To Catch a Predator
The theme of this discussion will be the question of whether the police should take proactive steps to identify potential criminals before a crime is actually committed. Post your opinion of the following issues, and support your comments with research and data:
As the Internet became common in American households, sexual predators took advantage of this method of instant communication. Of particular concern is the ability of predators to have access to children.
Law enforcement agencies now attempt to locate predators by posing as children in Internet chat rooms and through social media. In fact, for several years, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) program Dateline ran a series called “To Catch a Predator,” in which adult volunteers would enter Internet chat rooms as “bait” for sexual predators seeking victims. These volunteers would agree to a live encounter if propositioned, at which point the predator would be exposed on television and arrested.
- Are efforts like To Catch a Predator and the law enforcement “bait” operations necessary? Are they fair? Some decry these efforts as entrapment–are they? Be sure to find the actual definition of entrapment in order to be able to discuss this.
Another current issue concerns profiling. There have been instances where law enforcement officials have singled out persons of particular races or ethnicities for questioning.
- Do you think the need for using profiling to apprehend criminals outweighs the potential for discrimination?