Metropolitan County of Jefferson Essay


Police agencies across the world exist to maintain law and order and the question of whether raising police strength will reduce crime is debatable. Increasing police strength may reduce crime but on the other hand, crime can also bring changes to police strength (Blumstein & Wallman, 2006 p 334) and this is due to layoffs or hiring that may be dictated by crime trends. However, hiring or laying off police officers has however not deterred crime from happening the world over. In the United States, crime is widespread from the urban centers to the countryside.

Jefferson County, Alabama

The metropolitan county of Jefferson in the State of Alabama reported the highest crime rate compared to other counties of the state in the year 2008. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, the county reported 637 violent crimes, five murder and , 62 forcible rape cases 282 robbery cases and . These statistics exclude minor offenses like those associated with traffic. All these against a backdrop of 705 total law enforcement employees in the county. Of these, 547 were police officers while 158 were civilians (FBI, 2008).

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According to the United States Census Bureau, Jefferson County was the most populous in the state with 662047 people in the year 2000. The population in 2009 had risen to 665027 people. That gives a police to population ratio of roughly one police officer to 1210 people. Its important to note that the county has the highest number of law enforcers in the state probably due to the high population. Most police departments report police to the civilian ratio of between 1.5 to 2.2 police officers per 1000 residents. In the city of New York for instance, the ratio of police to civilians is one police officer to 218 residents.

Probable reasons for high rate of crime

There are many probable reasons why the crime picture of Jefferson County is the way it is. Pressure from loss of jobs due to the weak economy may be one of the reasons. Social pressures resulting from a high population and the fact that its location is in a metropolitan area may be another. Compared to other counties in the state, Jefferson has the highest number of law enforcers and its may be affecting the way the force works.

According to (Klockars, et al. 2006, p 55), the integrity of police agency is indirectly but greatly defined by the size of the agency, the population tasked to police and the number of people it employs. They further say that a large police agency needs to of administration and division of labor. The crime problem facing Jefferson County could be as a result of the above.

Though the above reasons are valid, the ration of police to civilian in this county is slightly less. The number of police officers in this county is hardly adequate and clearly overwhelmed. If the minor offences were to be factored in then the numbers will be even stretched further. This number of police officers in the county therefore needs to be doubled for it to be at par with the recommended ratio and if any gains in combating the runaway crime wave in the county is to be tamed.

For a county like Jefferson, with high crime rates, it is important to increase the number of civilians working in the police force. The current number that stands at 158 may be inadequate leading to delay in solving cases. Raising the number of police officers is not always a sure way of controlling crime but within the extent that its successful, Jefferson County needs it.

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