The number of personnel in the police force determines the rate at which crime happens. If there are more police officers, then the crimes happening will be less and vice versa. Some factors facilitate the connection between the number of officers and the rate at which crime occurs. Police officers should be stationed in areas of high crime occurrence, at the right time, with the right response facilities and with specific objectives (Sherman, n.d.). The police should also conduct random and directed patrols to ensure that crime is reduced. The police force is comprised of both males and females and some people believe that male officers are more effective in protecting citizens from criminal behavior as compared to their female counterparts. This paper, however, seeks to discuss and illustrate how female police officers are equally effective in preventing crime.
Effectiveness of Female Police Officers in Protecting Citizens from Criminal Behavior
In America, police brutality has been on the rise and there is one solution that is being overlooked for this problem; hiring more women into the police force (Spillar, 2015). Women are known to create a better police institution as they are less violent and physically weaker as compared to men. According to Spillar (2015), for the last Forty years, studies have illustrated that women officers are not so much authoritative in policing work and they rarely rely on physical force while addressing a crime situation. One fact about a crime is that if the citizens are approached in a less authoritative approach and physical force is absent, then they are likely to refrain from criminal behavior. Female officers are better effective communicators as compared to the male officers and such a trait helps in resolving equally violent confrontations long before they become deadly (Spillar, 2015). While male officers would handle such a situation by use of physical force and authority, female officers will use their communication skills. At the end of the day, both genders are equally effective in stopping criminal activities.
According to findings from a study conducted in 1974 and one that was sponsored by the Police Foundation, female officers encountered the same situations as their male counterparts; such as drunken individuals, violent and angry individuals, and the women were able to handle these situations as efficiently as the men officers (Spillar, 2015). Other studies support the same idea of women officers being as effective as men in protecting citizens from criminal behavior. Joseph Balkin; a researcher with the Journal of Police Science and Administration, had a review of the American research on the role of women in the police force; and he discovered that female officers effectively carried out policing job by defusing rather violent situations (Spillar, 2015).
Domestic violence and partner homicide are criminal behaviors that most citizens engage. Female officers have been found to facilitate the decline of domestic violence, partner homicide and domestic abuse (Miller & Segal, 2013). Women representation in the police department facilitates more reporting of domestic related crimes as the victims feel the sense of belonging while reporting to a fellow female. Therefore, increasing the number of women officers in the ranks is effective in stopping domestic violence.
“More women officers defuse violent policing style” in the sense that they can handle the situation without the use of physical force thus preventing finalities such as death and disabilities (Naili, 2015, n.p.). Women officers are less likely to involve themselves in fights as compared to the male officers. The female officers end up becoming better than male officers at protecting citizens from criminal behavior. Women are known to rely on interpersonal skills while handling violence thus become as effective as their men counterparts (Naili, 2015). According to a study published by the Washington D.C Police Foundation, female police officers were found to be more effective in handling and preventing violent situations as compared to male officers (Naili, 2015). The reason as to why female officers are found to be more effective than male officers is that they refrain from using force and brutality. Another study by the National Center for Women and Policing that was released in 2002 confirmed the same phenomena (Naili, 2015). Women can be described as social workers at heart and thus their effectiveness in protecting citizens from criminal behavior.
According to research conducted in the 1970’s, women officers made fewer citizen arrests and also had few encounters with citizens (Novak, Brown & Frank, 2010). These findings also showed that female officers were as effective as their male counterparts in policing job. Female and male officers were found to make the same decisions while arresting citizens; thus, making them equally effective (Novak et al., 2010).
Various researches carried out in the U.S and internationally show that women officers do not rely on violence while attending to a crime situation (Lonsway et al., 2003). Due to their excellent communication skills, women officers gain cooperation and trust from the citizens and are thus able to protect the citizens from criminal behavior. A citizen will more likely refrain from engaging in criminal behavior if they are talked out of it as compared to being harassed. Men officers can also protect citizens from criminal behavior by use of physical force; the same way a female officer could use communication. Sexual harassment and sexual discrimination are forms of criminal behaviors. If the number of women is increased in the police departments, the problem of sexual harassment and sex discrimination can be dealt with effectively (Lonsway et al., 2003). In such a case, women officers turn out to be more effective in preventing criminal behavior as compared to their male counterparts.
The public and police forces tend to believe that women police officers are not as effective as male officers due to their physical appearance (Gaines &Miller, 2016). Due to the above notion, female officers are under constant pressure to prove that they are as effective as the men in the police force by using other criteria to enforce law and order. According to one female officer, she was always challenged by her male counterparts to be strong and act like no coward; an act that made her feel that she was not fit for the job (Gaines & Miller, 2016). However, women have proven to be more than just physical inferiors in the police department. According to various studies, women officers have been found to possess physical prowess and act bravely in crime-related situations (Gaines & Miller, 2016). Other studies have also shown that female officers are as effective as men and they sometimes become even better at resolving conflicts (Gaines & Miller, 2016). According to Gaines and Miller (2016), most citizens prefer to work with female officers as compared to male police officers. These citizens are mostly those who have faced domestic violence or sexual harassment. Women officers tend to be more understanding as compared to their male counterparts and thus prove to be more effective in solving violence. Male officers will employ force even in a situation that could have been otherwise resolved without the use of physical force. Instead of protecting citizens from criminal behavior, they encourage them the more. Citizens will often argue out that if the male officer can get violent, they also are obliged to do the same.
The work of the police force is mainly to protect the citizens from criminal behavior and enforce law and order. There is, however, ways of ensuring law and order that could turn out to cause harm to citizens. The police force as seen earlier is comprised of both male and female police officers. Some people believe that male officers are more effective at protecting citizens from criminal behavior as compared to the female officers. It is however not in line to conclude that the above is true considering that women have been seen to be more effective according to the various studies that have been discussed in this paper. Communication skills are vital in resolving and defusing potentially violent situations as opposed to using physical force. Women officers employ their communication skills in resolving crime, thus becoming more effective in the policing job.
Gaines L. K., & Miller R.L. (2016). Criminal Justice in Action: The Core. Stamford, MA: Cengage Learning.
Lonsway, K., Moore, M., Harrington, P., Smeal, E. & Spillar, K. (2003). “Hiring and Retaining More Women: The Advantages to Law Enforcement Agencies.” National Center for Women & Policing.
Miller A. R., & Segal, C. (2013). “Do female officers improve law enforcement quality? Effects on crime reporting and domestic violence escalation.” Economics.
Naili, H. (2015). “More female officers defuse violent policing style.” We.news.
Novak K.J, Brown R. A, & Frank, J. (2010). “Women on patrol: an analysis of differences in officer arrest behavior.” UNCFSU.
Sherman, L. W. (n.d.) “Chapter Eight: Policing for crime prevention.” NCJRS.
Spillar, K. (2015). “How more female police officers would help stop police brutality: Women are better at defusing violent confrontations before those encounters turn deadly.” The Washington Post.