Female Police Officers Can be Just as Effective as Men in Protecting Citizens from Criminal Behavior

Female Police Officers Can be Just as Effective as Men in Protecting Citizens from Criminal Behavior

Introduction

The number of personnel in the police force determines the rate at which crimes happen. If there are more police officers, there will be less crimes and vice versa. Some factors facilitate the connection between the number of officers and the rate at which crimes occur. 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. However, several studies have shown that female officers can be even more effective in preventing crimes than their male colleagues, because women prefer peaceful communication to brutality and inspire trust in citizens.

Effectiveness of Female Police Officers in Protecting Citizens from Criminal Behavior

In America, the 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), during the last forty years, several studies have illustrated that women officers are not so authoritative in policing work and they rarely rely on physical force while addressing a crime situation. One fact about a crime is that if citizens are approached in a less authoritative way and without physical force, they are likely to refrain from criminal behavior. Female officers are better communicators than their male colleagues 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 using physical force and authority, female officers will take advantage of their communication skills. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, both genders are equally effective in stopping criminal activities.

For instance, 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 people, and were able to handle these situations as efficiently as male 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 of the Journal of Police Science and Administration, conducted a review of the role of women in the U.S. police force and discovered that female officers effectively carried out policing job by defusing rather violent situations (Spillar, 2015).

Various researches carried out in the U.S. and internationally show that women officers do not rely on violence when dealing with a crime situation (Lonsway, Moore, Harrington, Smeal, & Spillar, 2003). Due to their excellent communication skills, women officers gain cooperation and trust from citizens, thus being able to protect people 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.

In some cases, female police officers are even more efficient than their male colleagues. For example, domestic violence and partner homicide are criminal behaviors that affect many citizens. Female officers have been found to facilitate the decline of domestic violence, partner homicide and domestic abuse (Miller & Segal, 2013). Besides, women representation in the police department facilitates reporting of domestic crimes, as victims feel the sense of belonging while reporting to a fellow female. Therefore, increasing the number of women officers in the ranks contributes to prevention of domestic violence.

As can be seen from the above examples, the main advantage of female police officers consists in that they prefer communication to brutality. “More women officers defuse violent policing style” in the sense that they can handle a situation without using 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 male officers. Thus, female officers end up becoming more efficient at protecting citizens from criminal behavior. A 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 protecting citizens from criminal behavior.

Moreover, women have been proved to make equally reasonable decisions as their male counterparts. According to a research study 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. Female and male officers were found to make the same decisions when arresting citizens, which means that women are as good as men in the police practice (Novak et al., 2010).

However, 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 men in the police force, although they use other approaches 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 dealing with violence. Male officers will employ force even in a situation that could have been otherwise resolved without it. Moreover, instead of protecting citizens from criminal behavior, male officers often unintentionally encourage potential criminals to commit crime. Citizens will often argue out that if the male officer can get violent, they also are obliged to do the same.

Conclusion

The work of the police force is mainly to protect the citizens from criminal behavior and enforce law and order. However, there are ways of ensuring law and order that could turn out to be harmful for citizens. As seen earlier, the police force 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 their female colleagues. However, many studies have proved that women can be equally and even more effective in preventing crime. According to Gaines and Miller (2016), Spillar (2015) and other authors, unlike men, female police officers avoid brutality and take advantage of their good communication skills which are vital in resolving and defusing potentially violent situations. Therefore, even though women officers look physically weaker than their male counterparts, their communication skills and the trust they induce in people make women not less efficient in protecting citizens from criminal behavior.

 

References

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. Retrieved from http://womenandpolicing.com/pdf/newadvantagesreport.pdf

Miller A. R., & Segal, C. (2013). Do female officers improve law enforcement quality? Effects on crime reporting and domestic violence escalation. Economics. Retrieved from https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/index.php/index/research/downloadSeminarPaper/33279

Naili, H. (2015). More female officers defuse violent policing style. We.news. Retrieved from http://womensenews.org/2015/01/more-female-officers-defuse-violent-policing-style/

Novak K.J., Brown R. A., & Frank, J. (2010). Women on patrol: an analysis of differences in officer arrest behavior. UNCFSU. Retrieved from http://www.uncfsu.edu/Documents/Criminal-Justice/PDF/Brown%208.pdf

Sherman, L. W. (n.d.) Chapter eight: Policing for crime prevention. NCJRS. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/works/chapter8.htm

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. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/07/02/how-more-female-police-officers-would-help-stop-police-brutality/