Assignment 1: Confronting Gang Violence Few categories of criminal enterprise have received as much popular media attention in the United States as gang activity and gang violence. There are many movies and television shows that revolve around the lives of gangsters—especially in urban areas. Many popular hip-hop songs draw inspiration from the lives of gangsters and, in some cases, appear to glorify them. Whenever Americans think or hear about urban crime, there is an almost inevitable association with movies and television shows. However, some community leaders in urban areas reject the notion that gang activity defines big-city life. On the other hand, many law enforcement officials in smaller cities and rural areas decry the lack of attention of policy makers toward the emerging menace of gangs in their areas. Submission Details: By the due date assigned, , in a minimum of 250 words, post to the Discussion Area your responses to the following: In light of the assigned readings in this module and the Department of Justice (DOJ) report on gangs increasingly expanding their operations into the suburbs of the United States, do you share the belief of many criminal justice professionals that gang activity is getting out of control? Or do you think that gang activity is about what it has always been and needs to be confronted but that it isn’t a crisis? What are the underlying causes of gang violence—drug trade, poor immigration enforcement, or bad upbringing? What are the top two or three key elements of any successful law enforcement or police strategies in dealing with gang activity? Support your answers with your assigned readings and review of the DOJ information. Assignment 2: Library Research—Fusion Centers as a Law Enforcement Tool Since the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, there has been a real push in local law enforcement agencies—especially large ones—to incorporate intelligence-led policing techniques. A part of that strategy has been the creation of fusion centers in all fifty states intended to facilitate the sharing of police intelligence information between federal, state, and local agencies. Consider the Lambert (2010) article, “Intelligence-Led Policing in a Fusion Center” and the “US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report on Fusion Centers” in the Community Policing . The creation of fusion centers and their operations have not been without controversy. Many civil libertarians have expressed concern that instead of focusing only on real threats, fusion centers encourage the government’s suspicion toward law-abiding citizens and groups that are suspected of potential hostility toward government. Tasks: Write a 2- to 3-page paper. In the paper: Take a definitive stand, with explanations, for or against the use of fusion centers as a local law enforcement tool. Discuss how these centers may be abused to violate citizen rights. Explain the difference between the cooperation that occurs through fusion centers and that through other kinds of multiagency activities, such as task forces and joint investigations. Identify and discuss the possible steps or policies to minimize concerns that some have raised about potential abuses. Feel free to do additional research on the topic of fusion centers, beyond the reading that has been assigned to further improve your paper.
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