How Policies and Perception of the Police Affect the Homeless

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Police departments are faced with challenges on finding the balance between respecting the rights and freedom of citizens and the nature of their duties. The police should build good relationships and work together with society’s residents to solve problems that occur as a result of these homeless groups. The take up of this idea of working with the community as a whole is a concern especially if police officers have to work on areas that are unpopular within the community. Additionally, there is little research done on the relation that exists between the homeless and the police because research shows that the police have a little or no interaction with the homeless (Simpson, 2015)

There is a high growth of the homeless individuals due to inadequate affordable housing, domestic violence, poverty, changes in the labor market, diminishing public assistance and increased housing, to curb this the government should provide the communities with essential services, that provides individuals with income for them to improve their standards of living


Public perception on the homeless will be addressed, the police should do something regarding the way they view the homeless within the environment in the society. According to (Simpson, 2015) the homeless were once sympathized in the community but currently, it has turned to apathy because they commit crimes that is against the wish of the people in the community. This demands a more punitive measure to address the problem. Legislative measure should be enforced on loitering and public intoxication. Zoning laws should be impacted so that it can impose a limitation on the size and number of buildings within a community. The homeless should be forced to relocate to other areas. Similarly, they should be relocated away from the streets in major towns.

Homeless people are found in most capital cities, they are involved in crimes that always make them be in contact with police officers. There is very little understanding on police policies and how it influences the homeless in the society. This proposal seeks to analyze how policies and perception of the police affect the homeless. Survey will be performed on 200 departments of police officers. The participants in the interviews will be police officers and the homeless, in major cities and suburbs in the USA.

Research Design

This study seeks to analyze the policies and perception of the police towards the homeless. A mail- survey will be conducted on various police departments. The participants will be police officers and homeless individuals found in major cities in the USA. Convenience sampling will be used in the selection of police officers in the 200 departments as it offers an equal chance of participation. This sample size will be chosen from a list of departments available in USA. Participants will be chosen according to the size of the department. Medium sized departments will be preferred as it reflects the general trend in relation to how police normally deal with cases pertaining to homelessness. The small departments are not likely to have formal regulations concerning homelessness. Additionally, they have not endowed whit resources that offer units for on -job training to police officers compared to larger departments. Larger departments consist of 500 sworn police officers, this department is endowed with enough resources that formally address homelessness.

Medium sized departments will be considered the best opportunity because it will show ways in which police agencies address the problem pertaining to homelessness and poverty. On job training and specialized units is easily offered in this department (McNamara, Crawford, & Burns, 2013). They are in a position of formulating policies and represent a larger part of the police fraternity. This proposal will help mitigate the issue of homelessness in urban areas in USA.

Police chiefs and Sheriffs will be given opportunities to fill questions on the survey. A letter accompanying the survey will be sent explaining the intended objectives. The samples will include departments with 100 to 250 sworn in police officers, included will be the Sherriff department. Some of the research questions will be, what is the police idea on the characteristics of the homeless and their associated problems in the society? How often do they come in contact with the homeless around the streets? How many times has in-service training been conducted to address the problem within their departments?  Apart from the survey, unstructured interviews will be carried out.

Measures of central tendency will be used that is the mean, mode and the median It will assist in providing a rough idea of the departments that the survey will be conducted. 75% of the respondents will be municipal police officers. The average respondents is expected to be 400 police officers. On average, the population is expected to be 200,000 police officers in various departments, 80% of the departments service cities with over 150,000 residents. 


Concerning the research design used in the study, the sample that will be selected for the survey will be faced with some limitations for example; the survey sent through mail can be a challenge considering the large number of towns in the country. The instrument used requires one police officer per department to fill in the survey it is not sure if it will be filled departmentally. It cannot be known if the mailed survey to the Sherriff will be completed by himself or another officer did. The convenience sample used suffers from lack of generalization McNamara et al., 2013). The officers will be chosen but there is no scientific method used to show the police officers that participated in the study.

Introduction of policies sets a holistic view of the police on what the police should do more than just arresting the homeless. They should consider peace as their primary mission. Many police officers just think that the role of the homelessness is violation of the law; they take actions in form of arrests. Further research should be done on more ways to curb this problem of homelessness. The youth should be given employment opportunities to reduce idleness.


McNamara, R. H., Crawford, C., & Burns, R. (2013). Policing the homeless: Policy, practice, and perceptions. Policing: An International Journal, 36(2), 357-374.

Simpson, J. (2015) Police and homeless outreach worker partnerships: Policing of homeless individuals with mental illness in Washington, D.C. Human Organization, (74)2, 125-134.