The major cities of the world can boast of environmental cleanliness as well as safe streets and avenues. Major cities of the world to a considerable degree can thump their chests in jest about the degree of safety for anybody walking at least on the most lighted parts of the corners and alleys. This may be attributed to the street police maintenance of law and order and the use of municipal and city by laws that regulate and ensure that the citizen enjoys his life. But well is this is enough, when we think of the darkest places the police eye is blind? In addition where the CCTV does not form part of the society watching every move is there any guarantee of security. Such areas have been reported on high crimes, drugs, murder and rape. There are areas inhabited by criminals with serious crime records to serial killers with dangerous psychological and psychosocial disorders (Jenifer, p. 41).
This paper will focus on the treatment of the homeless persons by the police as an arm of the authority. This paper supports the proposition that the police should have power to arrest the homeless in a context that seeks to improve the persons rather than taking them to behind bars. By default most of the developed countries have such areas in wide extensions that record high cases of such crime as compared to normal upcoming cities. These cities have the largest underground subways and tunnels that are meant for commuting but eventually turn into homes for the genuine homeless to the drugged persons with mental disorders.
They form families that are fairly organized into simple social structures just like the above ground society. As far as their lives are concerned the homeless do not have anywhere to spend their cold nights or even a bright sunny morning. Due to the negative perception of the mainstream society, their presence in the eyes of the authority they are ignored, castigated and stigmatized hence do not appear in the national policies and agendas of such nations. The states in fear of the repercussions of their negative attitudes to such people resort to understating their figures. The figures given do not actually come from census but from rather questionable methods of data collections (Jennifer, p. 39.)
The authorities at their best treat the homeless as people who do not need attention in any way. The authorities seem them as “irretrievable” drug addicts and mentally disabled that no programs can help save them from their self chosen paths destruction (Jenniffer, p. 40). The large number dies of strange illness, bullets. Train hits, knives in violent situations and others from high voltage shocks. As a result of drugs and chronic diseases as well as HIV/AIDS they can not even hold jobs.
The reason why police have power is due to the fact that some laws in the cities prohibit camping, sleeping and pan handling in the public spaces. These ordinances are put into enforcement despite the fact such cities lack enough houses to house every body. The laws prohibit dwelling in the downtown places thus forces many of the homeless people out of options. This results to sleeping in parks and other areas that seem prohibited by the same laws. This only aggravates the situation since it puts such persons between a rock and hard place. It is therefore safe to assume that the homeless are a creation of a society system that turns a blind to humanity. Thus if the police have to arrest them, it should be on measures that should seek to help address the issues.
When the police chase, man handle, shoot and arrest the homeless there are certain issues that should be addressed in the situation. This may be termed as violation of constitutional rights. In United States for example First Amendment gives rights to free speech and thus when the homeless are prohibited to beg yet they have no income it amounts to violation of the elements that guide the human society.
This illustrates double standards and therefore the police should not have power to arrest them. They should be given power to ‘arrest’ them in order to right the situation by incorporating them in supportive programs. These programs can focus on drug awareness and education in order to help the homeless society retrace its steps back to the main society.
The main problem that leads to homelessness as quoted by Jennifer rises from psychological impacts. These are as a result of non acceptance in the main stream society especially with the blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups in America as well as the mentally ill who may be from the white community (p. 196). Staples in his article observe that the black men are labeled as thugs just from the onset a feeling that results to merging myths and reality (Staples, p 291).
In his book Robert McNamara, (p. 41-43) observes that strategies that police can take to help the homeless is by engaging in proactive measures that seek to cooperate cities and businesses and between the homeless persons and their advocates. The police at times have been found to disrespect the human civil rights as outlined in this paper and therefore when such strategies are picked up by the police departments it changes the position. The police should have power make amends rather than to discriminate.
It has been observed that hard criminals end up committing crime after jail life forming a cycle. Some of these incarcerated persons loose their houses as well as membership into the local social assistance programs. These form the major group of homeless persons as compared to those who choose to run away from home perceived situations and scenarios. A research study done by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) indicated that most police departments did not view the homeless as much of a problem. Most of these departments thus had no formal training to deal with homelessness cases hence the use of violent and strict arresting practices. The lack of special personnel to deal with such cases is lacking (McNamara, p. 43).
McNamara sees that addressing the challenge would mean assessing the situations, establishing goals, respecting individual rights, protecting the homeless and identifying solutions among others for the case of the homeless (p. 43). The police should have power to arrest the spread of homelessness rather than to arrest the homeless persons. It would be of benefit for the police to assist the social actions programs and therefore the power vested in the police should be geared to help in the statement plan of the National Alliance to End Homelessness (National Alliance for Homelessness, p. 1).
The current police practices however arise from the pressure from the public that claims for social actions. The public opinion of their cities is one that wants the homeless gotten rid of as well as instances of begging and occupying public spaces. This has called for the criminalization of homelessness resulting to strict and harsh laws hence giving the police chances and power to arrest. This recognizes that as well as training the police to view homelessness as a social problem rather than criminal, the public also needs to be incorporated in such programs also hence tying the loose ends. This can help to wrest power away from the police and institute a new power that seeks to arrest for the cause of social change, solutions and sustainability in the public space. This should lead to respected civil rights as well as a sober society where humanity takes the fore fronts. This in tandem can only be achieved by amending the criminal justice system through changing and revising the laws and ordinances put in place (McNamara, p. 48).
In conclusion therefore, this work advocates that the police should be equipped with new power that seeks to change the situation from a social and humane point of view. Hard treatment onto the homeless criminal serves to alienate them from the society which forces them to delve deeper into crime, drugs and mugging as well as other ills. The police can therefore be a source of strength in the efforts to curb the increasing rates of homelessness use powers in a better method. By arresting the homeless it should mean the start of a comprehensive program that seeks to help rather than to justify punishment in the search of positive public opinion.
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