Criminal Behavior and Policing in America - Essay Example

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Criminal Behavior and Policing in America

The definition of criminal behavior also changes with place. In some countries of the world, drugs such as marijuana are outlawed, and possession or use brings serious consequences. In other countries, the drug is sold and used openly. In the United States, California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state all allow the use of medical marijuana, although it is explicitly prohibited by federal law. Recently, a San Francisco Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled that states can make their own medical marijuana laws, as long as the commerce does not involve any other state. While ideas about the definition of criminal behavior in a time and place influence policing, political values and social conditions also shape our ideas about policing. Ebbe (2000) suggests that each country forms its ideas about policing based on custom and tradition, historical experience, and international events. America is customarily focused on traditions of individual freedom – but we surrender much of that freedom to policing agencies when serious domestic or international events pose a danger to our collective good. In fact, we are willing to surrender our – and our fellows’ – rights to amazing capacities. In American history, we can look to the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Schenck decision, the interment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and the Patriot Act. The notion that it is acceptable to surrender more authority. ...Show more


The purpose of the paper “Criminal Behavior and Policing in America” is to define criminal behavior. At its most basic level, criminal behavior in the US can be defined as an infraction against a rule or law established by a local, state, or federal government that results in punishment.

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