Paper Example on Prejudice in Police Profiling and Components of Effective Policing

Paper Type:  Course work
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  426 Words
Date:  2022-09-10


Profiling in the context of law enforcement is an essential technique for deterring criminal behaviors. However, the bias in police profiling has negatively impacted policing strategies. This situation has led to discriminatory police practices during interrogations, arrests, and interdictions (Wilson, Dunham, & Alpert, 2004). Prejudice in profiling is unlawful and unfair, considering that it targets innocent citizens. Reliance on racial and ethnic profiling, thus, is not an effective policing tool since it is counterproductive and does not improve hit rates.

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Law enforcement agencies should focus on a person's behavior rather than race, sexual orientation, and stereotypes. Racial and ethnic characteristics do not define a person's tendency to commit a crime since such practices change from time to time (Cleary, 2000). During the 1970s, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) used racial characteristics to identify individuals transporting illegal drugs. DEA noted that the arrests were not in proportion to ethnic and racial groups since they have been changing from time to time (Cleary, 2000). This example suggests that racial profiling is not a useful policing tool since it can lead to the arrest of innocent people. The outcome is that the police will likely miss law-breakers who do not fit the profile.

Police profiling, based on a person's physical appearance, negatively affects community-police relations. This situation leads to decreased cooperation between specific groups of people and law enforcement agencies. In this way, the approach is counterproductive if used as a policing technique since people who lose confidence in police will not likely report criminal behaviors in their neighborhoods. The reason is that the disadvantaged groups tend to hold negative attitudes towards police (Weitzer, & Tuch, 2002). Also, such profiles are not based on specific intelligence and, therefore, do not promote proactive policing (Cirou, 2010).


In conclusion, law enforcement agencies should not use profiling based on stereotyping, race, and prejudice as a component of effective policing tools. This approach adversely impacts police-community relations and, thus, does not enhance proactive policing. Also, it is a counterproductive method since criminals who do not fit specific profiles go undetected.


Cirou, F. (2010). Towards More Effective Policing. Understanding and Preventing Discriminatory Ethnic Profiling: A Guide. DOI: 10.2811/40252

Cleary, J. (2000). Racial profiling studies in law enforcement: Issues and methodology. Research Department, Minnesota House of Representatives. Retrieved 5 October 2019, from

Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S. A. (2002). Perceptions of racial profiling: Race, class, and personal experience. Criminology, 40(2), 435-456. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2002.tb00962.x

Wilson, G., Dunham, R., & Alpert, G. (2004). Prejudice in Police Profiling. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(7), 896-909. DOI: 10.1177/0002764203261069

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