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Private Police and Order Maintenance

Private Police and Order Maintenance

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Published by Securelaw, Ltd.
This article describes, in a comprehensive way, how private policing will contribute to order maintenance--which is a critical element of homeland security.
This article describes, in a comprehensive way, how private policing will contribute to order maintenance--which is a critical element of homeland security.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Securelaw, Ltd. on Feb 04, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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SecureLaw Ltd. Phone: 312-423-670065 West Jackson Blvd., #112 Fax: 312-692-2322Chicago, IL. 60604-3598 www.securelaw.info Email: info@securelaw.info
Private Policing & Order Maintenance
This paper is designed to address a complex yet important topic: private policing. Thereare many aspects of this topic. We will focus on the key function of private policing:order maintenance. This function is not new. Indeed, it is as old as policing itself—evenolder. What makes this function distinctive can be answered in a few descriptive words:who, what, where, why, and how. Each of these factors is explained in detail below:
 — entails the notion of a division of labor, where different types or levels of workers perform different tasks.
 —entails the kinds of work that will be performed.
 —entails the locations of the work product.
 — entails the reason a division of labor needs to be applied, and the reason whycertain types of workers should or will perform these tasks.
 —entails the methods and the focus of order maintenance provisions.Consequently, while order maintenance is as old as
law and order,
there are rather new or—more accurately—innovative aspects of order maintenance that will beapplicable in the future. Underlying this approach, one must remember the goal of theterrorist or the extremist is to create chaos. The goal of civilized society is to maintainorder through the rule of law. The dynamics on how these conflicting “goals” areachieved is the essence of order maintenance. That is: the desire to protect the homeland.Security firms will perform numerous order maintenance provisions. This will entailinnovative approaches. In order to better understand how this will come about, let’sconsider the notion of order maintenance.
Theoretical and Historical Perspectives
Order maintenance is designed to control the environment in a way that makes thecommission of crime—or terrorism—more difficult to accomplish. Order maintenancetechniques and their relationship to the physical environment are relevant for severalreasons. First, from the perspective of “normal crime,” order maintenance—widelyutilized in
Community Policing
 —may prove beneficial in both reducing crime and inreducing the level of incivility or disorder 
With this thinking, many researchers believethat an area often undergoes a transition from relatively few crimes to one with a highincidence of crime or a heightened fear of crime, caused, in part, by lack of order 
The theory underlying order maintenance contends that crime problems initiallyoccur in relatively harmless activities. Drinking on the street, graffiti on buildings, and youths loitering on street corners are common activities in certain areas. If these activitiesgo unchecked, however, the level of fear and incivility begins to rise. Left to fester, more
SecureLaw Ltd. Phone: 312-423-670065 West Jackson Blvd., #112 Fax: 312-692-2322Chicago, IL. 60604-3598 www.securelaw.info Email: info@securelaw.info
2serious crimes such as gang fights or even drive-by shootings may take place. In thissense, the presence of disorder tends to reduce the social controls previously present inthe area. This results, at least in theory, in increased crime. Increased crime, particularlyserious crime, in turn contributes to the further deterioration of the physical environmentand of the economic well-being of the community.
Order maintenance theories can be traced to a line of thinking that initiallyfocused on crime ridden areas within cities. In these areas, conditions such as “physicaldeterioration, high density, economic insecurity, poor housing, family disintegration,transience, conflicting social norms, and an absence of constructive positive agencies”were deemed as contributors to criminal behavior.
Overtime, researchers started to shifttheir focus away from socioeconomic factors. Instead the focus was directed toward the physical characteristics of the community or, in other words, the “environment.”Focusing on the physical characteristics of the location where crime occurred resulted ina substantial body of research. For example, Cohen and Felson argued that thecompletion of a crime requires the convergence in time and space of an offender, asuitable target, and the “absence of guardians capable of preventing the violation.”
This focus on environmental factors was found in a number of other studies. Inkeeping with this theme, Gibbs and Erickson argued that the daily population flow inlarge cities “reduces the effectiveness of surveillance activities by increasing the number of strangers that are routinely present in the city, thereby decreasing the extent to whichtheir activities would be regarded with suspicion.”
Their conclusion is obvious: the more people in a given geographic area, the less likely strangers would be noticed. From thisthinking, natural surveillance from community residents is reduced, leading to morecrime. Lewis and Maxfield took this logic to the next level. These authors focused onspecific physical conditions within the environment, seeking to assess their impact oncrime. Their research assessed such things as abandoned buildings, teen loitering,vandalism, and drug use. They believe these factors draw little attention from police partially because the police have limited resources to effectively deal with these problems.
They are important indicators of criminality within any community.This conclusion has been echoed by a number of other authors. For example,Kelling maintained that citizens regularly report their biggest safety concerns to be thingslike “panhandling, obstreperous youths taking over parks and street corners, publicdrinking, prostitution, and other disorderly behavior.” These factors were identified as precursors to more serious crime. Moreover, the failure to remedy disorderly behaviorsmay be perceived as a sign of indifference. This indifference communicates that “no onecares”—which may, in turn, lead to more serious crime and urban decay. Consequently,the key to crime control is to address both the physical and social conditions that foster crime. By controlling or correcting these conditions, they will not fester into more seriouslevels of crime and decay.
SecureLaw Ltd. Phone: 312-423-670065 West Jackson Blvd., #112 Fax: 312-692-2322Chicago, IL. 60604-3598 www.securelaw.info Email: info@securelaw.info
3The implications of these studies were clear. When faced with disorderlyconditions, individuals tend to feel a greater exposure to risk, and have loss of controlover their immediate environment. This results in being more aware of the likelihood of acriminal attack.
This thinking advanced the concept of “situational crime prevention.”This assessment takes into account the “intersection” of potential offenders with theopportunity to commit crime. In this sense, researchers argued the commission of a particular crime could be avoided through certain preventive measures designed to reducethe offender’s ability (or even propensity) to commit crimes at specific locations
These conclusions have been embraced by both public police and private security.A key component of these preventive methods, in both the public and private sectors, isknown as order maintenance. Order maintenance is designed to improve conditionswithin a specific geographic area. This can be accomplished in a number of ways,including the rehabilitation of physical structures, the removal or demolition of seriouslydecayed buildings, and the improvement of land or existing buildings by cleaning and  painting. Other relatively simple environmental improvements are recommended, such as planting flowers, trees, or shrubs. These are designed to enhance the “look and feel” of anarea. These physical improvements, coupled with efforts to reduce or eliminate certainanti-social behaviors, such as loitering, drinking and drug usage, fighting, and other disorderly behaviors, are critical components of an order maintenance approach to crime prevention. Of course, the goal is to correct these conditions and behaviors before moreserious crimes occur. Viewed in this broad manner, “security” can encompass diversefactors, from trash collection to planting flowers to private police patrols. Each isdesigned to improve conditions within the area. With the logic derived from this line of thinking, the need to control physical conditions and public activities is paramount.The threat of terrorism will magnify this environmental focus. For example, anunattended package left on a street corner may actually be a lethal bomb. An unidentified vehicle may become a tragic and lethal explosion. With these demonstrated tactics of terrorists, the importance of an orderly and clean environment cannot be overstated.While these perceived or potential threats are difficult to remedy, this focus on theenvironment has been echoed by Kaplan, who views the environment as
securityissue of the early twenty-first century.
Discouraging crime by manipulating the environment has many facets. In thesecurity industry, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) has beenused successfully for years. This approach seeks to change certain features of theenvironment to reduce the incidence of crime. With this approach, natural surveillance isemphasized. In this thinking, the environmental design is structured so that users can seefarther and wider. In addition, CPTED encourages territorial behaviors and natural accesscontrols. As with the larger notion of order maintenance, proper care and control of thefacilities are critical.

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