. Thus, implementing Urban High School Disorder Reduction Project in Queensland requires thorough consideration. An average population of an urban school in Australia is less when compared to the schools in the US (Schools- Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020). So, Queensland schools’ size and population will greatly vary if they were to implement intervention strategies applicable in Belmont High School. Again, on the other hand, monitoring and problem identification can be easier in Queensland since locating hotspots for schools in the same district within a smaller area, will not be tiresome if visible occupancy of guardianship is strictly followed through monitoring. Lastly, each area is distinct, so implementing evaluation strategies will greatly vary based on the social constructs of it.
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