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# Analysis of issue - Prosecuting petty crimes... pls critique

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Analysis of issue - Prosecuting petty crimes... pls critique [#permalink]

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23 Oct 2009, 11:59
“Laws pertaining to relatively minor crimes must be vigorously enforced if a society hopes to stop more serious crimes.”
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.

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Many social scientists believe that enforcement of petty crimes helps prevent the occurrence of more serious crimes. There can be two possible reasons for this: First, police statistics show that the criminals who commit petty crimes are often the same criminals who commit more serious crimes. In many instances, police have caught serious criminials based on information they obtained during the arrest and prosecution of the criminal for his or her petty crimes. In cases where these criminals were not immediately caught, they committed another serious crime before getting caught.

Second, the prosecution of petty crimes is believed to discourage criminals from committing more serious crimes. When Rudolph Guiliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he promised to reduce crime in the city. When he took office, he ordered police to arrest "window washers", people who stood at traffic lights and washed windshields of motorists and demanded money for their service. This practice was illegal in New York City, but was never enforced. In his autobiography, Rudy Guiliani says that this was part of a strategy meant to reduce the overall crime rates, and claims that this was what eventually led to plummeting crime rates in New York City during the 1990's.

While it is difficult to clearly explain the link between the prosecution of petty crimes to the prevention of more serious crimes, studies have proven this link to be true. A study done by group at known Massechusetts college placed garbage on the street in front of a "no parking" sign, and watched how many motorists obeyed the sign. They conducted the same observation after removing the garbage, and were surprised to find a much lower percentage of violators than in the first group.
Analysis of issue - Prosecuting petty crimes... pls critique   [#permalink] 23 Oct 2009, 11:59
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