Issue - Hispanic Communities & the Underreporting of Crime
Issue: Hispanic Communities & the Underreporting of Crime
The crisis at the southern border has caused cities across the nation to face an increase in Hispanic immigrants moving to their cities, a cause of concern to police departments as immigrants can be more vulnerable to crime and are typically less likely to report a crime. The language barrier and lack of understanding of the legal system are large contributors to the challenges that police departments face when policing Hispanic communities.
As the recent economic downturn has plagued the economy, local government officials have had to restructure their budgets as the migrant communities move throughout the states, law enforcement agencies are challenged with the underreporting of crimes due to fear of deportation, language barrier, police corruption in their home countries, and lack of resources and knowledge of the criminal justice system.
Social factors impact communities and crime, Hispanics are the largest racial/ethnic minority group in the United States. In the 2020 Census, the City of Tampa saw a 23 percent increase in the Hispanic population, bringing the total Hispanic population to almost 30 percent – a trend seen in most major cities.
With the advent of the new age in technology, companies have completely integrated themselves with all the recent changes that have taken place. Underreporting of crimes has significant ramifications on the structure of a police department and how personnel are deployed. Crime statistics guide police executives in determining the number of officers allocated to a certain area, funding, training and equipment, and other resources needed to address crime trends.
Prepare a policy that directs Community Outreach Programs to the Hispanic community and clearly outlines the role of the Hispanic Liaison. Being the Hispanic Liaison should not be a secondary role or assignment and will be most efficient if issues in the community can be brought directly to the executive staff.
Establishing trust with the Hispanic community is of the utmost importance to reduce factors that contribute to the underreporting of crimes. Law enforcement agencies need to establish a robust community outreach program with at least one officer serving as a liaison for Hispanics to the police department. Through the outreach program, the Hispanic Liaison can host community meetings and provide education on police policies and procedures. Having a dedicated Spanish-speaking officer readily available to assist with issues affecting the Hispanic community will help bridge the gap.