Ethical Research in Criminal Justice


EthicalResearch in Criminal Justice

ConductingEmpirical Research in Criminal Justice

The Role ofthe Commander of Patrol Division

Around the world,patrol division forms the largest function in the police department.The commander of patrol division reports to the chief of police andhe or she is responsible for all patrol division operations (Andresenand Lau, 2014). To ensure that the division conducts its operationsefficiently, the commander possesses divisional authority in areas ofdiscipline, service, and policy and acts according to the necessarydirectives as dictated by the law. Moreover, he or she ensures thatthe patrol officers spend their time preventing crime from happening,carrying out special duties from supervisors, and also answering toemergency calls from the public.

Police patrolagencies have become beneficial in the prevention of crime anddisorder in the recent years in cities around the world (Fan, 2016).Andresen et al., (2014) observed that the patrol division had playeda significant role in police efforts to prevent crime from occurring,as these police officers form a part of police resources. Also, on adaily basis, the patrol officers have been on the front line inaddressing citizen concerns and crime (Fan, 2016).


“Effects ofpatrol division officers on crime prevention”


To what extentcan increase in police patrols reduce crime in the city of BurlingtonMassachusetts?


This researchwill focus on applied research because the aim will be to find outwhether the policy of increasing police patrols can reduce crime inBurlington Massachusetts. If not, how is it deficient, can this planbe improved? Or can this program be discontinued, continued, orchanged? The answers from these questions would be used to improve ormodify the policies used to deter crime in respective areas.

The study willalso use quantitative research design. A survey method will be usedto obtain data directly from patrol police officers and citizens ofBurlington Massachusetts. Also, data will be collected fromquasi-government agencies or the government. The data include recordsof victim and offender characteristics, information about handlingand disposal of cases, and also records of criminal events (Maxfield,2015).

The NationalIncident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and Uniform Crime Reports(UCR) provide information about criminal acts familiar to the policeand arrested criminal behaviors (Maxfield, 2015). A meta-analysisapproach will be used to analyze findings from various studies ofcrime prevention. Results from multiple studies will be pulledtogether to make cause and effect empirical statements.

Importance ofEmpirical Research in Criminal Justice

Relevance ofcrime prevention through increased police patrol

It is importantto study whether or not an increase in police patrols would reducecrime because public officials and citizens believe that the morepolice presence they have, the less crime they will experience.Contrary, social scientists argue that this scenario is not true.They believe that police do less to curb crime in the context oflabor markets and the family. Recent research shows that crime rateshave decreased in cities where the number of police patrols has beenincreased (Andresen, et al., 2014). Therefore it is imperative toconduct an empirical research to prove that indeed, criminalbehaviors can be reduced by increasing the number and frequency ofpolice patrols. Moreover, by carrying out this research, not onlywill citizens, policy makers, and public officials get anunderstanding of criminality and crime, but also they will be able tocome up with the best policy programs that work in the areas of crimeprevention and law enforcements corrections.

Ethics &ampEmpirical Research

Ethicalprocedures that reduces harm to participants

This researchwill only be carried out if its risks can be justified andparticipation of individuals is informed and voluntary. The studywill avoid coercing police officers and citizens to give information.Moreover, the study will avoid using personal data instead, it willuse aggregate data, and challenges will be dealt with by seekingprofessional advice from other researchers.

Secondly, I willhonor commitments made to respondents by handling all the datacollected from participants with care to avoid using this informationagainst them, ensuring that there is mutual trust between therespondents and me through effective communication and honoring thepromises made to the participants.


To exerciseobjectivity, the research will avoid studying individuals whoseinformation will bring biases to the research project, be honestabout the research, avoid subjectivity, and also avoid all instancesthat would exhibit personal biases, values, beliefs, and prejudices.

Confidentialityand privacy of the respondents

When conductingthis research, ethical considerations regarding confidentiality andinformed consent would be employed. Sometimes, criminal justiceresearch requires participants to reveal relevant information, someof which may not be disclosed to the public or the authority. Thisstudy is therefore obligated to protect such data so that it may notharm the respondents. According to Banks (2016), criminologicalresearch accuracy is determined in large by confidentiality.

Collaborationof a local college or university and a local community organization

Other studiesrelating to Crime reduction through an increase in police patrolscould work together with the local communities or schools to achievea common goal. To ensure that this collaboration works, theresearcher should ensure that data is accessible to theseorganizations, avoid instances that would create a conflict ofinterest, and list down the result limitations especially if theresearch has policy implications. According to Banks (2016), it isimportant for researchers to educate the community and localcommunities of the need to keep the information of participantsconfidential.

Protection ofhuman subjects by IRB

The IRB ensuresthat human participants are protected as subjects according to theBelmont Report ethical principles. Banks (2016) observed that the IRBensures that the benefits and risks of a research project are managedappropriately and are acceptable, ensures that participants are wellinformed about the study and its potential risks, ensures thatparticipants are not coerced to participate in a research, and theirlives are not endangered in any way.


Better guidanceon how to monitor and review empirical research includes ensuringthat researchers not only disclose appropriate information, but alsothey ensure that participants understand the information and theirrespective choices throughout the research. Moreover, additionalprotection is needed for a vulnerable population. Examples ofsensitive individuals include drug abusers, children, andinstitutionalized persons.


Andresen, M. A.,&amp Lau, K. C. (2014). An evaluation of police foot patrols inLower Lonsdale,

BritishColumbia. Police Practice &amp Research, 15(6), 476-489.

Banks, C. (2016).Criminal Justice Ethics: Theory and Practice. London: SAGEPublications.

Fan, M. D.(2016). Violence and Police Diversity: A Call for Research. BrighamYoung University Law Review, 2015(4), 875-914.

Maxfield G.M.(2015). Basics of Research Methods for Criminal Justice andCriminology. Boston: Cengage Learning.