LSJ 375 Paper: To Profile or Not?
July 18, 2011
Profiling is a part of everyday life, it is impossible not to since it is how we judge and perceive society. We subconsciously profile to be aware of our surroundings, and put a person within a certain context, allowing us to place them in some part of society. These judgments may not always be right, but they will always be formed. Police use profiling in their jobs, using their previous experience in the field as a way to determine or find a criminal. The use of profiling in police work is a controversial topic and constantly being studied and explored in efforts to make sure they are fair and just. It is a written unconstitutional practice and can be applied to the University District in Seattle. This part of Seattle is somewhat dirty, and has a fair amount of homeless citizens. The college environment attracts many homeless, since usually they are young adults themselves. These vagrants are referred to as “ave rats” and roam mainly on University Way, pestering pedestrians for money, food, or anything; usually to no avail since their man subjects are college students who are poor themselves. Unfortunately these homeless people tend to be dirty and disheveled, giving the Ave a bad name. Along with lowering the caliber of the Ave, violence tends to increase with the homeless population. The main crime is theft, and many college students have been victims, with the suspects being poor young adults, fitting the description of these “ave rats”. The use of profiling by police could help lower theft rate on the Ave, creating a safer environment for college students.
The act of prejudice and profiling has been a long contested issue in law enforcement. It is seen as unfair and biased, allowing police to pester innocent people based off their physical characteristics. There are two different arguments toward profiling, one being the civil libertarian outlook, which believes that “disparities in...