Social Interactionist Theory

Topics: Police, Crime, Criminology Pages: 4 (1337 words) Published: April 23, 2012
The Social Interactionist Theory is a term used to describe how people react to toward things or events based on what they think that particular situation means to them (Stevens, pg 62, 2011). This theory explains in many ways why some criminals act hostile toward police officers even in instances where an arrest was not initially necessary, human beings act toward things on the basis of the meaning they have ( In a study performed by John Kavanagh, he investigated over 1,000 arrests made in New York City’s bus terminal, and the study found that in most cases the police officer was in some disrespected by the suspect which resulted in the arrest. This study proves that in a lot of misdemeanor cases the law violation isn’t the determining factor in the arrest it’s the level of respect demonstrated by the suspect (Stevens, pg 62, 2011). In some cases the social interactionist theory can also explain why some police officers go into a certain situation with disrespectful or vigilante attitude.

Tact deployments are usually unannounced raids on homes or areas that police believe is in involved in some kind of illegal activity and too dangerous to send in your typical uniform officers. In many of these raids the suspects feel violated and disrespected, at times innocent bystanders are confronted and the wrong areas are targeted, both of these factors cause citizens to lase out toward police officers and increase the level of disrespect. These individuals tend to feel that they are being targeted because of the neighborhood or because they are of a certain race (Cole, and Smith, 2009 pg 189).When the police suspects or innocent bystanders feel they have been violated they typically feel they have ground for forming a grievance or even pursuing legal action(Stevens, pg 62, 2011). The police not only receive disrespect from people in underprivileged areas they also are disrespected by...

References: Smith E., Christopher, and Cole F. George. American System of Criminal Justice, The. 2009.
Stevens J., Dennis. Media and criminal justice: the CSI effect. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011.
"Symbolic Interactionism Theory ." N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar 2011
Stevens J., Dennis. Media and criminal justice: the CSI effect. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011
Cappel P., Robert. S.W.A.T. team manual. Paladin Pr, 1979.
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