Commonly, people are law-abiding of their countries, but this perfectness is often violated, and, as Tyler (2006) puts it, “everyone breaks the law sometimes, and some people break it often”. For example, plenty of people refuse to pay the taxes, and they use illegal drugs, and drive while drunk. The task of the authorities is to make the effective decisions and laws that are effective, so the public will follow them. The government regulations must make the public act according to compliance with the law. Nevertheless, in some cases, people tend to behave incompliantly, disobeying the law. The understanding of the reason why people obey or disobey the law is curious matter for legal authorities and their critics. This paper explores the common behavior of citizens regarding the law and surveys why people disobey or obey it.
In the 21st century, the governments of different countries establish the laws for their citizens to obey; however, police is the organ in charge of control of people obeying them. The important thing in making the people follow the regulations is their image of the police officers and the level of trust. The attitude to the modern police characterizes as a mixed or a positive one, counting on various interpretations. The evaluation of police shows that it is among the most admired and trusted organizations of modern society. However, some people, especially disadvantaged and the youngsters are wary of the police, but they suggest plenty of things for improvement. Thus, Gallagher, Maguire, Mastrofski, and Reisig (2001) claim that “Although police appear to enjoy legitimacy with the majority of people in even the groups who are most disaffected, police leaders should not be complacent.” Public dissatisfaction is rather dangerous, as it can cause problems concerning the people’s willingness to obey the law. Such groups as ‘victims’ of policing can undermine confidence to the police organizations. For this reason, the policing should produce the strategies that will make people obey the law anyway.
Before working with these strategies, police officers must prepare themselves carefully. First, having created the tactics and strategies, police officers must train to implement these strategies to react to the active crime patterns or the problem. Secondly, police officers must communicate with people in a proper way, prompting them to follow the regulations established by the government. Thirdly, Bruce (2008) is of the opinion that they have “to understand the difference between tactical intervention in patterns and series and strategic intervention in long‐term problems” (p. 7). Just knowing the mass of available strategies and tactics is not enough for police officers. Police organizations must exert the interventions to chronic problems and emerging patterns. Thus, they use formal and informal methods for doing so.
Informal methods include an initiative of an officer, which reveals itself in the strategy of personal officers’ assimilation, strategic planning, and the adoption of the analysts’ recommendations and information. Using this strategy, a police patrol becomes suspect-oriented and it has to warn the community members about the possible dangers. A supervisor’s initiative relies on the investigations and operations of supervisors to act according to their own accords and to grip the information. A community initiative is based on the principle of community members’ initiative to create crime prevention tools.
Formal methods include the crime-directed protocols that make the officers follow tactics recommended by crime analysts. According to Bruce (2008), “Such protocols put a lot of power into the hands of analysts but can generate resentment within the agency if not handled carefully” (p. 8). The analysts obtain huge rights to handle the people behavior. Another strategy is problem-solving teams that are in charge of any criminal activity in the community. They usually patrol the area and receive calls from hot places to react immediately and solve the problem that might have arisen.
Police strategies serve in increasing the effort, increasing the risks, reducing the rewards, reducing provocations, and removing excuses. By obeying the law and following some strategies, people can save themselves from nasty accidents. Increasing the effort tactic helps people secure themselves and the structure bases by using steering immobilizers and column locks, establishing anti-robbery screens, and tamper-proof packs. Thus, Ronald Clarke (2004) suggests that to protect their facilities, people must use “entry phones, electronic card access, baggage screening.” These measures needed to give access to property only for the owners. Public security is more difficult to maintain for the police. That is why they recommend for the public places, such as cafes, pubs, shops, and transport, to require ticket for exit, export documents, make separate bathrooms for women, and disperse pubs.
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The tactic of increasing risks aims to extend guardianship, assist natural surveillance, and reduce anonymity. Obeying the law, inhabitants secure their facilities and themselves taking routine precautions as they “go out in-group at night, leave signs of occupancy at houses, carry phone” (Clarke, 2004). The utilities are in charge of reducing crime improving street lighting, making defensible space design, and support whistleblower. No crime will occur, if such measures as red light cameras, burglar alarms, and security guards will be used by people.
The police tactic of reducing the rewards should make people obey the law in public places and at home. People must avoid “off-street parking, gender-neutral phone directories, and unmarked bullion trucks” (Clarke, 2004). This strategy is also good to secure people’s properties. They have to mark their property, license their vehicle and mark parts as well as brand their cattle. The shops, markets, and hypermarkets should also obey appropriate laws, monitor pawnshops, and there must be controls on classified ads and licenses for street vendors. Following the law and removing excuses strategy always defend the citizens from crimes committed against them or their facilities. Set rules exist for everyone to obey, which makes it necessary to have rental agreements, harassment codes, or hotel registrations. Alert conscience actions must address such issues as fixing roadside speed display boards and the control of drugs and alcohol consumption.
The effective strategy of making people obey the law presupposes the existence of a punishment; nobody wants the police officers to catch and punish them. This is often the reason for the people to obey all laws strictly. The citizens’ experiences guide them to evaluate the risks accurately to avoid being imprisoned or pay a giant fine. A good example of such a punishment can be that of a drunk driver, whom the police stop to check his documents. According to the law, being drunk while driving has the penalty of the prohibition to drive, taking away the driver’s license, and even sending an individual to prison or having to pay a gigantic penalty. These regulations motivate the drivers not to drink and they truly work.
One more variant of law-obeying strategy is social relations with family, friends, and peers as well as normative values. As Tyler (2006) notes, “Concerns about social relations reflect the influence of other people’s judgments; normative values reflect a person’s own ethical views” (p. 23). Social groups decompensate and act as authorities that can punish their comrades by conferring and withholding the signs of group respect and status. Moreover, the people in the community channel material resources away or toward from certain community members who have committed some crime. Public authorities do not control the particular variations of costs and rewards; however, they operate in the same way as public disincentives and incentives produce. Tyler (2006) claims that “In focusing on peer group pressures, the deterrence literature has recently documented that law breaking is strongly related to people’s judgments about the sanctions or rewards their behavior elicits from members of their social group” (p. 24). People resist committing crimes that their friends and family will suppose unmoral and consequently, sanction them.
The influence of a group also applies normative pressure on individuals because they always ask their social groups for the facts about relevant conduct. The normative climate produced by others strongly affects people’s behavior. The individual’s own normative values distinguish between the appropriate or wrong actions, and they have the final influence on the social behavior of people since, as Tyler (2006) claims, “Normative influences respond to factors different from those affected by considerations of reward and punishment” (p. 24). People focus not on the individual loss or gain in a given situation but on the connection between different kinds of possible behavior and the evaluations of what etiquette is appropriate.
The main feature of normative elements, which differentiates them from thoughts of punishment and reward, is that people voluntarily abide by rules more often than they respond to the outer situation. This moral norm internalized quality of people existence, but as Tangney, Stuewig, and Mashek (2007) state, Living a moral, constructive life is defined by a weighted sum of countless individual, morally relevant behaviors enacted day in and day out (plus an occasional particularly self-defining moment). As imperfect human beings, however, our behavior does not always bear a one-to-one correspondence to our moral standards. (p. 346)
Although people have certain normative sets and attempt to follow them, there is always the temptation to avoid them and live freely.
Therefore, despite the fact that almost all citizens are law-abiding, everybody breaks the law sometimes, and those people need policing strategies to make them obey the laws. Thus, many people break the regulations by not paying taxes, or using illegal drugs, although they can commit serious crimes such as driving drunk. The authorities’ task is to make effective laws and strategies to implement for the public to follow them. The police usually utilize the protection strategies as well as punishment tactics. Moreover, the police officers must be trained to communicate with citizens and explain them the regulations and reasons why people need to obey them. The experiments show that these tactics are usually effective and they make people obey the regulations created by the government.