After reading The Hate U Give, I’ve chosen to study trust in police. I chose this issue because last year my neighbor got shot, and neither the police nor the ambulance arrived until after he died on the way to the hospital. The issue is important to me because if people do not trust the police, the police are not able to help anyone. This affects the community because my neighbor’s murder has yet to be solved. One example of how this affects the community is that I recently did a survey of Berkeley residents on how many of them approve of how Berkeley police operate, and fifty-one percent said they didn’t approve. This public attitude has a negative effect on the police because then the police cannot help people if they don’t have the community’s trust and cooperation.
Some attempts have been made to address this issue through the Berkeley police force. In the past, many cities including Berkeley have used broken windows policing as a solution for lack of trust in the police. Broken windows policing is where small crimes are more heavily policed, such as turnstile jumping or panhandling. This method is not successful because it actually lowers trust in the police because it removes people from the community when they have to go to court for minuscule offenses, it also disproportionately impacts minorities. A newer method Berkeley police is using is called community policing, which is where police officers are assigned to a neighborhood until they know the populace and can interact with them more positively. So far this solution has worked, but Berkeley does not have enough resources to put officers in every neighborhood. Community policing has been tried before and proven to work all around the country, but the Berkeley police department just needs the resources to hire more officers.
I was inspired by The Hate U Give because at the end of the book Mav’s store was almost destroyed by the no snitching policy of the neighborhood. This is also what happened in my neighborhood and to my neighbor, where no one would say who killed him despite there being a substantial monetary reward. I think that having more trust in the police both in Berkeley and in Garden Heights would allow the people there to both be and feel safer. From The Hate U Give, I learned that communities can come together and stand up for what they think is right. For example, in the book Maverick inspired the community to stand up to King and his no snitching policy. After reading this book, I was able to relate to what happened and was inspired to both research and think of ways to combat these problems in my community.
Recently, I surveyed my neighbors on whether or not they approve of how the Berkeley police operate and most people said they didn’t approve. I think that this is a problem that my neighborhood will have to go through for a long period of time, but hopefully, things will start to improve. In order to gain a better understanding, I need to further my research and ask my neighbors what they would think of Berkeley trying more community policing and what aspects of community policing are most effective. Another question I would like to research is how could the city implement these policies. I would like to see improvement in my neighborhood sooner rather than later.
“Race, Trust, and Police Legitimacy.” National Institute of Justice, 4 June 2016, www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/legitimacy/pages/welcome.aspx.
Thomas, David J. “Law Enforcement Must Regain the Public’s Trust.” Police Foundation, www.policefoundation.org/law-enforcement-must-regain-the-publics-trust/.
“Community Policing.” Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=81.
“Community Policing and Procedural Justice.” Evidence-Based Policing, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, cebcp.org/evidence-based-policing/what-works-in-policing/research-evidence-review/community-policing/.
Childress, Sarah. “The Problem with ‘Broken Windows’ Policing.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 28 June 2016, www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/the-problem-with-broken-windows-policing/.
“Berkeley,California Economy.” Economy in Berkeley, California, Bestplaces.net, www.bestplaces.net/economy/city/california/berkeley‘
“BUILDING TRUST.” BUILDING TRUST, cops.usdoj.gov/buildingtrust
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