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Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Trends Essay

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Updated: Jun 23rd, 2020


The criminal justice system has undergone several adjustments. These trends do not seem to be ceasing any time soon. For instance, the law enforcement department has experienced brilliant developments in the past generation. Its future is indeed promising. Through the classic duty of law enforcers includes crime inquiry, the crime department has increased its mandates to include other issues such as averting crime and lowering crime rates.

The contemporary law enforcement is not only reactive but also proactive. Technology has quickly become an essential component in policing unlike the previous generation. Hence, as technology transforms, the activities of law enforcers also change. This paper discusses some of these developments in the law enforcement department and its anticipated future. Moreover, the paper will discuss the budgetary and managerial impact that future trends will have on the department of criminal justice system.

According to Schaible and Sheffield (2012), numerous population adjustments will influence policing, particularly in America. It is anticipated that the population of non-Hispanics will reduce to 50% in 2020. This observation implies that Hispanics will increase in number. Since the increased population of Hispanics will demand more attention, it implies that other races such as African-Americans will be secluded. Statistical findings reveal that African-Americans will maintain a population growth of 20% in 2050. Interracial marriages will influence how law enforces conduct their policing since people will cease to identify themselves in terms of ethnic or racial alignment (Baker & Das, 2013).

The current generation differs from previous populations because it is willing to reveal its private information voluntarily. The observation is evident in social media where subscribers share information, which might be considered private by the entire society. This divergence from the previous generation will make it easy for police officers to conduct investigations and even prevent crime easily. Nonetheless, the trend in the growing population reveals a rising situation of drug use. Addictive drugs are considered a health problem rather than a criminal offence. With such perceptions, the use of drug abuse will become a norm, unless doctors suggest otherwise (Baker & Das, 2013).

Changes in Science and Technology

Technology has the impact of creating new types of crimes whilst providing other means of preventing and managing crime. Future technological innovations will definitely create new forms of crime. For instance, the emergence and dependence on the internet has generated new forms of crime such as cybercrime whose popularity is growing at a daunting rate. Technological advancement may even exacerbate the situation to an extent that cybercrime will be conducted by avatars. This case will make it difficult to arrest the main perpetrators, especially where there are no laws that hinder such acts. Japanese people have already had an experience of an avatar (Kostelac, 2008).

In 2008, a woman was apprehended for damaging the avatar of her former spouse. The significance of such offenses is likely to increase in the near future. Laws need to be flexible and/or remain in tandem with the advancement in technology, failure to which law enforcers will find it strenuous to prevent or control crime. Criminals should never be given an opportunity to outwit police officers. As individuals’ reliance on the internet persists, the emerging type of offenses such as hate speech, child pornography, and sexting will increase. Many offenders have already been imprisoned because of their demeaning character in the internet (Baker & Das, 2013).

Technology will also provide criminals who will have other options of committing their evils. For instance, drugs will be transported by submarines, which are not closely monitored by security officers. Therefore, it is important for law enforcers to use devices that will help in manning such criminal acts. However, the use of technological advancements to counter crime will be influenced by social and economic views. For instance, the law enforcement sector has received fervent opposition on using tasers, especially after the discovered that it attracts deaths. Courts have also decreed against DNA testing. They cite that law enforcers do not have that liberty to do it.

Furthermore, the fear that one can alter such sensitive information has cast doubts among people, thus providing even more reasons to oppose the use of such devices. Indeed, as technology advances, new modes of getting information from suspects such as facial appearance, racial background, and the use of DNA are worrying in terms of how the public will receive such ideas (Schaible & Sheffield, 2012). Moreover, technology may also bring about general advanced means of punishing offenders. For instance, cybercrime might be controlled by forbidding offenders from using them through detective devices. These devices can be connected to law enforcement databases so that police officers stand a chance to monitor such offenders and/or prevent reoccurrence of any offenses.

Economic Trend and its Influence on Law enforcement

According to Baker and Das (2013), economic crisis of the previous years has had a destructive impact on domestic and the law enforcement economies. Budget cuts have hampered the activities of law enforcers. This impact is likely to last for a decade. Hence, it is important for law enforcers to begin designing new methods of providing their services to the public. Economic downturn has increased the rate of unemployment. It is anticipated that Americans will remain jobless for a long time. Unemployment will encourage a rise in criminal activities since individuals will seek other means of survival.

Economic recession compelled law enforcement leaders to develop a means of providing quality services. Considering the issues of staffing, a growing trend is evident in terms of provision of quality policing using few employees. A recent study by the National Association of Counties has revealed that about 50% of the US counties have adopted the idea of using fewer police officers to serve people. The cost of managing employees has been reduced through layoffs, compulsory furloughs, and abrasion.

This decline is evident in the number of officers who are expected to serve a given population. In 2004, 250 officers were expected to handle 100,000 individuals. However, the number has reduced dramatically. For instance, in 2011, approximately 184 police officers were expected to serve the same population of 100, 000. The effectiveness of this idea will depend on whether technological advancement is used as an alternative for the laid-off officers. Some agencies have acquired a new trend of rehiring officers who have been laid-off whenever that needs arises (Meade, 2010).

The idea of retrenching personnel has reduced the quality of service delivery. For instance, statistical findings indicate that some agencies do not respond to non-injury accidents, burglar alarms and carjacking reports. There is an increasing complaint among the public that police officers have been providing poor services since the budget was cut.

Apart from poor services, a reduction in training programs has been witnessed in an effort to concur with the available budget. Moreover, law enforcers are encouraging community policy as a means of reducing the burden that the remaining law enforcers have to endure. In line with this observation, many agencies are also resorting to civilianization. Civilianization entails hiring civilians who have not been sworn to work as police officers. It is cheaper in relation to hiring sworn officers because it reduces the cost of training and salaries (Kostelac, 2008).

Changes in the Environment

Climate change has proved to affect almost every sector of human life. Law enforcement is not immune to this effect. Climate change has caused internal refugees to flee from harsh climates. This situation may tamper with demographic distribution, which in turn implies that crime may dramatically reduce in certain areas whilst proliferating in others. In essence, it will force the law enforcement sector to remain vigilant to the extent of reassigning its officers to certain areas when necessary as noted by Meade (2010).


Just like any criminal justice department, policing agencies have been affected by the witnessed adjustment in technology, population, changes in climate, and the economic recession. Economic downturn caused a trend that was characterized by a reduction of personnel and the maximization of service delivery. Technology has created new crimes that are not precisely addressed by the existing laws. This situation has resulted in poor prevention of such crimes. Nonetheless, police officers have adopted the use of advanced investigation devices. However, public opposition has hampered this move since it interferes with social values. Indeed, the future trend of law enforcement will be affected by a myriad of issues. Nevertheless, stakeholders should not withdraw from addressing these issues.

Reference List

Baker, F. & Das, K. (2013). Trends in Policing: Interviews with Police Leaders across the Globe. New York, NY: CRC Press.

Kostelac, A. (2008). The Changing Face of Police Organizations: Trends in Civilianization. Michigan, MI: ProQuest.

Meade, E. (2010). Scanning the Future of Law Enforcement: A Trend Analysis. Futurist, 44(4), 22-25.

Schaible, M., & Sheffield, J. (2012). Intelligence-led policing and change in state law enforcement agencies. Policing, 35(4), 761-784.

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