This article examines the complexity of street gang homicides and focuses on situational factors that lead to gang members' susceptibility to this violent behavior within the context of a disadvantaged minority community. This study is based on an analysis of 28 homicides involving Mexican American gang members. The absence of immigrant youth involvement in these types of violent crimes is discussed. Findings demonstrate how locally embedded social processes associated with specific gang types, ecology, drugs, circumstances, and motives unfold into homicidal events. These findings may contribute to the development of street-based social programs focused on gang mediation, dispute resolution, and crisis intervention.
The current study evaluated a range of social influences including misdemeanor arrests, drug arrests, cocaine consumption, alcohol consumption, firearm availability, and incarceration that may be associated with changes in gun-related homicides by racial/ethnic group in New York City (NYC) from 1990 to 1999. Using police precincts as the unit of analysis, we used cross-sectional, time series data to examine changes in Black, White, and Hispanic homicides, separately. Bayesian hierarchical models with a spatial error term indicated that an increase in cocaine consumption was associated with an increase in Black homicides. An increase in firearm availability was associated with an increase in Hispanic homicides. Last, there were no significant predictors for White homicides. Support was found for the crack cocaine hypotheses but not for the broken windows hypothesis. Examining racially/ethnically disaggregated data can shed light on group-sensitive mechanisms that may explain changes in homicide over time.
A foundational implementation of the WHO/CDC Injury Surveillance Guidelines was conducted in Dar es Salaam region of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2005. The Guidelines were adapted to gather qualitative as well as quantitative data about intentional injury mortality which were collected concurrently at the Muhimbili National Hospital Mortuary. An interview schedule of 12 quantitative variables and one open-ended question, participant observation and newspaper reports were used. Mixed methods allowed an understanding of intentional injury mortality to emerge, even for those with the least amount of data, the 22% of homicides whose bodies were never claimed. Mixed methods made it possible to quantify intentional injury mortality rates, describe subpopulations with scanty data, and learn how to embed ongoing injury mortality surveillance into daily practice.
Social disorganization is the dominant framework linking neighborhood patterns of immigration to local rates of crime and violence despite inconsistent findings and evidence to the contrary. Using tract-level census data from 1970 to 1990 and Chicago homicide data from 1980 to 1995, this study explores whether and how the changing face of immigration is (un)related to homicide patterns within the contemporary urban environment. The results show that stable and consistent growth in foreign born is not associated with neighborhood trends in violence, whereas growth in recent arrivals occurs almost exclusively within the safest neighborhoods of the city. This research highlights the need to distinguish recent waves of immigrants/migrants from their historic counterparts.
This paper examines the connection of immigration and diversity to homicide by advancing a recently developed approach to modeling spatial dynamics-geographically weighted regression. In contrast to traditional global averaging, we argue on substantive grounds that neighborhood characteristics vary in their effects across neighborhood space, a process of "spatial heterogeneity." Much like treatment-effect heterogeneity and distinct from spatial spillover, our analysis finds considerable evidence that neighborhood characteristics in Chicago vary significantly in predicting homicide, in some cases showing countervailing effects depending on spatial location. In general, however, immigrant concentration is either unrelated or inversely related to homicide, whereas language diversity is consistently linked to lower homicide. The results shed new light on the immigration-homicide nexus and suggest the pitfalls of global averaging models that hide the reality of a highly diversified and spatially stratified metropolis.
Firearm violence is the end result of a causative web of individual-level and geographic risk factors. Few, if any, studies of firearm violence have been able to simultaneously determine the population-based relative risks that individuals experience as a result of what they were doing at a specific point in time and where they were, geographically, at a specific point in time. This paper describes the linkage of individual and geographic data that was undertaken as part of a population-based case-control study of firearm violence in Philadelphia. New methods and applications of these linked data relevant to researchers and policymakers interested in firearm violence are also discussed.
Typical circumstances under which the elderly are killed not only differ from typical circumstances under which children or younger adults are killed, but also vary depending on the victim’s gender and age group (ages 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, and 85 or older). Similarly, the typical circumstances under which the elderly commit homicide not only differ from typical circumstances for other offenders, but vary according to the offender’s gender and age group. In analysis of victim-level and offender-level versions of the Chicago Homicide Data set, we describe trends over time and situational patterns in homicides of the elderly or by the elderly.
This article describes homicide-suicide among those aged 65 years and older in the United States using archival data from 1968 to 1975. Comparisons were made between 184 homicide-suicides and 400 randomly selected victims of all other types of homicide. The findings indicate that homicide-suicides occurred predominantly in the family unit, especially involving female spouses, and among White victims and offenders. Handguns and other firearms were the weapon of choice in homicide-suicides.
In this report, we assess total and race/ethnicity-disaggregated patterns and temporal trends in elderly homicide (age 55-74) compared with younger age groups for the 1985-to-2009 period. To do this, we use California arrest statistics that provide annual homicide figures by race and ethnicity (including a Hispanic identifier) and by age. Major aims of our analysis are to establish whether (a) elderly homicide rates are different/similar across race/ethnic comparisons; (b) the elderly share of homicide and age-homicide distributions more generally differ across race/ethnicity; and (c) elderly rates of homicide and the share of elderly homicide relative to younger age groups is similar or different now as compared with 20 to 30 years ago. Our analysis is important and timely because some commentators have suggested that elderly homicide levels have been rising over the past one to two decades and because there is a virtual absence of research of any sort on elderly homicide trends that involve comparisons by race and ethnicity. Key findings are that elderly shares of homicide offending relative to younger ages have not increased (or decreased), that elder homicides continue to account for a small fraction of all homicides, and that these patterns persist across race/ethnicity comparisons.
This study presents results from the first combined quantitative assessment and comparative analysis of suicide terrorists and rampage, workplace, and school shooters who attempt suicide. Findings suggest that in the United States from 1990 to 2010, the differences between these offenders (N = 81) were largely superficial. Prior to their attacks, they struggled with many of the same personal problems, including social marginalization, family problems, work or school problems, and precipitating crisis events. Ultimately, patterns among all four types of offenders can assist those developing security policy, conducting threat assessments, and attempting to intervene in the lives of at-risk individuals.
Intimate partner homicide is not only the most common type of domestic homicide, but is also most prevalent in homicides followed by a self-destructive act (e.g., suicide or a suicide attempt). To date, very few studies have addressed this unique circumstance of intimate partner homicide, particularly in comparison to intimate partner homicides that are not followed by a self-destructive act. One possible reason for this lack of research might be that many consider homicide and suicide discrete phenomena, therefore devaluing the similarities that might exist between them. The “Currents of Lethal Violence” analogy describes homicide and suicide as two currents in a stream of lethal violence. We propose that intimate partner homicide followed by a self-destructive act mixes these currents. This study aims to assess the differences among intimate partner homicide perpetrators who did and did not commit a self-destructive act following the homicide. Descriptive and bivariate analyses of predictive variables were obtained from the records of 341 male intimate partner homicide perpetrators held at a Dutch forensic observation hospital between 1980 and 2006, of which 44 committed a self-destructive act following the offense. Perpetrators that attempted suicide were more likely to have a diagnosis of depressive illness and to have threatened suicide prior to the offense. Perpetrators in this group showed evidence of far-reaching dependency on the victim and a fear of abandonment. Further research into this area is necessary to elucidate this issue.
Although gender and race are two of the best known correlates of violent crime, surprisingly little research has examined how gender and race intersect in the etiology of violent behavior. To redress this, the authors' study integrates a communities and crime perspective within a gender inequality framework to examine the city-level correlates of homicide offending rates disaggregated by race and gender. Two questions are addressed: a) Are the contextual underpinnings for high rates of urban homicide in the United States similar or distinct across race and gender categories? b) Does the ability of city characteristics as predictors of violence vary depending upon the context of violence (i.e., by victim-offender relationship)? Consistent with expectations, findings indicate that there are differences in the relative importance of predictors of homicide across race and gender categories. In addition, the relative importance of homicide predictors depends upon the nature of the victim-offender relationship.
Margo Wilson was a consummate scientist and an extraordinary person. In this short piece, we reflect on her qualities as a scholar and consider the nature of her legacy within the context of our three decades of work with her and Martin Daly, her personal and research partner. Within the broad context of the “sociology of knowledge,” we focus on the production of our joint publication about the perpetration of intimate partner violence and examine the challenges and benefits of working collaboratively across disciplines.
This article examined the extent that Nisbett and Cohen’s herding hypothesis can account for cross-national variation in homicide. Three research questions were addressed. First, to what extent does herding influence homicide cross-nationally? Second, do different types of herding influence homicide differently? Third, are the effects of herding on homicide more pronounced in weak nation states? Little support was found for the proposition that herding influences homicide. Additionally, no consistent support was provided for the notion that the effects of herding on homicide are more pronounced in weak states. These results lend no support to Nisbett and Cohen’s proposition that there is a worldwide link between herding and violence.
A number of prevailing themes in lethal violence research are explored in this study of homicide for the period 1985 to 1994 in Chicago, Houston, and Miami. Homicide and census tract data from the National Consortium on Violence Research Data Center are combined to analyze 14,443 homicides across 1,409 census tracts. Cluster analysis of indicators of social disorganization and social control from studies at larger aggregations (i.e., cities, standard metropolitan statistical areas, and states) results in the classification of three distinct neighborhood types. This results in a rich description of overall and sex-specific rates of adult homicide victimization and offending in expressive and instrumental incidents. Implications for future research are discussed.
The overrepresentation of felony-related incidents is a distinctive and interesting feature of eldercide. The current study examines the relationship between macro-level elderly-specific lifestyle and routine daily activity measures and felony-related eldercide in 195 American cities. Results from a negative binomial log-rate model indicate that the percentages of older adults living alone and with disability and the robbery rate (a proxy for exposure to felony-related eldercide) were positively associated with rates of felony-related eldercide. The relationship between the percentage of older adults not working and felony-related eldercide rates was also statistically significant but in an unexpected negative direction.
This study examined the victim-offender relationship and location of occurrence of homicides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the years 1987 to 1992. A routine activities approach was used as a theoretical framework for interpreting homicides in this city. The sociodemographic variables of age, sex, and employment status and the temporal variable of season of the year were found to be the strongest predictors of homicide victimization. These results were compared with those of a similar study by Messner and Tardiff of homicides in Manhattan (a borough of New York City). Overall, the findings provide further, although limited, support for the routine activities approach as a means of examining urban homicides.
This analysis extends prior macro-level homicide research by examining the links between civic participation, regional subcultures of violence, and age-specific homicide rates. To this end, an integrated community resource perspective was developed and this approach was contrasted with community deficit perspectives. To lend greater specificity, the distinctive effects of religious and secular participation on community levels of juvenile and adult homicide were also considered. Analyses of county-level adult and juvenile homicide offending patterns suggest that regional subcultures as well as religious and secular forms of civic participation play important—yet age-graded—roles in reducing interpersonal violence.
Immigration has been associated with crime. Whether immigrants are more involved than native-born persons in violent crime, in general, and in homicide, in particular, is less clear. The authors addressed the latter question by examining the 9,442 homicides from 1990 to 1994 in Los Angeles County. To avoid attributing to nativity the risk associated with age, gender, and ethnicity, population structure differences of the two groups were taken into account. Immigrants are at slightly higher risk of becoming a homicide victim than native-born persons. Offense rates are difficult to interpret because in 42.3% of the homicides, no suspect was identified; using data from known suspects, U.S.-born persons are 1.29 times more likely than foreign-born persons to commit homicide. The nature of the homicides of immigrants and by immigrants are, with some exceptions, substantially similar to the homicides of and by natives. More and better data are needed to inform policy.
This study surveyed malingering prevalence in pretrial homicide defendants and assessed the usefulness of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Rey 15-Item Memory Test (FIT) in detecting malingering among them. Malingering prevalence was 17%. MMSE and FIT scores were positively correlated. The MMSE and FIT had modest positive predictive value (67% and 43%), but reasonably good negative predictive value (93% and 89%), for malingering. Overall, the MMSE outperformed the FIT, with no advantage to combined use of the MMSE and FIT over the MMSE. The widely used MMSE, traditionally a bedside test of cognition, may have a role in malingering assessment.
In this article, the effect of recent immigration on homicide rates across city of Austin, Texas census tracts is examined. Since 1980, Austin’s recent immigrant population increased by more than 580% across the metropolitan area and it is now considered a “pre-emerging” immigrant gateway city to the United States. Therefore the changing population dynamics in Austin provide an excellent opportunity to study the effect of recent immigration on homicide. After controlling for structural predictors of homicide and correcting for spatial autocorrelation, our findings indicate that recent immigration is not associated with homicide.
Criminologists tend to focus their attention on the dynamics of offending, paying limited theoretical and empirical attention to the well-established relation between offending and victimization. However, a number of criminological theories predict similarities in the correlates and etiology of victimization and offending, suggesting substantial overlap across offender and victim populations. Empirical research confirms this overlap across offender and victim populations, at least among those involved in nonlethal incidents. This research explores whether similarities between offender and victim populations extends to homicide, using criminal justice, health care, and U.S. Census data linked to homicide offenders and victims in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, between 1996 and 2001. Findings indicate substantial overlap in the social contexts and risk behaviors of homicide offenders and victims. However, results also side with more recent suggestions that although many victims overlap with offender populations, there is also a group of victims that appears to be distinguishable from offender groups. These findings have important implications for both theory and intervention.
The essay seeks to construct measures of feelings and beliefs that may facilitate or deter homicides among unrelated adults. The measures try to quantify political stability, government legitimacy, and fellow feeling along national, religious, or racial lines in the United States from colonial times through the 19th century.
Among the handful of studies that examine the influence of segregation on crime, there is a heavy reliance on the idea that segregation is a structured form of inequality that generates high crime rates in ways similar to that of other forms of inequality. The authors attempt to sharpen the link between Black segregation and Black crime by considering whether the centralization of urban Blacks to inner-city areas is associated with high rates of Black violence in the United States. Using racially disaggregated U.S. census and Uniform Crime Report data for 1990, the authors estimate sequential ordinary least squares models that examine the link between segregation and Black violence. A positive relationship between the city rates of Black homicide and the geographic centralization of Blacks relative to Whites is found. The evidence suggests that the structural impediments unique to the inner city are strongly related to the rates of Black homicide in those areas.
In a recent publication Kaminsky and Stucky (2009) claim our finding that the presence of a black mayor reduces killings of police officers (see Jacobs & Carmichael 2002) does not hold after they correct an error I made in the 2002 publication. Kaminsky and Stucky, however, ignore our most comprehensive models, which included a nonlinear specification with considerable explanatory power. They instead confine their reanalysis to a simplified and initial less exhaustive model in our paper that did not include the nonlinear specification without mentioning this and other omissions. After I correct my error, and retain the nonlinear specification that was in our definitive models, multiple versions of this model continue to support our hypothesis that the presence of a black mayor reduces killings of police officers. This comment concludes by outsome problems in Kaminski and Stucky’s analysis of later data.