My View on Crime and Crime Fighting

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Updated: Jun 29, 2022
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While many people in our nation are digging in their heels and choosing sides on many issues including crime and crime control, you will find me standing in the middle. That’s me, “Even Stephen”. Being firmly in the middle shapes my view of crime and crime control by allowing me to consider all sides of an issue and then deciding which policies and models to support. Some might say that being in the middle is weak. I would counter that being in the middle allows me to see both sides of an issue and results in a more educated stance.

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Compromise is a key aspect of democracy and necessary if any real change is ever going to take place. My political ideologies were heavily influenced by two main factors: where I was raised and how I was raised. In the next few paragraphs I will describe how living in a small town and being raised by fair, level-headed and civic minded parents influenced my political stance of being, “Even Stephen”. I will also discuss how being in the middle of political issues has shaped my view of the causes of crime and the best ways to control crime.

Community plays a large role in shaping who we are. Life is not lived in isolation. Being raised in small town in Alaska, population 800, gave me a strong sense of community. It was a very safe community to grow up in. We didn’t lock our doors, left our keys in our cars, and considering that every adult knew every kid in town everyone looked out for each other. This influenced our opinions of crime because it was almost offensive that anyone would steal from one another in such a close community. And considering that the local police chief was also the girls’ basketball coach we formed favorable opinions of law enforcement. When you are raised in this type of environment you develop a pretty neutral view of the world. There weren’t big issues that led to biased views of political issues. Local issues were settled in coffee shops.

Above even the influence of community on my political ideologies were the values and philosophies taught to me by my parents. I was raised by middle class, married parents who taught us the value of being honest and fair. Both were involved in local politics with my dad serving two terms as the local mayor and my mom serving two terms on the local school board. As influential members of the community who were know for being fair, we often had people from both sides of the aisle, stop by our house to discuss local politics. I vividly remember the town, “pot stirrer”, coming by our house, and calling at all hours of the night, just to converse with my dad. As a kid it seemed to me that she always left a little less crazed than when she arrived. I respected my parents for their role as mediator in political situations and have adopted this role in my life.

My views on the cause of crime and crime control fall right in line with my moderate political views. I don’t believe in one specific model as the cause of crime. I would argue that crime is comprised of internal and external factors. A mental illness is one example of an internal cause of crime. If someone has a mental illness, getting them appropriate medication and treatment would prevent future crime. If a chemical imbalance or addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is causing someone to commit crimes, then treating their addiction would lead to reduced crime.

Instead of solely focusing on internal factors, it is also important to focus on external factors for determining the cause of crime. Some external factors include that can impact someone’s decision to commit a crime include joblessness, poverty, availability of guns, poor relationships with law enforcement, community and family situations. If external factors are the root cause of crime, then alleviating or fixing those factors should lead to a reduction in crime. By providing better schools, better jobs, offering more mental health programs, instituting more social programs designed to support single moms and struggling families, in theory crime levels should drop.

This is probably the psychology major in me but what if it is more than that? What if we are just born inherently good or inherently bad? Can good people become bad people? Can bad people truly reform and become good people? Is there something to the fact that genes play a role in criminal behavior? Cases like Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgeway and Jeffrey Dahmer (and the thousands of other serial killers that I don’t even know about) had to have something that caused them to become serial killers. Maybe it’s genetics? Can a person be born evil? Or is the genetic makeup there but is triggered by an external event leading that person to act on their abnormal behavior.

Because I believe in a variety of causes of crime, I also believe that more than one type of crime control is necessary. I understand components of both victim’s and offender’s rights although ultimately, I want a system that values public safety above all. While that would imply that I think crime control and incapacitation should be the primary goals of criminal justice, I can also see the benefits of rehabilitation programs. Putting someone in jail is one way to keep the general public safe but eventually they are going to be released back into society. We need to do a better job preparing inmates for release from jail and give them better options on the outside. Crime control policies need to address the internal and external factors of crime in order to be effective.

My political ideologies were shaped by growing up in a small and unique Alaskan community and as the result of having fair minded, respected and level-headed parents that allowed me to foster my beliefs and come to my own conclusions on many of the nations “hot topics”. Being firmly in the middle of the political spectrum helps me to see that there are many causes of crime including internal and external factors and crime control policies need to address all of these issues. I have an interest in learning all I can about criminal justice. More specifically how do we solve the problems of prison overcrowding, racism in policing, public distrust of law enforcement, crime prevention and high rates of recidivism all while protecting public safety and victim’s rights. Wishful thinking? Maybe. What would you expect from someone in the middle?

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My View On Crime And Crime Fighting. (2022, Jun 25). Retrieved from