Social And Political Changes In Crime And Law Enforcement

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Social and Political Changes in Crime and Law Enforcement
Castillo Flowers
Social Change and Modernization
Kennesaw State University

The interpretation of violent crime is subjective one and is marginally up for debate in our bipartisan somewhat radical idealistic society. However, the mainstream general populace would concur that deviant, malicious, malevolent, and sadistic felonious criminal conduct such as terrorism, child sexual abuse, molestation and exploitation, physical child abuse, murder, human sex trafficking, human labor trafficking, rape, drug trafficking, aggravated physical assault, hate crime, burglary, robbery, unlawful conspiracy, and other socially unacceptable behaviors in our society have been a matter of great concern and study for some time. Conversely, the general perception and official public response to such crime has indisputably changed over time as it continues. Crime is defined as an act or ongoing behavior which violates the laws of society, based primarily on cultural norms of society determined traditional values, public opinion, and the views of those in political power. Regardless of public opinion, crime is irrefutably an inevitable political, social, and economic function of life, both today and in the past, and it must be addressed accordingly. The origin of what is considered ‘crime’ today ensued at the onset of human existence. Moreover, crime has been a matter of great significance in society since the commencement of crime as a legal matter, which can be traced back to medieval times when the law was primitive and the punishments were brutal and inhuman by a modern day perspectives. However, crime had a rather different connotation during the middle ages compared to today. What we consider violent crime today was not thought of in a like manner in previous history. Serious crime in the early era was considered acts such as rebellion, treason, vagrancy, smuggling, theft, and murder, which occurred on a much more rare occasion. Criminals in these times were considered individuals whom performed tasks of witchcraft, blasphemy, and disturbed the kings peace. As previoiusly stated, what was deemed as ‘wrong-doing’ in medieval ages was servely punished. Misdeamenor and pety crime today such stealing and treason were punishable by death in early history. Therefore, crime, violent crime more specifically, is and will always be subjective and subject to cultural bias, discrepancy and controversy. In very early history of policing, civilians were majorily responsible for maintaining law and order among themselves in society. Constables and justices of the peace were usually volunteers who were typically unpaid their services. Sheriffs, formerly known as Shire reeves, were full-time officials authorized to oversee law enforcement activities within their jurisdiction in counties and respective colonies. This rather informal system of social control worked quite effectively for centuries, predominantly in more rural less populated regions. The late 1700's and early 1800's however came with massive population increases and influxes in major cities in the United States and England. Thus, riots, civil unrest, and general criminality became more prevalent components of society. Consequently, it became increasingly apparent that a more permanent and professional form of law enforcement to carry the official authority of the government was necessary ( In the early 1800’s, philosophers, sociologists, and those in the new and emerging field of criminology began calling for a centralized police force to protect the citizenry and to maintain order in society. Sir Robert Peel, known as the father of policing, established the first Metropolitan Police Services in London, England in 1829. Initially this notion and establishment was combatted with a significant amount of resistance by the general public. They feared that this newly implemented authority group would act