Research on recidivism in criminal justice and desistance in criminology are not integrated. Yet, both fields seem to be moving towards models that look at how positive elements in a person's environment can impact a person's behavior, conditional on different levels of risk. This study builds on this observation by applying interactional theory and the concept of Risk-Needs-Responsivity to theorize that both Needs and Responsivity will change over time in predictable ways. We then use a novel empirical approach with the Rochester Youth Development Study to show that even in late adolescence, individuals who are at risk for violence can be protected from future violence and risky behavior like gun carrying with positive events in their environment and personal life. In young adulthood, fewer people are still at risk for violence, and those who are at risk are harder to protect from future violence and gun carrying.
This paper expands and builds on newer avenues in research on gender and general strain theory (GST). I accomplish this by focusing on serious strains that are relevant for males and females, including externalizing and internalizing forms of negative emotions, and including multiple gendered deviant outcomes. Using the Add Health dataset, I find strong support for the impact of serious strains on both types of negative emotions and different forms of deviance for males and females. However, the experience of serious strain, emotionally and behaviorally, is gendered. Depressive symptoms are particularly important for all types of deviance by females. Including multiple types of deviant outcomes offers a fuller understanding of both similarities and differences by gender. These results support the utility of GST as a theory of deviance in general and support greater connections between GST, feminist theorizing, and the sociology of mental health.
Prior research has documented general associations between dating and delinquency, but little is known about the specific ways in which heterosexual experiences influence levels of delinquency involvement and substance use. In the current study, we hypothesize that an adolescent's level of effort and involvement in heterosexual relationships play a significant role in forming the types of friendship networks and views of self that influence the likelihood of delinquency involvement and substance use. Analyses based on a longitudinal sample of adolescent youth (n=1,090) show that high levels of dating effort and involvement with multiple partners significantly increases unstructured and delinquent peer contacts, and influences self-views as troublemaker. These broader peer contexts and related self-views, in turn, mediate the path between dating relationships, self-reported delinquency, and substance use. Findings also document moderation effects: among those youths who have developed a troublemaker identity and who associate with delinquent peers, dating heightens the risk for delinquent involvement. In contrast, among those individuals who have largely rejected the troublemaker identity and who do not associate with delinquent friends, dating relationships may confer a neutral or even protective benefit. The analyses further explore the role of gender and the delinquency of the romantic partner.
The dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in sudden, widespread, and fundamental changes to Russian society. The former social welfare system-with its broad guarantees of employment, healthcare, education, and other forms of social support-was dismantled in the shift toward democracy, rule of law, and a free-market economy. This unique natural experiment provides a rare opportunity to examine the potentially disintegrative effects of rapid social change on deviance, and thus to evaluate one of Durkheim's core tenets. We took advantage of this opportunity by performing interrupted time-series analyses of annual age-adjusted homicide, suicide, and alcohol-related mortality rates for the Russian Federation using data from 1956 to 2002, with 1992-2002 as the postintervention time-frame. The ARIMA models indicate that, controlling for the long-term processes that generated these three time series, the breakup of the Soviet Union was associated with an appreciable increase in each of the cause-of-death rates. We interpret these findings as being consistent with the Durkheimian hypothesis that rapid social change disrupts social order, thereby increasing the level of crime and deviance.
Ample speculation and some evidence suggests that the decline in homicide rates since the early 1990s was partially attributable to declining levels of drug market activity. This analysis explores that explanation, along with an alternative: the strength of the drug market-lethal violence relationship has weakened over time. We outline several conceptual reasons to expect period-specific differences in the drug market-homicide relationship. These include the aging of market participants, shifts in the normative and transactional climate of markets, and changes in structural factors affecting the magnitude of the relationship between drug market indicators and homicide rates (such as socioeconomic disadvantage). These arguments are evaluated for a sample of large US cities. The results generally show a pattern of attenuation in the drug market-homicide relationship and lead us to conclude that part of the homicide decline is likely due to a drop in the amount of drug market activity, some of it is attributable to the aging of drug market participants, and some appears to be due to unmeasured factors which may have created a "kinder and gentler" drug market.
Youths' exposure to school violence is ecologically patterned, occurring disproportionately in public schools located in urban disadvantaged communities. We know less, however, about how situational processes and environmental contexts shape school violence. In addition, limited research has examined the reciprocal nature of school and neighborhood conflicts. Here we draw from a qualitative study of violence in the lives of African American youths from a disadvantaged inner-city community to examine young men's experiences with school-based violence. Specifically, we investigate two questions: (1) how conflicts are shaped by the school setting, and (2) how and when such conflicts unfold and spill over between neighborhoods and schools. Our findings highlight the importance of examining the situational and ecological contexts of youth violence to further illuminate its causes and consequences.
Utilizing a sample of 400 homeless street youths, the paper explores the role control balance plays in the generation of crime. Using vignettes designed to represent violent crime, serious property crime, and minor property crime, the paper tests whether these youths sense of control over their poverty, shelter, hunger and other living conditions influences their participation in crime. Further, it examines how perceptions of risk and thrill, as well as deviant values, self-control, deviant histories, and peer support impact on crime. Results indicate that both control deficits and control surpluses were related to assault and serious theft but not minor theft. Perceptions of thrill, deviant peers, deviant histories, and deviant values predicted violent and property crime, and perceptions of risk were related to the property offenses. Criminal peers also conditioned the impact of control surpluses and deficits on property offenses. Results are discussed in terms of future research and policy.
Informed by a more nuanced racial threat theory, the current study investigates the relationship between the attitudes that African Americans and whites have about the election of Barack Obama as President of the USA and whether they perceive that the police and the criminal justice system are biased against blacks. We test four hypotheses using the 2008 Gallup Minority Rights and Relations/Black-White Social Audit Poll. We first hypothesize that whites and African Americans should substantially differ in their opinions about whether the police and the criminal justice system are biased against blacks. Second, we posit that African Americans and whites should express substantially different opinions regarding the impact of Obama's election on race relations. Third, we hypothesize that the relationship between perceptions of criminal justice injustices and attitudes toward Obama's election should differ among whites. We theorize that there should be a group of whites—committed racists—who deny that the criminal justice system is biased against African Americans and believe that the election of Barack Obama will worsen race relations. Fourth, we posit that African Americans should nearly unvaryingly believe that the criminal justice system is racist. And, we hypothesize that African American opinions about Barack Obama should have a negligible impact on their perceptions of whether the criminal justice system is racist. The results support these four hypotheses.
An often-repeated claim by conservative commentators attributes continuing liberal beliefs to the fact that progressives "have not been mugged." This claim thus portrays leftist views on public policy, including crime, as utopian, if not disingenuous - as held by people who have not had to face harsh realities. Using national-level data from the General Social Survey that span two decades, we test this "mugging thesis." Controlling for an array of predictors of public opinion, we find no discernible relationship between being a crime victim and having a conservative worldview, support for conservative social policies, or punitiveness toward crime as measured by support for the death penalty and for harsher courts. These results question the validity of the "mugging thesis" and, more generally, of attempts to use slogans to undermine progressive political agendas.
The concept of legitimation has been widely invoked in the study of law, justice, and illegality. Law professor Alan Hyde has formulated a thorough and provocative critique of the use of this concept, especially in the legal realm. He calls for the abandonment of the concept in favor of alternative concepts, such as rational self-interest; he suggests that claims regarding the existence of legitimacy do not lend themselves to empirical verification. The present paper systematically examines Hyde's principal themes, and raises some objections to them. The enduring relevance of the concept of legitimation for understanding legal phenomena is brought out; rather than abandoning this concept one should more clearly delineate between the different uses of it. The concept of legitimation provides a unifying point for the consideration of normative and empirical dimensions of legal order.
The conventional wisdom of liberal due process maintains that it is the primary function of the judicial system to provide for incapacitation, punishment, and or treatment of offenders. However, the reality is that police officers perform all of these functions as a community-based institution. Despite administrative and legal due process, superficial professionalism, and constant exhortations which deny the validity of these functions, i.e., “street justice,” it remains an important and essential role of the police institution. This article explores the functional role of “street justice” and the related factors which require this kind of policing.
Based on a survey of approximately 700 probation officers, gender differences in job burnout, job satisfaction, and role conflicts were examined; except for isolated instances, differences were not found. The lack of difference was attributed to the similar task environments facing both female and male officers. The major implication of the research is that both policy makers and researchers should devote attention to the job problems facing all probation officers, female and male alike, rather than mistakenly hypothesizing that gender is a critical variable.
Identity theft has become one of the most ubiquitous crimes in the USA with estimates of the number of households being victimized annually ranging between 5% and 25%, resulting in direct losses totaling hundreds of billions of dollars over the past few years. Government efforts to combat identity theft have included legislation criminalizing and increasing penalties as well as regulatory efforts designed to protect individual identifying information held by financial and other business organizations. At the same time, individuals are taking their own preventive actions and purchasing private protection such as credit monitoring and identity theft insurance services. We use data from a large sample of residents from four states (Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington) in order to assess the public's willingness to pay (WTP) for a government program designed to reduce identify theft under two separate conditions, one promising a 25% reduction in identity theft and the other promising a 75% reduction in identity theft. Results indicate that: (1) between 40% and 66% of the public is willing to pay an additional tax for identity theft prevention, more so when the promise of a reduction is highest (75% compared to 25%) with an average WTP of $87, and (2) WTP is highest among individuals who carry many credit cards, who subscribe to an identity theft protection service, and who take active steps in preventing fraud by shredding bills and paying with cash, but is lowest among individuals who believe that taxes are too high. Converted into a “per crime” cost and combined with the portion of identity theft costs that are borne directly by business, we estimate the average cost per identity theft to range from approximately $2,800 to $5,100.
This article examines relationships between physical abuse and official and self-reported offending among 480 male and female offenders serving community corrections orders in Queensland, Australia. It examines whether offending rates vary between abused and non-abused respondents and whether the abuse-offending relationship is maintained in the presence of demographic and juvenile offending variables. The study explores whether family and school factors can mediate the abuse-offending relationship. The results reveal that physically abused offenders reported higher rates of violent, property, and total offending than non-abused offenders. The effects of abuse on violent and property crime were reduced with the introduction of demographic and juvenile offending variables, but an overall effect of physical abuse remained for total offending. Maternal support was associated with lower levels of adult offending among physically abused respondents, while school expulsion and attachment to school for non-conventional reasons (e.g., non-academic) appeared to exacerbate the abuse-offending relationship.
This ethnographic work examines the inner workings of a highly formalized plea bargaining unit in a large urban prosecutor's office from the lawyers' point of view. Observations of forty two plea negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys along with both formal and informal interviews reveal how the legal actors adapt to institutional rules in the pursuit of the both efficiency and justice. In the face of ever increasing prosecutorial power, defense attorneys find ways to equalize the balance when cases don't fit the 'normal crimes' model. Examination of negotiating strategy and discourse give further insight into whether prosecutors and defense attorneys behave differently under highly rationalized systems of plea-bargaining compared with traditional models previously studied.
Many Americans report that they are fearful of crime. One frequently cited source of this fear is the mass media. The media, and local television news in particular, often report on incidents of crime, and do so in a selective and sometimes sensational manner. This paper examines the role of the media in shaping crime fears, in conjunction with both demographic factors and local crime conditions. Unlike most previous research in this area, which typically focuses on only one medium, the present study examines the effects of several media — local and national television, the radio, newspapers, and the Internet. The findings address four theoretical perspectives on the relationship among the media, real-world conditions, and fear of crime.
Recent evidence suggests that police officers engage in discretionary searches of minority citizens at a disproportionate rate; however, the impact of citizen criminal history on this relationship is largely unknown. Using the theoretical framework of officer suspicion, this study examines the impact of citizen race on the likelihood of a discretionary search and whether this relationship is mediated by citizen criminal history. A series of multilevel models were computed on officer-initiated traffic stops in a manner that conforms to Baron and Kenny's recommendations to test for mediation effects. Results indicated that while citizen race was predictive of a discretionary search, this effect was mediated by consideration of criminal history. These findings have implications for understanding the decision-making process of officers, the influence of citizen race on these decisions, and the role of officer suspicion in police-citizen encounters.
The United States Sentencing Guidelines are among the most ambitious attempts in history to control sentencing discretion. However, a major sea change occurred in January of 2005, when the U.S Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Booker and Fanfan that in order to be constitutional, the federal guidelines must be advisory rather than presumptive. The impact of the Booker/Fanfan decisions on interjurisdictional variation and sentencing disparity is an opportunity to examine the issue of whether the increased opportunity to sentence according to substantively rational criteria entails increased extralegal disparity. We draw on a conceptualization of courts as communities and a focal concerns model of sentencing decisions to frame expectations about federal sentencing in the wake of Booker/Fanfan. We test these expectations using USSC data on federal sentencing outcomes from four time periods: prior to the 2003 PROTECT Act, the period governed by the PROTECT Act, post-Booker/Fanfan, and post-Gall v U.S. In general, we find that extralegal disparity and between-district variation in the effects of extralegal factors on sentencing have not increased post-Booker and Gall. We conclude that allowing judges greater freedom to exercise substantive rationality does not necessarily result in increased extralegal disparity.
Research has shown that mapping techniques are useful in forecasting future crime events. However, the majority of prospective mapping techniques has focused on the event-dependent influence of instigator incidents on subsequent incidents and does not explicitly incorporate the risk heterogeneity of the setting. The study here discussed is a modest attempt to address this issue by using a two-step process: first, using risk terrain modeling, we operationalized the “environmental backcloth,” (the risk heterogeneity of an area) to forecast locations of residential burglaries in the urban city of Newark, New Jersey. Second, using the near repeat calculator, we assessed the variability of underlying risk between different types of residential burglaries. A discussion of the findings and the joint utility of these approaches is provided.
We propose and test a new survey methodology to assess the public's criminal justice spending priorities. Respondents are explicitly forced to trade-off one type of crime prevention or control policy for another and to consider the fact that any money spent on crime prevention or control policies is money they could otherwise have in their pockets. Thus, respondents are asked to allocate a fixed budget into five categories - more prisons, police, youth prevention programs, drug treatment for nonviolent offenders, and a tax rebate to citizens. In a nationally representative sample, we found overwhelming public support for more money being devoted to youth prevention, drug treatment for nonviolent offenders, and more police. However, the median respondent would not allocate any new money to building more prisons and would not avail him or herself of a tax rebate if the money were spent on youth prevention, drug treatment and police. At the margin, we estimate the public would receive $3.07 in perceived value by spending $1.00 of their tax dollars on youth prevention; $1.86 in value for every dollar spent on drug treatment; and $1.76 in value for a dollar spent on police. However, the public would clearly not spend more on prisons at the margin, deriving only 71 cents in value for every dollar spent.
The primary preventive mechanism of CCTV is considered to be deterrence. However, the relationship between CCTV and deterrence has been left implicit. Empirical research has yet to directly test whether CCTV increases the certainty of punishment, a key component of the deterrence doctrine. This study analyzes CCTV’s relation to punishment certainty in Newark, NJ. Across eight crime categories, CCTV and 9-1-1 calls-for-service case processing times and enforcement rates are compared through Mann-Whitney U and Fisher’s Exact tests, respectively, with a Holm-Bonferroni procedure correcting for multiple comparisons. ANOVA and negative binomial regression models further analyze the frequency of CCTV activity and the impact of various factors on the (downward) trend of detections and enforcement. Findings suggest that CCTV increases punishment certainty on a case-by-case basis. However, a reduction of CCTV activity caused by specific “surveillance barriers” likely minimized the effect of the enhanced enforcement.
The philosophical underpinnings of youth courts rest on the notion that youths are less culpable and more reformable than adults. Some scholars argue that, ideally, when sentencing youth crime, judges should engage youthful offenders in moral communication to elicit change. But do they? What more generally do judges say to the youths? This paper analyzes the frequency and content of judicial censure and moral communication in the sentencing of youth sex offenders. Drawing on the sentencing remarks for 55 sexual violence cases, we examine the ways in which judges interact with youths and censure the offenses, and what, if any, normative guidance they give concerning gender, sexuality, and violence. We found that in most but not all cases, the judges censured the offending as both a moral and legal wrong. However, they spent more time discussing a youth's future than past behavior, as they sought to elicit change. The judges did not degrade or exclude the offenders; rather, they addressed them in a spirit of reintegration, as worthy individuals with future potential. Although the judges set norms of appropriate sexual behavior to the youths when the offense victims were children, they did not always do so when victims were female peers. In this Youth Court, “real rape” was sexual offending by a youth against a child under 12 years of age. By contrast, in about one-fifth of cases, all of which occurred against a female peer, the offending was censured only as a legal wrong (a “pseudo censure”) and less likely subject to judicial norm setting. Yes Yes
Over the past 20 years, police departments across America have adopted a community—or problem-oriented—policing philosophy. Community policing has not been implemented wholesale, however. Most departments have assigned some officers to community policing roles but kept the majority in traditional motorized patrol assignments. Pertinent literature suggests that these two groups do not see eye to eye on their respective roles and duties. In this study, work-redesign theory is used as a conceptual framework to explain officer functioning in both community policing and traditional motorized policing settings. Findings indicate key similarities between community policing officers and officers assigned to traditional motorized patrol, despite differences in job satisfaction, perception of impact, and policing style.
Studies have revealed systematic measurement errors in self-report data on crime and deviance resulting from poor recall and/or underreporting by certain groups of respondents. Official crime data have also been criticized, but for different reasons (e.g. gross underestimations of less serious offenses). Very similar observations have been made in studies of inmate crime (misconduct committed by prison inmates). Despite these criticisms, official data on inmate misconduct continue to be the most frequently used data in related studies. This study compared self-report and official data on inmate assaults, property thefts, and drug offenses for samples of inmates from 46 correctional institutions for adults in Ohio and Kentucky. Findings revealed that officially recorded misconduct underestimates the total volume of inmate crime. Analyses designed to uncover sources of the divergence between self-reported misconduct and officially recorded misconduct revealed far more consistencies than differences in the magnitude of inmate and facility effects on the different types of offenses. A few important differences did emerge in the magnitude of effects such as amount of time served (at the individual level) and facility population size (at the aggregate level).
Cyberstalking is a relatively understudied area in criminology, with no consensus among scholars as to whether it represents a modified form of stalking or whether it is an entirely new and emerging criminal phenomenon. Using data from the 2006 Supplemental Victimization Survey (SVS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), this study compares stalking and cyberstalking victims across several dimensions, including situational features of their experiences and self-protective behaviors. Results indicate that there are significant differences between stalking and cyberstalking victims, including their number of self-protective behaviors adopted, duration of contact with their stalker, financial costs of victimization, and perceived fear at onset. Perceived fear over time, the occurrence of a physical attack, and sex of the victim were all associated with a higher number of self-protective behaviors for cyberstalking victims compared to stalking victims, net of the effect of the control variables. Implications for stalking theory, research, and criminal justice policy are discussed.
The literature on restorative justice and reoffending consists largely of comparative analyses of traditional and restorative interventions and suggests small but significant differences or no differences in reoffending. We gathered data from conferencing observations and police records to explore the variable effects of conference dynamics and offenders' characteristics in predicting future offending. We found that youthful offenders who were observed to be remorseful and whose outcomes were reached by consensus were less likely to reoffend. This finding suggests that when attention is focused on the benefits of conferencing, it is possible to identify elements of conferences that are associated with reductions in crime.
One of the most consistent findings in empirical studies using victimization data is that the decision to report victimization to the police is determined in large part by the seriousness of the crime. The police will be notified more often of crimes that involve more serious injury or greater monetary loss. These findings, however, may be due to the fact that most studies on reporting have been conducted using victimization surveys that devote a great deal of attention to the crime event and victim characteristics and much less to the social context of that event. As a result, influences on reporting operating at the neighborhood, jurisdiction, or nation level have been neglected. The aim of this paper is to bring social context into the discourse on reporting to the police by presenting a much more inclusive model of crime reporting. In addition, the influence of four aspects of macro-level social context on reporting are tested—the perceived competence of the police, institutionalization of insurance business, norm of conformity, and level of individualism—by merging incident-level data from the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS) for 16 Western industrialized countries with nation-level data from various sources. Hierarchical logistic modeling is used to analyze the nested data. The perceived competence of the police has a positive effect on whether property crimes are reported.
Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime has generated significant controversy and research, such that there now exists a large knowledge base regarding the importance of self-control in regulating antisocial behavior over the life-course. Reviews of this literature indicate that self-control is an important correlate of antisocial activity. Some research has evaluated programmatic efforts designed to examine the extent to which self-control is malleable, but little empirical research on this issue has been carried out within criminology, largely because the theorists have not paid much attention to policy proscriptions. This study evaluates the extant research on the effectiveness of programs designed to improve self-control up to age 10 among children and adolescents, and assesses the effects of these programs on self-control and delinquency/crime. Meta-analytic results indicate that (1) self-control programs improve a child/adolescent's self-control, (2) these interventions also reduce delinquency, and (3) the positive effects generally hold across a number of different moderator variables and groupings as well as by outcome source (parent-, teacher-, direct observer-, self-, and clinical report). Theoretical and policy implications are also discussed Yes Yes
Contemporary police practice advocates the importance of proactive policing activities. Proactive policing reforms emphasize self-initiated tasks during unassigned patrol time and directed activities based on supervisor review of crime analysis and problem identification. Our study analyzes data from systematic social observations of police patrol officers to examine how officers spent their discretionary time. We find that, on average, over three quarters of a patrol officers' shift is unassigned. During this time, officers primarily self-initiate routine patrol, or back up other officers on calls to which they were not dispatched. Just 6 percent of unassigned time activities are directed by supervising officers, dispatchers, other officers or citizens. Moreover, directives provided by supervisors are vague, general in form, and do not operationalize problem-oriented policing, community-oriented policing, or proactive policing strategies. We conclude that first, a very significant proportion of patrol officer time is spent uncommitted that could be better utilized doing proactive, problem-oriented policing activities, and second, supervisors need to provide patrol officers with much more detailed directives, based on sound crime analysis, to help capitalize on the under-utilization of patrol officer time. Yes Yes
The guarantee of the right to a jury trial lies at the heart of the principles that underlie the American criminal justice system’s commitment to due process of law. We investigate the differential sentencing of those who plead guilty and those convicted by trial in U.S. District Courts. We first investigate how much of any federal plea/trial sentencing differences are accounted for by substantial assistance to law enforcement, acceptance of responsibility, obstruction of justice, and other Guideline departures. Second, we investigate how such differences vary according to offense and defendant characteristics, as well as court caseloads and trial rates. We use federal sentencing data for fiscal years 2000-2002, along with aggregate data on federal district court caseload features. We find that meaningful trial penalties exist after accounting for Guidelines-based rationales for differentially sentencing those convicted by guilty plea versus trial. Higher district court caseload pressure is associated with greater trial penalties, while higher district trial rates are associated with lesser trial penalties. In addition, trial penalties are lower for those with more substantial criminal histories, and black men . Trial penalties proportionately increase, however, as Guideline minimum sentencing recommendations increase. We also supplement our analysis with interview and survey data from federal district court participants, which provide insights into the plea reward/trial penalty process, and also suggest important dimensions of federal court trial penalties that we cannot measure.
This study examines the impact of legal sanctions on delinquency and youths' status achievement. Theories relating to formal social control and status achievement, including deterrence, labeling, and the age-graded life course perspective, are evaluated. A structural equation model is used to test the impact of legal sanctions on delinquency and status achievement. This study finds that legal sanctions decrease the likelihood of high status achievement by increasing youths' involvement in delinquent behavior. It demonstrates the need for integrating labeling theories and the life course perspective into research on status attainment.
This paper describes and evaluates some fundamental facts about the contemporary crime drop, summarizes the major explanations that have been offered for it, and assesses the validity of these explanations in light of observed trends. In contrast with much of the recent literature, we argue that the locus of the crime drop in the 1990s is not wholly consistent with the available data and that while New York City experienced substantial crime decreases, its uniqueness has been exaggerated. We suggest that it is important to partition the crime drop observed in New York City and elsewhere into global and more localized shifts, and we offer some observations about the factors that appear most germane to driving these different dimensions of recent crime drops. We conclude with some suggestions for future inquiry.
Even though previous research has not examined mass murder prior to 1965, scholars have asserted that the mid-1960s marked the onset of an unprecedented and ever-growing mass murder wave. Using news accounts and the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) as sources of data, this study analyzes 909 mass killings that took place between 1900 and 1999. Although the mid-1960s marked the beginning of a mass murder wave, it was not unprecedented, because mass killings were nearly as common during the 1920s and 1930s. The results also show that familicides, the modal mass murder over the last several decades, were even more prevalent before the 1970s. Moreover, mass killers were older, more suicidal, and less likely to use guns in the first two-thirds of the 20th century. Although some have claimed that workplace massacres represent a new “strain” in mass murder, the findings suggest that the only new type of mass killing that emerged during the 20th century was the drug-related massacre.
Previous research has highlighted the important role of officers' attitudes and receptivity to the change to community policing. We identified two levels of commitment—commitment to the police organization as a whole and commitment to the strategic direction of the police department toward community policing and found evidence that the two levels of commitment are distinct. Organizational commitment was directly related to job satisfaction but only indirectly related to officers' behaviors consistent with those expected with a community-policing orientation. Conversely, the level of commitment to a community-policing strategy was unrelated to job satisfaction but directly related to the frequency of community policing-type behaviors. Strategy commitment also mediated the effects of managerial support and organizational commitment and partially mediated the effects of job experience on officers' behavior. Implications of this multiple-level perspective to commitment for future research are discussed.
Mitigation of sentence severity has been cited as a primary factor underlying defendant decisions to plead guilty. It has been studied extensively and it has been assumed, but rarely examined, that few defendants plead guilty in the absence of significant benefits. This paper examines the relationship between sentence benefits and plea behavior. A crime-specific analysis reveals that some defendants frequently plead guilty in the relative absence of significant benefits; conversely, others plead not guilty even though significant benefits are available for guilty pleaders. Applying several decision theory constructs to justice system processing, the defendant's desire to reduce uncertainty is discussed and offered as a tentative explanation for the phenomenon of pleading guilty in the relative absence of significant benefits.
Sherman and Rogan report that proactive patrols focused on firearm recovery reduced gun crimes significantly in Kansas City. Regardless of the strategy's potential for reducing crime, however, its value will be limited if the price of success is community hostility to the police. Using a pre/post quasi-experimental design, this research examines the community reaction to police efforts in Kansas City. The findings show that the community was aware of the enhanced policing, that proactive police methods, generally, received strong support, and that residents perceived an improvement in the quality of life in the experimental neighborhood. Although the findings do not address the views of persons stopped by police patrolling hot spots of gun crime, they suggest that residents of communities suffering high rates of gun crime welcome intensive police efforts against guns.
Media coverage of terrorist attacks plays an important role in shaping the public understanding of terrorism. While there have been studies analyzing coverage of incidents prior to 9/11, there has been little research examining post-9/11 coverage. This study fills this gap by examining coverage in the USA between the dates of 12 September, 2001 and 31 December 2015, using a list of terrorist-related incidents to find relevant New York Times articles. This study identifies the variables influencing whether an incident is covered and how much coverage it receives. The results follow a similar pattern to pre-9/11 Times coverage, where most terrorist incidents receive no coverage while a few are sensationalized. Incidents with casualties, Jihadi perpetrators, governmental targets, or firearms are significantly more likely to be covered and receive more news space. Additionally, content analysis suggests that these articles tends to portray Jihadi incidents as international regardless of perpetrator origin.
This research contributes to policy debates about whether mandatory sentences improve public safety and are responsible for maintaining lower rates of crime. The current study used two quasi-experimental approaches, regression point displacement (RPD) and interrupted time series (ITS), to test the effect of Oregon’s Measure 11 on violent and property crimes. The RPD study found that, between 1995 and 1998, Measure 11 was associated with significant increases in most crime rates but decreases in the rates of rape and murder. These findings were not replicated in the more rigorous ITS, which found that Measure 11 had no statistically discernible effect on the incidence of the index crimes in the state of Oregon. Overall, the findings indicate Measure 11 had little to no marginal benefit relative to policies in place before the law was implemented.
Previous research suggests that there are fundamental psychological and behavioral differences between offenders who commit murder and offenders who commit murder-suicide. Whether a similar distinction exists for rampage, workplace, and school shooters remains unknown. Using data from the 2010 NYPD report, this study presents results from the first regression analysis of all qualifying mass shooters who struck in the USA between 1966 and 2010 (N = 185). Findings suggest that there are fundamental differences between mass shooters who die as a result of their attacks and mass shooters who live. Patterns among offenders, the weapons they use, the victims they kill, and the locations they attack may have significant implications for scholars and security officials alike.
Over the last two decades, New York City has witnessed historic drops in crime. Numerous explanations for this crime decline have been discussed, and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) has been central to that debate, most notably because of the adoption of order maintenance policing and the implementation of Compstat. While those developments in the early 1990s are clearly important for understanding the potential role of the NYPD in the crime decline, those changes did not occur in a vacuum. This paper adopts an historical framework that places the role of the NYPD in the crime decline in the larger context of the department’s history, culture, and key events over a nearly 40-year span. This perspective suggests that many of the crime control strategies implemented by the NYPD over that time have been driven by internal and external crises, and that these strategies have also produced unintended consequences. With the historical analysis as a backdrop, the paper considers the ongoing debate over stop, question and frisk practices, and their disproportionate impact on minority residents, as the next potential crisis for the NYPD. The paper concludes with a discussion of the historical framework as a foundation for initiating a comparative dialog across law enforcement agencies regarding crime control strategies, their impact, and their consequences.
Despite a long line of scholarship on race and social control, evidence that incarceration can be connected to slavery is difficult to provide. This study evaluates whether slavery had long-term effects on growth in state incarceration rates by focusing on two key theoretical indicators: the size of the enslaved population prior to the Civil War and demographic changes during the Great Migration. Results reveal that states that historically had larger enslaved populations and those that acted as destinations for southern migrants experienced increased growth in incarceration between 1970 and 2015. Mediation analyses show that both variables have indirect effects on change in incarceration rates through contemporary demographic composition and public opinion. These findings lend support to theoretical claims that link slavery to mass incarceration and shed light on the mechanisms that enable racial histories to map onto current criminal punishments.
Hate crime inflicts a variety of harms on victims, communities, as well as society at large. Scholars have long sought to understand the motivations and conditions behind hate crime offending. Green and his colleagues conducted the classic neighborhood studies examining the conditions that foster hate crime. Using data on hate crime in New York City from 1995 to 2010 from the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, the current study replicates and extends Green and colleagues’ neighborhood studies, investigating whether their findings hold true over an extended period of time in New York City as the city underwent major demographic changes. Using a group conflict framework, the current study extends prior work testing hypotheses derived from defended neighborhoods, social disorganization, and strain theories to explain ethnoracial hate crime.
This study uses propensity score weighting to examine three key death penalty decisions in Pennsylvania from 2000–2010, focusing on the role of defendant and victim race: prosecutors’ decisions to seek the death penalty, prosecutors’ decisions to retract death filings, and decisions to sentence defendants to the death penalty. We collected data on 880 first degree murder convictions in 18 Pennsylvania counties, encompassing 87% of the state’s first-degree murder convictions. We do not find that black defendants, or black defendants who kill white victims specifically, are more likely to have the death penalty sought or imposed. Instead, we find that those who kill white victims, regardless of defendant race, are more likely to receive the death penalty. We further found that black defendants, and blacks who killed black victims, were more likely to have a death filing retracted by prosecutors. Finally, patterns of death penalty race disparity varied greatly depending on the county in which a case was prosecuted and sentenced.