Police Performance Term Paper


Police Performance Term Paper

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Police Performance Term Paper Sample

Perhaps the most pronounced myth surrounding the Angels and their operations is that of a subway system that is crime-ridden, dangerous, and out of control. Declaring their own version of the right of "popular sovereignty in the interest of selfpreservation," the Guardian Angels, like virtually every active citizen action organization before them, have organized to take action to protect themselves and others. However, this crime problem, which gives the organization its legitimacy, does not appear to exist. While their critics have been quick to attack the Angels for exaggerating crime problems for their own benefit, clearly the responsibility for this myth should be more broadly shared. Not only the Angels, but the media and many of New York's public officials should be included as well. The result of this myth is important not only to the transit police and the health of the New York City transit system, but to the Guardian Angels as they attempt to maintain their growth and organizational evolution.

A second, related issue involves the image of fearful New Yorkers frustrated by poor police coverage and performance, willing to embrace almost any alternative. Although the results of this research do show that nearly one-half of all passengers interviewed rate the job the transit police are doing at protecting riders as either not too good or not good at all, the most commonly mentioned criterion in this evaluation was not danger but expected result. Those respondents who thought the police would recover property stolen from them were more likely to rate police performance more favorably. Those who thought items stolen would not be recovered saw the police in a more negative light. Concerning the availability of police on the subways, over 86 percent of passengers reported that when riding on the system they usually, or at least sometimes, saw officers on patrol. From these results, it is certainly difficult to substantiate the existence of a widespread belief in the breakdown of either law or order on the subways.

Despite the lack of major dissatisfactions with the police, the overwhelming majority of passengers interviewed reported that they approved of the Guardian Angels. Many of these riders' approval was not without reservations, however. These passengers often advised that they approved of the concept of citizens helping each other and, while they knew little about the Angels'methods, they were assuming that the organization deserved their support. While this is clearly a positive finding for the Angels, it is not an unqualified endorsement for them or similar citizen-action groups. To the extent that these organizations deviate from this general concept of citizen help, it is likely that their levels of public support will diminish.

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