In practice however, we see how police officers routinely violate the human rights of those they apprehend. The implicit message is that these are criminals anyway - thugs, petty thieves, gangsters, punks, drug addicts, alcoholics - and they are doing society a favor by treating them brusquely.
Indeed if there is one thing that distinguishes (or should distinguish) crime control strategies in contemporary times from medieval times or less-than-modern societies, it is the regard for due process and the rights of the accused. Furthermore, crime control is attended by rehabilitation for the offender and helping him take steps towards reintegration.
In contemporary times, we see a departure, albeit gradual, from strong-arm tactics. It has, after all, been proven that there is a higher incidence of crime in states where the police force is known for their brutality. For example, in states like New York and Los Angeles where there is a relatively great number of cases filed against members of the police force for misconduct, the crime rate is astronomical. The strong-arm tactics of law enforcement officers have done little to quell the rising tide of crime and have in fact exacerbated it.
On the other hand, the desire to preserve society and prevent crime is equally valid. It would seem that society has been ill-equipped to come up with answers and solutions to address it definitively (Norrie, 1996). It is imperative however to disabuse oneself of the simplistic approach that is often used when analyzing crime rates. Many are wont to believe that a rise in crime rates signifies a social problem, and a decrease is something to be lauded. In fact, a rise in recorded crime rates could actually mean better police efficiency, a willingness of the victims to come forward, and a desire by society as a whole to condemn criminals. The significance of making this initial assertion is explained by Matthews (1995) as follows:
Making this point at the outset is important for two reasons: First it helps to free us from the disarming grip of pessimism that is often associated with the assertion that increases in crime and inevitable and undesirable. Second, it reminds us that crime is a social construct and is the outcome of a complex process of action and reaction. Crime is reducible neither to an act or to a biography. Rather it is a process that requires both an offender and a victim - direct or indirect - to interact within a milieu of formal and informal constraints.
The main point driven at is that crime control methods in contemporary society have to be holistic in approach. And it simply cannot be born out of the desire to seek revenge or to punish. It must be seen as but a part of a body of efforts to ensure that peace and order is maintained.
Another trend that is visible is the cooperation among various government agencies. In the past, crime prevention is seen as merely the job of the police force. Now, a host of government agencies are expected to do their part and more importantly, to cooperate with each other. A good example is in the issue of child abuse. The creation of the Children's