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Argument Essay

Here is one argument essay I recently wrote. The prompt for this essay is: The city council of Smithville has recommended making changes to police procedures to improve the visibility of the police force. These changes include hiring more police officers, budgeting more funds for police overtime, and directing officers to patrol significantly more often on foot rather than from their patrol cars. These improvements in visibility would significantly lower the crime rate in Smithville and make its citizens feel safer. 
Here is my response to this prompt. 

The author concludes that making improvements in visibility in the police force would significantly lower the crime rates in Smithville and makes its citizens feel safer. The city council of Smithville feels that these improvements can be made by hiring more police officers, budgeting more funds for police over time, and directing officers to patrol significantly more often on foot rather than from patrol cars. However, the author does not provide any evidence as to why there needs to be any improvement in the police force. Therefore, the argument that the author is trying to make is flawed and very unconvincing.

            First, the author assumes crime rates will go down in Smithville if there are more police officer being hired. We do not know what the current crime rate in Smithville. Without knowing the current crime rate in Smithville, we do not know if this is a severe problem. Furthermore, the author assumes that the citizens will feel safe if there are more police officers on duty. We do not know if the current amount of police officers on duty is what the citizens are most concerned with. There could be other significant factors that could be more concerning to the citizens at this moment as well such as how violent or aggressive the person committing the crime is.

            Secondly, the author assumes that adding more police officers in the police force will help increase its performance. While this could be true, adding more police officers does not always guaranteed better performances. There are many factors that could be the reason why the police force has not performed like the city council of Smithville had expected them to. These factors could include how experienced these police officers are, how strong and quick these police officers are in catching criminals, and how alert these officers are when a crime happens. The three factors could be the reason why crime rates are so high.

            In order to strengthen his argument, the author should give an example of how crime rates decrease when more police officers are hired. The author could give statistics of another city that experience high crime rates. One city that comes to mind is New York City. The author could look at the crime rate in New York City and see if there is an indirect relationship between the amount of police and crime rate in New York City. If the trend shows that the increase in the number of police officer in New York City results in a decrease in crime rates, then this is a good proof that adding more officers will help decrease crime rate in Smithville.

            In conclusion, the author’s argument that improving the visibility in the police force will significantly lower crime rates in Smithville and make its citizens feel safer is flawed and unconvincing because the author does not provide any evidence to support his claim. In order to convince the citizens that more police officers need to be higher, the author will need to provide a model of how this will lower crime rates in Smithville.       

I would to have someone give me a feedback on this essay and let me know what I do to improve on it. Thank you. 

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  • Jonathan EvansJonathan Evans PowerScore Staff Joined: 10/31/2016
    Hi, Bearcats,

    This argument essay is significantly stronger than your issue essays. Basically, all your strengths from your issue essays come through here:
    • Excellent organization
    • Well delineated paragraphs 
    • Clear sentence structure
    • Clear, correct analysis
    • Good development of your points. Good transitions.
    • Good length
    You have a sound grasp of argumentation and apply this skill correctly here. Good job identifying the salient features of the argument in your introductory paragraph. Nice job with your body paragraph structure, especially in pointing out potential flaws and proposing possible solutions. Your conclusion isn't fancy, but it gets the job done. 

    Following ETS's rubric, this is a 4 Argument Essay. How can you improve here? 
    1. More sophisticated analysis – You do a good job identifying possible flaws but at times your analysis gets slightly off point. For example, consider the end of your first body paragraph: "There could be other significant factors that could be more concerning to the citizens at this moment as well such as how violent or aggressive the person committing the crime is." This may be, but this concern is tangential to the validity of the author's argument about reduction in crime rate or citizens' feelings of safety. Citizens could be concerned about different problems simultaneously, and an increase in one metric of safety need not address all possible worries simultaneously.
    2. Your transitions, language, and variety in sentence structure are areas of improvement. While it is true that the Argument Task is by its nature rather formulaic, do your best to maintain reader interest through strong, active language. Also, try to avoid small errors such as "First..." and then "Secondly..." While a parallelism issue such as this might seem insignificant, it's exactly the kind of oversight that a GRE grader can use to justify knocking an essay down half a point.
    3. Make sure you address the relevance and strength of each point in the premises vis-a-vis the solution. For instance, the stimulus stipulates the following: "These changes include hiring more police officers, budgeting more funds for police overtime, and directing officers to patrol significantly more often on foot rather than from their patrol cars." Try to narrow your scope while addressing points such as these. For instance, would budgeting more funds for police overtime help achieve the desired effect of lowering crime rates or making citizens feel safer. The author might need to address the possibility that overworked, overtime police officers might not be in top form and could make significant mistakes while on the job.

    I hope you find these suggestions helpful and invite you to follow up with your next practice essay!


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