Policing the Ghetto Underclass: The Politics of Law and Law Enforcement
Results revealed that the RDU organizes its crime control efforts around three distinct activities: the rip, or undercover drug purchases; vehicle stops; and serving warrants. The intensive surveillance of black neighborhoods and the pattern of surveillance of white neighborhoods has the general consequence of institutionalizing racism by defining crime and drug abuse as problems of young black men. Crime control policies contribute to the disruption of the family, the prevalence of single-parent families, and unemployment. Another result is the transfer of scarce resources from desperately needed social programs to criminal justice. Although the crime rate has not changed significantly in the last 20 years, the creation of a moral panic over crime has been brought about by a coalition of political, law enforcement, and media interests that accounts for the growth of the crime industry. Reversing the process will be more difficult than instituting it and will require political courage, shifts in emphasis in law enforcement, changes in media coverage, and research and dissemination of results by social scientists.