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Weapon effects and individual intent to do harm: Influences on the escalation of violence

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Abstract

In order to assess the roles of weapons and offender intentions in the outcomes of potentially violent events, we analyze more than 2,000 incidents described by offenders. We advance the study of weapons effects through a within-person analysis that lets us control for all time-stable characteristics of the offenders. Thus, we address the concern that relationships between type of weapon and incident outcome may be spurious because individuals with a greater propensity to do harm are more likely to use guns. Findings indicate that weapons have independent effects that differ across the stages of an event.

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... Commonly explored variables include whether the victim resists (Tark & Kleck, 2004;Wright & Decker, 1997), if the offender possesses a firearm (Wells & Horney, 2002), and the sociodemographic traits of individuals (Apel, Dugan, & Powers, 2013), or of entire communities (Baumer, Horney, Felson, & Lauritsen, 2003). In this paper, we focus on a factor derived from the paradigm of pure sociology-social distance. ...
... Similarly, members of Hadza tribe of Tanzania were expert in shooting lethal arrows, but camp members practically never shot at each other, instead only hitting one another with the bow (Woodburn, 1979). These examples show how social distance affects weapon lethality and, in turn, may affect injury (see also Cook, 1991;Wells & Horney, 2002). ...
... Situational factors that may be relevant include the location of the offense or victim's home (Burgason, Thomas, & Berthelot, 2014;Wilson, 1996). Offenses in which an offender possesses a firearm are also known to result in more injury (Wells & Horney, 2002). Theoretically, this could be because it is easier to hurt a victim by pulling a trigger than other methods (e.g., trying to throw a punch), or it could represent that the offender intended from the outset to hurt the victim (see Felson & Messner, 1996;Phillips & Maume, 2007). ...
... Levin & McDevitt, 1993). Other research, however, has noted that weapon use plays an important role in exacerbating the severity of violent victimization by facilitating increased injury and making violence easier (Wells & Horney, 2002). Indeed, while prior research has largely neglected to consider the role that weapon use may play in bias crime relative to other crimes, recent policy conversations seem to imply that weapons-and firearms in particular-may be colloquially assumed to be an important factor in such violence. ...
... At the same time, other research has suggested that weapons may play an important role in facilitating and exacerbating the physical trauma associated with violence. In general, research has indicated that, when weapons are used, injuries to the victim tend to be more severe than when weapons are not used, in part because weapons make violence easier (e.g., Wells & Horney, 2002). In this context, weapons, and guns in particular, allow individuals to detach themselves and increase emotional distance from a victim, thereby exacerbating violence (Braga et al., 2020;Wells & Horney, 2002). ...
... In general, research has indicated that, when weapons are used, injuries to the victim tend to be more severe than when weapons are not used, in part because weapons make violence easier (e.g., Wells & Horney, 2002). In this context, weapons, and guns in particular, allow individuals to detach themselves and increase emotional distance from a victim, thereby exacerbating violence (Braga et al., 2020;Wells & Horney, 2002). Emmert et al. (2018), for example, found that when an individual was in possession of a weapon during an incident, the victim tended to suffer more severe physical consequences, compared with situations where the individual did not possess a weapon. ...
Article
Prior research has suggested that hate crimes hurt more, in that they are more physically severe than other crimes. A separate body of research has focused on the role of weapons in exacerbating violence; yet, no research has considered the role of weapon use in bias crime victimization. Following this, this research examines the relationship between weapon use, bias motivation, and victimization in the United States. On one hand, weapons may play an important role in hate crime by exacerbating violence. On the other hand, weapons may be unnecessary for facilitating hate crime violence, given the animus associated with bias motivation. Using data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, we find that bias crimes are both (a) less likely than nonbias crimes to involve weapons and (b) more likely than nonbias crimes to involve serious or lethal victim injury. These patterns are particularly pronounced for antisexual orientation hate crimes.
... Observational studies have also uncovered associations between gun carrying or owning and involvement in violence and delinquency (Allen & Lo, 2012;Callahan & Rivara, 1992;Cunningham et al., 2010;Emmert et al., 2018;Ruback et al., 2011;Ruggles & Rajan, 2014;Vaughn et al., 2006Vaughn et al., , 2012Vaughn et al., , 2016Watkins et al., 2008;Webster et al., 1993;Wells & Horney, 2002;Wilcox et al., 2006;Wilkinson & Fagan, 2001). For example, Webster et al. (1993) found that among youth from two Washington DC schools, participants who reported carrying a firearm were more likely to report having been in a fight or starting a fight with other students. ...
... desisting from weapon carrying, delinquency was greatest during periods of weapon carrying. Finally, Wells and Horney (2002) surveyed adult inmates about the influence of gun carrying on instances of situational violence and found that carrying a firearm increased the likelihood that they would commit an offense and use violence against their victim. ...
... The findings reported here are consistent with those of earlier studies examining the effects of gun carrying on violence (Emmert et al., 2018;Wells & Horney, 2002), and supportive of the proposed mechanisms used to interpret such findings (Branas et al., 2009). One interpretation of our findings is that gun carriers are more inclined or emboldened to use their weapon because it is closer at hand. ...
Article
Although many studies have highlighted the deleterious outcomes associated with access to firearms, others suggest gun ownership and carrying can have protective effects. This study attempts to adjudicate between these countervailing points and address several important gaps in the literature. To do so, data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health were used to assess the long-term associations between gun ownership and gun carrying in late adolescence and violence and violent victimization in early adulthood. Results from propensity score matching analyses suggest gun carrying, but not gun ownership, is associated with a higher risk of experiencing a violent victimization (b = 0.080, 95% CI = .032, .127) and engaging in violence with a weapon (b = 0.885, 95% CI = .392, 1.378). Efforts to curb firearm-related violence should consider focusing on those who carry guns for additional counseling about these risks.
... This work shows that whether robberies end up in violence or not depends, among others, on how successful robbers are at imposing a "working agreement" on the victims: They should not just accept that they are victims, but they should also understand and fulfill the role that robbers have in mind for them in various stages of the robbery situation. Subsequent work has elaborated on these stages Copes et al. 2012;Jacobs 2012), and crucially, the use of weapons in relation to the degree of violence involved (Cook 1981;Feeney 1986;Kleck 2005;Kleck and Delone 1993;Kleck and McElrath 1991;Wells and Horney 2002). In this article, we delve further into the robbery situation. ...
... They also found that the likelihood of victim injury was associated with victim resistance by means of physical force or weapons other than guns, but not when victims used guns (Kleck and Delone 1993). So when either offenders or victims wield a gun, violence and injuries are reduced (see also Wells and Horney 2002). However, these findings were not confirmed by Bernasco et al.'s (2013) study of 256 robbery situations in the Netherlands based on interviews with 100 robbery offenders. ...
... While Bernasco et al.'s (2013) study of robberies in the Netherlands focused on whether a weapon was exposed during the robbery and in what stage it was exposed, studies of weapons and robberies in the United States focused on the effect of the presence of weapons in robberies (Cook 1981;Kleck 2005;Kleck and McElrath 1991;Wells and Horney 2002) without specifying how weapons were used in the course of the event. For the understanding of robberies, it seems crucial to know how weapons are brought into play in the interactional dynamics of robberies, especially in the United States, where carrying a weapon is more common. ...
Article
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Objective: A small-scale exploration of the use of video analysis to study robberies. We analyze the use of weapons as part of the body posturing of robbers as they attempt to attain dominance. Methods: Qualitative analyses of video footage of 23 shop robberies. We used Observer XT software (version 12) for fine-grained multimodal coding, capturing diverse bodily behavior by various actors simultaneously. We also constructed story lines to understand the robberies as hermeneutic whole cases. Results: Robbers attain dominance by using weapons that afford aggrandizing posturing and forward movements. Guns rather than knives seemed to fit more easily with such posturing. Also, victims were more likely to show minimizing postures when confronted with guns. Thus, guns, as part of aggrandizing posturing, offer more support to robbers’ claims to dominance in addition to their more lethal power. In the cases where resistance occurred, robbers either expressed insecure body movements or minimizing postures and related weapon usage or they failed to impose a robbery frame as the victims did not seem to comprehend the situation initially. Conclusions: Video analysis opens up a new perspective of how violent crime unfolds as sequences of bodily movements. We provide methodological recommendations and suggest a larger scale comparative project.
... Finally, with the addition of situational variables, the social information processing and emotion variables will not be as significant as in the previous models. Previous research suggests that situational variables such as substance use and weaponry, can be significant predictors of violence (see Boles and Miotto 2003;Chambers et al. 2009;Felson, Burchfield, and Teasdale 2007;Graham, West, and Wells 2000;Krienert and Vandiver 2009;Phillips and Maume 2007;Wells and Horney 2002). However, the extent to which SIP, emotion, and situational variables interact is unknown due to the lack of previous research that examines all variables in one study. ...
... For this study, newly incarcerated offenders include all male offenders, regardless of committing offense, who are housed in jails for three months or less. Sampling newly incarcerated inmates is largely grounded in prior literature that shows it is ideal to ask individuals about their past behaviors in a timely manner for the best recall (see Bradburn, Rips, and Shevell 1987;Wells and Horney 2002). ...
... Overall, in all four facilities, the study had a 93 percent response rate (236 respondents). This is similar to previous studies that also report a high degree of participation in institutionalized settings (ONDCP 2011;Wells and Horney 2002). ...
Article
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Objective to study the decisionmaking process in highriskforviolence situations. Methods formallegal sociological method of hierarchical generalized linear modeling. Results criminological research has favored the rational choice perspective in studying offender decision making. However this theoretical approach does not take into account the complex interplay of situational cognitive emotional and person factors that likely influence criminal decision making. To that end the current study examines decision making in highriskforviolence situations focusing on social information processing and emotional state variables. The current study utilizes a sample of 236 newly incarcerated jailed inmates who provide personal level data and situational reports of violent and avoided violence situations n 466. Scientific novelty the findings for the first time show that several situational social information processing and emotion variables such as intent interpretation goal and response generation are significant predictors of the escalation of violence hence increasing the probability of committing a crime. Practical significance the main provisions and conclusions of the article can be used in scientific and lawenforcement activities when considering the issues of identifying and eliminating the reasons and conditions of crime committing as well as with influencing the individuals in order to prevent crimes or antisocial behavior.
... Similarly, Weaver et al. (2004) found that incidents involving firearms were 11 times more likely to result in victim homicide compared to unarmed assaults, whereas the use of knives was only approximately 2.5 times more likely to result in victim homicide. These findings support previous research in demonstrating independent weapon instrumentality effects, even when controlling for approximate measures of offender motive and intent (Wells & Horney 2002). Weapon type has also been shown to influence victim mortality in family and intimate assaults. ...
... They suggest that offenders can successfully threaten or intimidate their intended target with the mere presence of a firearm, whereas they may need to objectively demonstrate their power through actual physical harm if in possession of another weapon type. Using event history analysis, Wells & Horney (2002) extended this line of inquiry by assessing how possession of a weapon influenced the likelihood of an attack and subsequent injury while controlling for offender intent. Their results indicated that persons armed with a firearm were more likely to confront a victim than those armed with another type of weapon; however, incidents featuring firearms were substantially less likely to result in any injury to victims. ...
Article
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One of the central debates animating the interpretation of gun research for public policy is the question of whether the presence of firearms independently makes violent situations more lethal, known as an instrumentality effect, or whether determined offenders will simply substitute other weapons to affect fatalities in the absence of guns. The latter position assumes sufficient intentionality among homicide assailants to kill their victims, irrespective of the tools available to do so. Studies on the lethality of guns, the likelihood of injury by weapon type, offender intent, and firearm availability provide considerable evidence that guns contribute to fatalities that would otherwise have been nonfatal assaults. The increasing lethality of guns, based on size and technology, and identifiable gaps in existing gun control policies mean that new and innovative policy interventions are required to reduce firearm fatalities and to alleviate the substantial economic and social costs associated with gun violence. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Criminology, Volume 4 is January 13, 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
... Young men who carry guns are more likely to engage in serious violence and delinquency, including serious theft, assault, and homicide (Lizotte et al. 1997(Lizotte et al. , 2000Loeber et al. 2008). The presence of a gun can drastically increase the risk of injury and lethality during a conflict (Ganpat et al. 2013;Libby 2009;Phillips and Maume 2007;Wells and Horney 2002). Given the personal and societal costs associated with gun violence (Corso et al. 2007;Welsh et al. 2008), it is imperative to understand when young men are at risk for illegally carrying firearms. ...
... However, it is possible that the initiation of gun carrying may increase the likelihood of young men engaging in subsequent delinquent behaviors, including drug dealing, because they feel more emboldened to participate in these behaviors (a gun facilitation effect). There is some evidence for a gun facilitation effect in the commission of violent offenses (Emmert et al. 2018;Wells and Horney 2002), but there is little information on whether this mechanism may also generalize to other forms of offending, such as dealing drugs. Finally, it is possible that the relation between drug dealing and gun carrying is non-specific and simply represents the tendency for delinquent males to experience a waxing and waning of engagement in a variety of delinquent behaviors (e.g., dealing, gun carrying, non-gun violence) in concert over time. ...
Article
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Objectives This study aims to examine whether periods of marijuana and other illicit drug dealing (“spells” of dealing) are associated with changes in young male offenders’ gun carrying behavior. Methods This paper uses 84 months of data from a sample of 479 serious juvenile male offenders who were assessed every 6 months for 3 years and then annually for 4 years. At each assessment, participants reported on engagement in illicit behaviors, including drug dealing and gun carrying, in each month since the prior interview. We used fixed effects models to assess within-individual changes in participants’ gun carrying immediately before, during, and right after a dealing spell, while controlling for relevant time varying confounds (e.g., gang involvement, exposure to violence). Additionally, we tested moderation by type of drug sold. Results There was a slight increase in gun carrying right before a drug dealing spell (OR = 1.3–1.4), then a more pronounced increase in gun carrying during the months of a drug dealing spell (OR = 8.0–12.8). Right after a dealing spell ends, youths’ gun carrying dropped dramatically, but remained significantly elevated relative to their baseline levels (OR = 2.6–2.8). The association between drug dealing spells and increases in gun carrying was stronger when participants dealt hard drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin) relative to marijuana. Conclusions These results suggest that designing and implementing programs to prevent the initiation of drug dealing and decrease involvement in drug dealing may help to substantially reduce illegal gun carrying and firearm violence among delinquent males.
... Thus, individuals who carry weapons might be more inclined to engage in deviant behavior when opportunities arise, where they might have avoided, forgone, or been unable to pursue such behavior in the absence of weapons (Wright et al., 1983). This is supported by Phillips and Maume's (2007) conclusion that weapons escalate violence in conflict situations; and Wells and Horney (2002) find that in situations where individuals possess weapons, they are more likely to attack than in situations absent weapons. ...
... Moreover, these effects are not due to maturation or trends in aging. Our finding further supports the premise that carrying or possession of weapons increases violence perpetration as noted by Loftin et al. (1991) and Wells and Horney (2002). By comparison, weapon carrying facilitates substance and property delinquency, but engagement in these crimes is not dependent on carrying. ...
Article
This article examines whether weapon carrying influences the frequency and variety of violent, property, and drug delinquency adolescents commit through fixed-effects analyses of data from the Rochester Youth Development Study (RYDS). We conclude that weapon carrying contributes to violent, substance, and property delinquency, and delinquent behaviors learned during weapon carrying continue to affect substance and property delinquency long after carrying has ceased.
... Giv en the facilitativ e part played by w eapon as an important stimulus for dominance and aggression, it is unsurprising that armed robbers and other v iolent offenders are more likely to carry w eapons and firearms to perpetrate their v iolent acts. While it is appreciated that the use of w eapons and firearms by v iolent offenders is a global phenomenon (for a rev iew , see Brennan & Moore, 2009;I gbo, 2001;Kleck & Hogan, 1999;Turner, Simons, Berkow itz, & Frodi, 1977;Wells & Horney, 2002), the sources of firearms, such as rifles, pistols, and other dangerous, locally made w eapons used by v iolent offenders, in Nigeria has raised many of the usual questions among the general public. How ev er, it can be speculated that the country"s problems w ith small arms and w eaponry can be dated back to the 1967-70 civ il w ar, during w hich the southeast made a failed attempt to secede. ...
... This finding can be interpreted from the perspectiv es of w eapon av ailability or possession could induce a psychological inclination to attack or the psychological strength in offenders to exert control ov er their victims by using the threat of harm or actual harm. This position is supported by Wells and Horney (2002) w ith regard to gun possession; more than any other w eapon, guns increase the possibility of attack because they empow er offenders or their users to inflict damage from a distance, w ithout endangering themselv es. ...
Article
The current study recruited participants from among the prison inmates in Nigeria to determine the relative impacts of availability and use of weapons in their respective communities prior to incarceration as risk factors for criminal offending. Eight hundred and tw enty one participants made up of those awaiting trial and convicts, ranging in age from 16 to 65 years (M= 30.4, SD= 7.6) w ere recruited through opportunistic (non probability) sampling across ten medium and maximum security prisons in Nigeria to participate in the study. Adopting the quantitative analysis, the computed outcomes predict the effects of weapon availability as potential risk factors to criminal offending among this group. The implications of the findings for crime reduction policy in targeting offenders w ho are at risk of committing criminal offences due to weapon av ailability are emphasised.
... Criminals frequently rely on the deployment of certain tools for crime perpetration (Chiu & Leclerc, 2017;Wells & Horney, 2002). Therefore, it was deemed necessary to seek information on the essential tools commonly utilized by the Yahoo-boys. ...
Article
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Despite the fact that the online criminal activities of Nigerian cyberfraudsters popularly known as the Yahoo-boys has attracted tremendous scholarly attention, little empirical information exists on their operational tools, techniques and underground networks. Hence, this study was motivated by the need to fill this observed gap. Social learning theory was adopted as theoretical guide while in-depth interview was principally deployed for data collection. Snowball sampling technique was utilized for the selection of 11 Yahoo-boys operating in Ibadan city. The results showed that Yahoo-boys who became wealthy through cyber fraud perpetration were being imitated by their peers who saw them as role models. Two major categories of operational tools were generally deployed by the Yahoo-boys for crime commission and illicit cash flows. Underground online forums, foreign criminal contacts and abroad-based criminal associates constituted the major sources of their operational tools and positively reinforced them towards cyber fraud. Yahoo-boys invested huge capital in the procurement of operational tools because they positively defined cyber fraud as a profitable business. There is the need for global law enforcement agencies and relevant international cybercrime-fighting institutions to constantly review and analyze the latest tools and techniques being employed by cyberfraudsters to effectively curtail their illegal activities.
... Criminals frequently rely on the deployment of certain tools for crime perpetration (Chiu & Leclerc, 2017;Wells & Horney, 2002). Therefore, it was deemed necessary to seek information on the essential tools commonly utilized by the Yahoo-boys. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the fact that the online criminal activities of Nigerian cyberfraudsters popularly known as the Yahoo-boys has attracted tremendous scholarly attention, little empirical information exists on their operational tools, techniques and underground networks. Hence, this study was motivated by the need to fill this observed gap. Social learning theory was adopted as theoretical guide while in-depth interview was principally deployed for data collection. Snowball sampling technique was utilized for the selection of 11 Yahoo-boys operating in Ibadan city. The results showed that Yahoo-boys who became wealthy through cyber fraud perpetration were being imitated by their peers who saw them as role models. Two major categories of operational tools were generally deployed by the Yahoo-boys for crime commission and illicit cash flows. Underground online forums, foreign criminal contacts and abroad-based criminal associates constituted the major sources of their operational tools and positively reinforced them towards cyber fraud. Yahoo-boys invested huge capital in the procurement of operational tools because they positively defined cyber fraud as a profitable business. There is the need for global law enforcement agencies and relevant international cybercrime-fighting institutions to constantly review and analyze the latest tools and techniques being employed by cyberfraudsters to effectively curtail their illegal activities.
... Instead, existing studies have largely focused on crime rates or cumulative measures of violence exposure that combine exposure to gun violence with other forms of violence such as stabbings, muggings, and physical fights (Gergo et al. 2020;Clark et al. 2008;Fowler et al. 2009;Huang et al. 2018;Wilson-Genderson and Pruchno 2013). This is an important gap in the literature because gun violence is far more likely to lead to the death or injury of victims and bystanders than other types of violence such as stabbings or physical fights and, as such, may be especially traumatizing for witnesses (Wells and Horney 2002). Indeed, residents of violent neighborhoods report fears that they or their loved ones will be the victims of gun violence (Opara 2020). ...
Article
Gun violence is a uniquely prevalent issue in the USA that disproportionately affects disadvantaged families already at risk of health disparities. Despite the traumatic nature of witnessing gun violence, we have little knowledge of whether exposure to local gun violence is associated with higher risks of depression among mothers, whose symptoms of depression are likely to have spillover effects for kin. We examined the association between exposure to gun violence in mothers’ neighborhoods and their experiences of depression using longitudinal Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study data (n = 4587) in tandem with lagged outcome and fixed effect models. We find that mothers who witness at least one shooting in their neighborhoods or local communities exhibit more symptoms of depression and are 32–60% more likely to meet criteria for depression than mothers who do not witness a shooting. We also find that witnessing a shooting is associated with increases in parental aggravation, which is partially mediated by maternal depression. Given this and other previously documented spillover effects of mothers’ mental health on children and family members, these findings have important implications for mothers’ wellbeing and their kin. Further, we observe substantial racial and socioeconomic disparities in exposure to gun violence, suggesting that gun violence may heighten health disparities and drawing attention to the importance of providing mental health resources in communities that are most affected by gun violence.
... In addition, identification of LCM firearms and AWs is not discussed in any detail, which is potentially problematic, especially considering that the FBI active shooter data do not identify firearm models or even which guns were semiautomatics. of weaponry on the outcomes of violent events (i.e., weapon "instrumentality") while controlling in different ways (albeit, imperfectly) for characteristics of the situations and actors involved. Most of this research has focused on the effects of guns relative to the use of other or no weapons (e.g., Alba & Messner, 1995;Felson & Messner, 1996;Wells & Horney, 2002;Zimring, 1968), although a few studies (besides those noted in text) have used such methods to contrast attacks involving different types of firearms (Libby & Corzine, 2007;Libby & Wright, 2009;Zimring, 1972). Collectively, these studies affirm the notion that attacks with more lethal weapons are more likely to result in deaths and serious injuries. ...
Article
Research Summary This article examines the use, impacts, and regulation of assault weapons and other high‐capacity semiautomatic firearms as they pertain to the problem of mass shootings in the United States. High‐capacity semiautomatics (which include assault weapons as a subset) are used in between 20% and 58% of all firearm mass murders, and they are used in a particularly high share of public mass shootings. Mass shootings perpetrated with these firearms result in substantially more fatalities and injuries than do attacks with other firearms, and these differences are especially pronounced for the number of victims with nonfatal gunshot injuries. The federal ban on assault weapons and large‐capacity (>10 rounds) ammunition magazines of 1994 had exemptions and loopholes that limited its short‐term effects, but its expiration in 2004 was followed by an increase in the use of these weapons in mass shootings and other crimes. Growing evidence suggests that state‐level restrictions on large‐capacity magazines reduce mass shootings, but further research is needed on the implementation and effects of these laws. Policy Implications Restrictions on large‐capacity magazines are the most important provisions of assault weapons laws in part because they can produce broader reductions in the overall use of high‐capacity semiautomatics that facilitate high‐volume gunfire attacks. Data on mass shooting incidents suggest these magazine restrictions can potentially reduce mass shooting deaths by 11% to 15% and total victims shot in these incidents by one quarter, likely as upper bounds. It may take several years for the effects of these laws to be fully realized, however, depending on their specific provisions, especially with regard to treatment of pre‐ban weaponry.
... This comparison is useful if one is interested in studying the effects of situational variables on violent outcomes. The method has been used in studies of situational effects on violence generally (e.g., Felson 1982;Phillips 2003;Wells and Horney 2002); studies of the escalation of barroom conflicts (e.g., Graham and Wells 2001;Miller et al. 1 3 2016), and of intimate partner violence (e.g., Powers and Simpson 2012;Murphy et al. 2005;Leonard and Quigley 1999;Testa et al. 2003). 3 We use a within-person design in which we focus on whether the antagonist was an offender or not. ...
Article
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Objectives A social interactionist perspective suggests that violent offenders are frequently victims of violence because of the way they behave, and the way third parties behave during verbal disputes that lead to escalation. We examine to what extent violent offenders are more likely to be victimized because they tend to engage in provocative actions, are less likely to engage in remedial actions, and more likely to be intoxicated, and because third-parties have a greater tendency to encourage aggressive behaviors during disputes involving offenders. Methods Analyses are based on an original situational-level survey of male inmates and men in the community about characteristics of their verbal and violent interpersonal disputes. We examined the extent to which various dispute-related behaviors and third-party actions mediated the relationship between offending and two study outcomes: whether the dispute became violent and whether the antagonist was victimized. Results Using two measures of violent offender status, we find that violent actors are more likely to engage in verbal aggression during disputes, are less likely to engage in remedial actions, and are more likely to be intoxicated. Third parties are more likely to be present during the disputes of offenders and they tend to encourage escalation. Combined, these situational processes mediate a substantial portion of the relationship between offending and violent victimization. Conclusions The findings indicate the victim-offender overlap is partly due to the behaviors of offenders and third parties during disputes that significantly increase the risk of conflict escalation.
... 5 A particularly dangerous component of school crime is gun violence, which may result in severe physical injury and even death. 6 In 2013, 4% of students from 12 to 18 years old reported having access to a loaded gun without adult permission. 1 In addition, during the 2013-2014 school year, the rate of reported firearm possession incidents in schools was 3 per 100 000 students, with three states reporting rates above 10. 1 Furthermore, concealed gun carrying may be especially important for older youth, male students, as well as black and Hispanic adolescents. 7 8 Little is known about the effectiveness of gun control on school safety. ...
Article
Background This paper examines the associations between state-level gun control and adolescent school safety overall and by student sex, age, and race. Methods We used data on 926 639 adolescents from 45 states in the 1999–2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. Students self-reported on weapon carrying at school, the number of times they experienced weapon threats or injuries at school, the number of school days missed due to feeling unsafe, and weapon carrying at any location. For each state and year, 133 gun laws were combined into an index of gun control strength. Difference-in-differences logistic regression models were used to evaluate the associations of stricter gun laws with binary measures of students’ weapon carrying and perception of school safety, controlling for individual and state characteristics, as well as year and state fixed effects. Results An IQR increase in the index (ie, a 15-point increase corresponding to a strengthening of gun control) was associated with a 0.8-percentage point decrease in the probability of weapon threats at school (p=0.029), a 1.1-percentage point decrease in the probability of missing school due to feeling unsafe (p=0.002) and a 1.9-percentage point decrease in the probability of carrying weapons at any location (p=0.001). Stricter gun laws had a stronger negative association with weapon carrying among males compared with females. Stricter gun laws were also differentially associated with weapon carrying by race/ethnicity. Conclusions The adoption of stricter state gun laws was associated with improvements in school climate and subjective perceptions of safety.
... 1 Discussion does exist on the effectiveness of guns (see Kleck, 1991) and the interaction between weapon choice and intent to do harm, on level of injury by weapon type (see Wells & Horney, 2002). 2 Not to say that females do not participate in physical fights, just that participation in fights is not as likely to be linked with female weapon carrying. ...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss theories and research regarding youth’s motivations for carrying weapons, weapon carriers' demographics, and predictive, protective, and risk factors for juvenile weapon carrying. We document areas for further research and potential implications for policy development.
... For this study, newly incarcerated male offenders, regardless of offense committed, were those housed in these four facilities for three months or less. The sampling decision was grounded largely in the research that has shown it is ideal to ask offenders about their past behaviors in a timely manner for the best recall (see Bradburn, Rips, & Shevell, 1987;Wells & Horney, 2002). Every respondent (N=330) interviewed for the study was asked to respond to a variety of individual level questions along with three standardized vignettes. ...
Article
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Empirical research has established social information processing (SIP) theory as a prominent theory of youth aggression. However, little research on the theory exists in the criminological research. The purpose of this study is to conduct a partial test of SIP theory on a sample of 330 adult offenders using vignettes. Specifically, utilizing hierarchical generalized linear modeling (HGLM), we examine self-reported situational decision making (anger, intentions, goals, and response generation) and person-level variables (anger and hostile attribution bias) in predicting reported outcomes to high risk for violence vignettes. Results indicate that SIP and anger variables are important to further examine with the adult criminal population. Keywords: social information processing, theory, anger, hostile attribution bias In past theoretical and empirical works, identifying the decision-making process of offenders has been difficult as the cognitive process underlying this phenomenon is not readily observable (Glockner & Betsch, 2008). While in criminology decision-making research often is grounded in assumptions about rational choice and free will, researchers in psychology have attempted to articulate this decision-making process focusing on social and cognitive factors. These criminological theories of decision making are often challenged for being overly simplistic and failing to account for individual differences in rationality and important situational variables.
... Dentro de los planes de recolección de armas se encuentran los planes de entrega voluntaria de armas. Se parte de ciertos estudios que demuestran que buena parte de los homicidios que son consecuencia de conflictos entre personas conocidas, de los suicidios impulsivos y de los accidentes con armas se deben al fácil acceso a las armas de fuego (tesis de accesibilidad) (Brent, 2001;Dahlberg et ál., 2004;Hemenway y Miller, 2002;Duggan, 2001;Kellermann et ál., 1992;Small Arms Survey, 2001y 2004Wells y Horney, 2002). Por lo tanto, dificultar el acceso a las mismas mediante un plan de entrega de armas o políticas similares debería disminuir este tipo de muertes (Bandeira y Bourgois, 2005;Magalhães, 2006). ...
Article
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El artículo realiza una síntesis de evaluación de los estudios que evalúan el impacto del Estatuto de Desarme y del Plan de Entrega Voluntaria de Armas en la violencia en Brasil (2003-2005). La dificultad para aislar el impacto neto que tuvieron dichas medidas en un fenómeno multicausal como la violencia requiere un diseño de evaluación complejo. De las evaluaciones analizadas, se destacan los diseños cuasi experimentales que comparan series temporales y que, a través de modelos multivariados, incluyen explicaciones complementarias sobre el descenso de la violencia. A partir de las evaluaciones más rigurosas, se puede concluir que los planes de recolección de armas son efectivos para reducir la violencia si son combinados con otras medidas de seguridad y con mejoras socioeconómicas, especialmente a nivel estatal.
... . Whether this is true in reality is uncertain and is discussed in the later section on offender responses to victim resistance. While the 'weapons effect' may serve to prime the victim towards aggression, the stress of the situation and individual intent are likely to be a more influential factor in their decision-making (Phillips & Maume, 2007b). Wells and Horney (2002) noted a difficulty of separating the harming effect of weapons from that of individual intent. Two conflicting possibilities are apparent: if a weapon is associated with increased harm, this may simply reflect the intention of the offender to cause more harm, or there may be an instrumentality effect of the weapon that influences the of ...
Research
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Chapter for Oxford Handbook of Offender Decision-Making
... In brief, scholars disagree on whether a lethal intention contributes to a real or to a spurious relationship between guns and violent outcomes. The main point of contention is whether "guns kill people" or whether "people kill people" (see also Apel et al., 2013;Kleck & McElrath, 1991;Weaver et al., 2004;Wells & Horney, 2002;Wolfgang, 1958;Zimring, 1968). As the debate is still open, this study has only made use of a sample of serious violent events where all offenders have an intent to kill rather than to injure, thereby excluding cases such as (aggravated) assault that ended lethally or not. ...
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When investigating serious violence, studies tend to look primarily at offenders and their background. This study investigates the influence of offenders' and victims' criminal history and immediate situational factors on the likelihood that violent events will end lethally. For this purpose, we compare lethal with non-lethal events, and combine Dutch criminal records with data from court files of those involved in lethal (i.e., homicide, n = 126) versus non-lethal events (i.e., attempted homicide, n = 141). Results reveal that both criminal history and immediate situational factors clearly matter for the outcome of violent events; however, immediate situational factors have the strongest effect on violent outcomes. © The Author(s) 2015.
... Knives were the most frequently used weapon type, being used in 1 in every 5 personal robberies. Wells and Horney (2002) examined over 2000 violent and potentially violent events described by offenders to assess the role of weapons. The authors reported that the offenders intent to injure did not appear to play a role in determining the need for a weapon and firearm attacks overall reduced the risk of injury. ...
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th , 2012; revised September 16 th , 2012; accepted September 23 rd , 2012 The concept that weapon choice and use may play a valuable role in differentiating between offenders is one that has not been well explored in current criminological or psychological thinking. The key aim of the current paper is to discuss the role of weapon choice and use in the application of offender profiling. Relevant research is identified though a literature review: initially considering a broad range of offences and then narrowing the focus on the specific case of violent and sexual offences. The review highlights several key findings which are then conceptualised through the offender profiling literature. In the discussion, the paper argues that there is considerable merit in the consideration of weapons within profiling violent and sexual offenders and concludes with proposed dimensions (planning and emotional use of the weapon) that illustrate the range of motivations that may aid in discriminating offenders.
... In these incidents, handguns were the most prevalent type of firearm used. The employment of firearms in robbery cases appeared to give the carrier coercive power and increase the tendency to attack without endangering themselves (Wells and Horney 2002). This power enables the carrier to threaten victims using firearms to facilitate compliance of the victims (Tedeschi and Felson 1994). ...
... We attributed this finding to the premeditation associated with carrying a gun to commit a crime, and the power differential created when a gun is used in a violent interpersonal incident. It appears that, in crimes involving a firearm, the public may view such an attack with greater distain and agree with harsher punishment despite prior research indicating an attenuating effect of guns on victim injury Burgason, Thomas, Berthelot, & Burkey 2014;Wells & Horney, 2002;Felson, Baumer, & Messner, 2000;Block & Skogan, 1986). ...
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Considerable research has examined public opinion of the death penalty using simplistic questions such as, “Do you favor or oppose the death penalty.” Simply categorizing people into favoring or opposing capital punishment does little to address the array of factors and circumstances that are part of every murder. We examine variables concerning the nature of homicides from a set of 40 murder vignettes used to gauge respondents’ level of support for capital punishment in murder cases. The data are structured such that vignette responses are nested within individuals, meaning a multi-level analysis is appropriate. We used HLM to explore how vignette-level or homicide related characteristics influence support for the death penalty, as well as how individual-level characteristics condition these factors. Analyses revealed that individual-level variables were non-significant when analyzed independently; however, cross-level interactions indicated significant individual-level influences on homicide-level characteristics as they relate to respondents’ support for the death penalty.
... As Sorenson (2006) noted in a recent review, while there have been many studies of the role of weapon accessibility and use in criminal violence, and many, many more studies of IPV, there have been only a handful of studies that examined weapon use in IPV incidents. Weapons have been found to escalate the use of violence to resolve conflicts (Phillips and Maume, 2007;Wells and Horney, 2002), and a review of weapon use in IPV incidents found that the presence of firearms in the household significantly increases the odds of an IPV incident becoming fatal (Wilkinson and Hammerschlag, 2005). Sorenson (2006) found that where firearms are employed by intimate partners, they are more likely to be used against women, although she notes that less than one percent of IPV incidents result in a fatality. ...
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This study relies on the concept of social isolation to analyze variation in weapon use in intimate partner violence (IPV) cases in rural North Carolina. Social isolation and IPV weapon use are operationalized through census and IPV incident data collected in three rural counties in southeastern North Carolina. The authors relied on reports of IPV from law enforcement agencies within these counties, which were geocoded by address and located within census tracts to assess IPV weapon use and its correlates across sub-county areas. The current study expands on studies of weapon use and social isolation by criminologists and public health researchers by assessing the nature of IPV incidents, accounting for possible incident-level and contextual correlates. Statistical analyses indicate that sex of the attacker (female) and age are the only significant predictors of weapon use. We discuss the implications of these findings for further research on weapon use and IPV in rural areas.
... Yet, when drug market participants carry guns, the risk of serious and lethal violence escalates exponentially (Blumstein 1995;Blumstein et al. 2000). Compared to other weapons, firearms greatly increase the probability of physical injury and death (Cook 1991;Cook and Ludwig 2004), and individuals who carry them are often quicker to resort to violence (Phillips and Maume 2007;Wells and Horney 2002). ...
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Objectives The decision to carry a gun by drug market participants involves consideration of the potential for conflict with other market actors, the need for self-protection, and the desire for reputation and status, among other factors. The objective of this study is to investigate the motives, contingencies, and situational factors that influence criminal gun possession among drug market participants. Methods Using data on drug offenders from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, we estimate design-based logistic regression models within a multiple imputation framework to investigate the influence of drug market features and participant characteristics on gun carrying behavior. Results Overall, 7 % of the drug offenders in our sample carried a firearm during the offense for which they were incarcerated. Our multivariate findings indicate that a number of factors condition drug market participants’ propensity for gun carrying, including individual psychopharmacological, economic-compulsive, and systemic factors as well as broader features of the marketplace, including the type of drug market, the value of the drugs, and certain structural characteristics. Conclusions Our findings have a number of implications for designing drug market interventions. Directing enforcement resources against emerging, expanding, or multi-commodity drug markets could deter lethal violence more than interventions targeting stable, single-commodity markets. In addition to open-air street markets, targeting higher-level and closed market segments could realize meaningful gun violence reductions. Finally, the expansion of promising focused deterrence strategies that combine deterrence and support initiatives could further deescalate gun violence.
... Wel bestaat veel discussie over het relatieve belang van het type wapen of de intentie van de dader bij een fatale uitkomst (o.a. Wells & Horney, 2002). e.a., 2004), maar ook voor slachtoffers (Felson & Steadman, 1983;Phillips e.a., 2007). ...
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Sommige ernstige geweldsincidenten eindigen met dodelijke afloop, andere niet. Om te onderzoeken welke factoren bij dit verschil in afloop een rol spelen, bestudeerden we op basis van strafdossiers in hoeverre een aantal geselecteerde incidentkenmerken en gedragingen van actoren bijdroeg aan de escalatie van conflicten. Hiertoe zijn 267 ernstige geweldsincidenten bestudeerd waarbij daders veroordeeld waren voor fataal geweld (moord/doodslag, N=126) of niet-fataal geweld (poging moord/doodslag, N=141). De resultaten tonen substantiële verschillen tussen conflicten met een fatale en niet-fatale afloop op het punt van incidentkenmerken en vooral van gedragingen van actoren gedurende het incident. De kans op een fatale afloop blijkt vooral toe te nemen wanneer sprake is van alcoholgebruik door slachtoffers, vuurwapengebruik door daders, bepaalde gedragingen geïnitieerd door het slachtoffer en afwezigheid van omstanders.
Article
Purpose This research uses rational choice theory to analyze the effects of motivation, premeditation and offender characteristics on offenders' weapons during decision-making processes when they are violent towards on-duty police officers. The paper aims to discuss the aforementioned issues. Design/methodology/approach The researchers examined 597 cases ( n = 597) of violence against the police in the China Judgments Online (CJO) database, and analyzed the data using multinomial logistic regression methods. Rational choice theory was used to explore the offenders' weapons decision-making process. Findings The research results showed that offenders with premeditation were more likely to use a weapon, and tended to choose sharp weapons; offenders motivated to “escape arrest” were more likely to use a weapon, and tended to choose a vehicle as a weapon; and offenders motivated by “conflict resolution” were more likely to choose a sharp or blunt weapon. Research limitations/implications These findings have limited applicability to other countries and must be considered in the local background of violence against police. Practical implications Through the rational choice theory analytical framework, this study clarifies how motivation and premeditation influence offenders' weapons decision-making processes. Social implications Also, this study may provide support for frontline police officers' law enforcement. Originality/value The research identified some specific connections between offenders' weapon choice preferences, their motivation for the violence and whether or not there was premeditation. The findings provide guidance for police agencies developing preventive policies, and for frontline officers in interpreting and managing the situations they face.
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Knives and sharp objects are tools used in a wide range of violent offences. However, knife offending may have different risk factors than general violence, thus requiring tailored interventions. This systematic review aims to synthesise evidence on the characteristics of knife offenders and interventions aimed at the reduction of knife crime. After screening 1352 titles and abstracts, 344 articles were fully considered of which 21 papers met the inclusion criteria and were quality assessed. These consisted of 15 offender characteristic studies and six intervention studies. Findings suggested that knife crime may be associated with illicit drug use, exposure to any violence as a witness, victim or perpetrator and mental health problems. Males were more at risk of engaging in knife crime in the community and females in domestic settings. Different risk factors were found between gang involved and non-involved knife offenders. Primary prevention strategies, such as stop and search, knife amnesties, media campaigns and curfews did not show a significant impact in reducing knife crime. By contrast, increasing offenders' access to tailored support regarding housing, education, and employment showed an impact in reducing weapon carrying. Further research is required in the area to support the reliability of outcomes.
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Repeat female offenders’ community transitions following incarceration, and their subsequent return to jail were investigated. Specifically examined were needs at release and whether unmet needs, personal history and post-discharge factors were associated with time out. Interviews were conducted with 160 jailed women. Hierarchical regression was used to examine factors associated with time out. Women present myriad needs at release that often go unmet; transportation and employment appear most salient. Time out was positively related to age, employment, and mental health treatment, and negatively associated with sexual violence. Coordinated efforts between jails and community-based providers are needed for women’s successful reentry.
Chapter
In this chapter, we outline the main findings of the published academic material that enhance the understanding of contemporary patterns of corrosive substance crime and why corrosives are used as a weapon. First, an overview of material relating to the harms, global patterns and motivations for acid attacks is offered. We identify that, although the previous research identifies the motivations for crime that uses corrosives (or what the desired outcomes for the offender are), explanations regarding why offenders choose to carry acid (in preference to other weapons) and why corrosives are used in a crime event (as opposed to other weapon types) are scarce. In establishing our understanding, we draw on some of the wider weapons literature to identify numerous risk factors associated with weapon carrying and develop some understanding regarding why offenders choose to carry and then use weapons. The chapter makes a novel contribution to the literature by consolidating the research on acid attacks and identifying where gaps exist. However, it also identifies a need for better understanding of the patterns of acid attacks, including why people may carry acid as a weapon of choice, and the transition from carrying or being in possession of a corrosive to using a corrosive in a crime event.
Article
Objective This study examines the effects of dynamic risk factors on handgun carrying from adolescence into young adulthood. Method A nationally representative sample of 8,679 individuals (ages 12–26; 51.1% male; 58% White, 26.8% African American; 21.2% Hispanic ethnicity) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997 cohort) interviewed at least three times across nine annual waves is used to estimate effects on handgun carrying. Key predictors include gang membership, selling and using drugs, violent crime, and arrest. Using mixed effects models, we focus on within-individual effects across three timeframes from ages 12 to 26: 1) predictors and handgun carrying measured concurrently, 2) predictors measured across one year and handgun carrying measured in the final month of the same year, and 3) predictors measured in the wave before handgun carrying. We also contrast estimates by sex and age. Results All theoretically relevant predictors statistically significantly predict handgun carrying across the first two timeframes. However, none are statistically significant predictors of handgun carrying in the following year. Few significant sex and age differences emerge. Conclusions Handgun carrying is an ephemeral behavior particularly during adolescence. The predictors of handgun carrying, which are grounded in gangs, drug use/sale, and crime involvement, appear to have short-term impacts that are consistent across age as well as across sex. Consequently, future work should focus on shorter-term changes in models and there is no evidence that intervention efforts must take fundamentally different approaches to reduce handgun use among males versus females or adolescents versus adults.
Conference Paper
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Frente aos graves problemas relacionados ao crime e à violência no Brasil, assim como às ameaças de ações terroristas que podem se fazer presentes e são foco constante de atenção em eventos internacionais de grande clamor público, os Jogos Pan-Americanos realizados no Rio de Janeiro em Julho de 2007 tiveram o efeito de movimentar diversas entidades e agências nacionais e internacionais com o objetivo de prevenir e controlar a violência e ações criminosas na cidade. Nesse sentido, com investimentos de grande importância, foi planejado e executado um conjunto significativo de ações que buscaram, em seus diferentes matizes e características específicas, possibilitar o controle e redução da criminalidade no período. A meta aqui almejada, apesar de não ser exaustiva no sentido de abranger os diferentes campos de análise relacionados às dinâmicas criminais encontradas, as políticas implementadas e seu impacto social, foi a de identificar interconexões entre as incidências criminais, a partir da análise das ocorrências criminais oficiais registradas, e as principais inovações em termos de segurança que vieram fazer parte do cenário da cidade do Rio de Janeiro. Assim, este trabalho tem o duplo desafio de estabelecer relações entre as ações desenvolvidas e seu impacto sobre a prevenção, e ao mesmo tempo distinguir os efeitos desses dois campos principais de ações significativamente diferenciadas.
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We examine the role of a norm protecting women in understanding third‐party partisanship in verbal and violent disputes. Our analyses are based on reports provided by male inmates and men they know who have never been arrested. The results show that third parties are more likely to support female adversaries than male adversaries. The gender effect is stronger when we control for the relational distance between adversaries, which indicates that a privacy norm might inhibit this normative protection. The gender effect is somewhat weaker when we control for the relative physical size of the adversaries, which indicates that a general norm protecting vulnerable people partly explains the gender effect. The strong gender effect that remains, however, demonstrates the importance of the normative protection of women, regardless of relative size, during disputes. The results have implications for research on situational factors in violence and violence against women.
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Research on homicide trends has not adequately considered trends in interpersonal disputes. Aggregate homicide rates partly reflect the extent to which less serious forms of interpersonal violence escalate to deadly violence. This study argues that the rate of disputes in a society and the proportion that result in deadly violence vary independently. But both are necessary to understand lethality trends. The study compares rates of homicide in the Supplemental Homicide Report with rates of violence in the National Crime Victimization Survey to estimate lethality trends from 1992 to 2016. Findings are discussed regarding their implications for explanations of homicide trends.
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A scant literature has identified gun carrying as a potential risk factor for victimization at the individual level. To date, however, research has generally focused on high-risk individuals rather than samples drawn from the general population. Additionally, prior studies have not often enough included controls robust enough to feel strongly that the relationship between gun carrying and victimization, gun victimization in particular, is not simply the spurious outcome of factors that influence both variables. The current study uses data from Add Health participants (N = 13,568) to look at the effect of gun carrying on gun victimization among adolescents. Results suggest that even when robust controls are considered, a measure of gun carrying significantly and positively correlates with gun victimization. The results support a model of the gun carrying-gun victimization relationship wherein gun carrying increases risks for gun victimization independent of factors that may influence both risky behaviors and victimization. Implications for theory and policy are discussed.
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We examine whether economic crimes are committed to fund drug addiction and/or to fund a hedonistic lifestyle. To address motivation, we estimate reciprocal relationships between economic crime and drug use and between economic crime and hedonistic activity generally. Analyses are based on event calendar data collected from 715 male offenders. Both simultaneous (within-month) relationships and effects involving a 1-month lag are examined. Offenders were more likely to engage in property crime and drug dealing during months in which they used hard drugs, marijuana, and alcohol, and when they engaged in more frequent unstructured socializing. The results from lagged models suggested that hedonistic activities lead to economic crime and economic crime creates opportunities for more frequent hedonistic activity.
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An inverse relationship between employment and crime is well established, although the mechanisms that account for the correlation remain poorly understood. In the current study, we investigate the role of work quality, measured objectively (hours, income) as well as subjectively (commitment). A routine activities perspective is proposed for the work–crime relationship, and it inspires hypotheses about the way that work reduces crime indirectly, in part, through unstructured leisure and substance-using behaviors that tend to carry situational inducements to offend. The results derive from within-person analyses of monthly data provided by adult male offenders recently admitted to state prison in the Second Nebraska Inmate Study (N = 717; NT = 21,965). The findings indicate that employment significantly reduces self-report crime but only when employed men report strong commitment to their jobs, whereas other work characteristics are unrelated to crime. This indicates that, among serious criminally involved men, the subjective experience of work takes priority over its objective characteristics. The results also indicate that routine activities only partly mediate the relationship among work, job commitment, and crime, whereas the majority of the work–crime relationship remains unmediated.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to review the state of research of police militarization in the USA to explore the claim that the police are becoming more like the military, or “militarized” in order to identify gaps in the research on this topic that require further investigation. Design/methodology/approach To explore the state of police militarization, this paper draws on a scan of scholarly papers published on militarization in the American context as well as a select array of gray literature on the topic. Findings While the nature of militarization has received substantial scholarly attention, debate on the phenomenon remains and there is little consensus on the definition of what makes a department militarized. The impact of militarization is similarly unclear: some scholars suggest that it has a negative impact on policing because it creates community hostility and encourages police to see force as a central problem-solving tool. However, other scholars suggest militarization is a positive development, as it could promote professionalism and accountability. To date, there has been little empirical work on the impact of militarization on policing that could inform this debate. Originality/value This paper suggests that empirical assessments of how militarization affects use of force and legitimacy will be valuable for informing the militarization debate. As scholars on both sides of the debate have suggested that militarization affect policing outcomes in these areas, empirical tests here offer a way to explore both sides’ claims. Such tests could offer new evidence on how militarization is affecting the character and operations of American police.
Chapter
The use of firearms has become inextricably linked to gang violence. Gang-involved youth engage in more violence than their nongang peers. Youth who carry guns also engage in more violence than those who do not arm themselves. So, separately, gang membership and gun carrying increase the likelihood of committing crimes. Gangs and guns provide a toxic combination, boosting violence to levels considerably higher than those caused by gangs or guns alone. This chapter considers these issues to illuminate the full picture of gang violence and gun violence. Gangs feel compelled to guard their turf for safety reasons, to maintain their status or reputation in the community, and, in the case of disputes over drug selling, to protect their financial interests. Given the synergy between gangs, guns, and violence, one would expect dire consequences of gang gun violence due to the compounding effects of opportunity, motivation, and resources for committing crimes.
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Our inquiry focuses on why some violent offenses but not others result in injury to the victim. Building on existing theory nested in the paradigm of pure sociology, we propose and test a general principle of conflict: Victim injury varies directly with social distance. This principle predicts that offenders are more likely to harm victims with whom they are less well acquainted and less similar culturally. We test three hypotheses derived from this principle with data from the National Crime Victimization Survey and find little support for the theory. Rather, findings suggest exactly the opposite of that predicted: As social distance between offender and victim increases, the odds of victim injury decreases. Recommendations of additional research are made.
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The objective of this study is to hone in on the contextual, social, and individual characteristics that influence lethal outcomes across shootings. Although most criminological research focuses on differential outcomes for gun violence relative to nongun violence, we argue that great insight can be drawn through examining shootings in isolation. We focus on five ways that shooting outcomes vary: the number of shots fired, the number of times the victim was hit, where the victim was hit, the number of victims that were hit, and whether the shooting resulted in a fatality. Building on the adversary effects hypothesis and public health research on the impact of gunshot wound volume and location, we examine the factors that account for variation across shooting outcomes. Our analysis of data from the Rochester Shooting Database suggests that both adversary effects and random factors influence shooting outcomes. In addition, the results also reveal that adversary effects are more important during some stages of a shooting than others. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
This analysis argues that armed Americans and their weapons are central agents in a network of objects and affects. Guns may not only assert agency on people but, also, firearm–human relations – emergent within the contested legal boundaries that discipline their bodily concealment and revelation – are best seen as an enchanted assemblage of performance, control, omnipotence, pleasure, and fear. Both material and semiotic in nature – guns are things that shoot and things that convey meaning. The cultural desire to secretly arm or openly carry a firearm in public spaces, and the range of motivations and reactions that frame it, inform this project. How are gun owners transformed by the corporeal relationships they have with their weapons? Moreover, how is this relationship a mode of affective embodiment, in which the gun so easily merges with its owner, forming and conforming to the body, dissolving into one’s person unconsciously, much like but much differently than a cell phone?
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Importance: Gun violence and injuries pose a substantial threat to children and youth in the United States. Existing evidence points to the need for interventions and policies for keeping guns out of the hands of children and youth. Objectives: (1) To examine the association between state gun law environment and youth gun carrying in the United States, and (2) to determine whether adult gun ownership mediates this association. Design, setting, and participants: This was a repeated cross-sectional observational study design with 3 years of data on youth gun carrying from US states. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey comprises data of representative samples of students in grades 9 to 12 from biennial years of 2007, 2009, and 2011. We hypothesized that states with more restrictive gun laws have lower rates of youth gun carrying, and this association is mediated by adult gun ownership. Exposures: State gun law environment as measured by state gun law score. Main outcomes and measures: Youth gun carrying was defined as having carried a gun on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey. Results: In the fully adjusted model, a 10-point increase in the state gun law score, which represented a more restrictive gun law environment, was associated with a 9% decrease in the odds of youth gun carrying (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.91 [95% CI, 0.86-0.96]). Adult gun ownership mediated the association between state gun law score and youth gun carrying (AOR, 0.94 [ 95% CI, 0.86-1.01], with 29% attenuation of the regression coefficient from -0.09 to -0.07 based on bootstrap resampling). Conclusions and relevance: More restrictive overall gun control policies are associated with a reduced likelihood of youth gun carrying. These findings are relevant to gun policy debates about the critical importance of strengthening overall gun law environment to prevent youth gun carrying.
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This chapter outlines the importance of including the offender’sperspective on his or her own behaviour in any analysis of criminal activity. In particular, it argues that research on specific types of crime, patterns of crime and interventions into offending behaviour must benefit from including this perspective. The first part of the chapter focuses on work done on residential burglary to show how fruitful this ‘grounded’ approach to research can be. It then goes on to discuss how reliant we are on self-report methodologies in this type of research and describes some general principles and recent developments that have improved the validity and reliability of crime data collected in the field.
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Extending prior research regarding victim injury during sexual assault, the current study employed mixed-methods sequential explanatory research design to identify predictors of victim injury and victim death in 361 attempted and completed sexual assaults committed by 72 repeat sex offenders who assaulted strangers. Results from multinomial path analysis indicated that being female and offender coercion increased the likelihood of victim resistance, which in turn elevated the likelihood of victim injury. Divergent from the predictors of victim injury, the risk of victim death increased with victim age, offender alcohol use, and offender weapon possession. Exploratory analyses suggest that certain weapons resulted in higher probability of victim injury or victim death within the context of victim resistance. Exploratory analysis of qualitative data indicated that crime event order was not uniform—in some cases victim resistance preceded victim injury and in some assaults victim injury occurred prior to or was unrelated to victim resistance. The study findings highlight the need for further investigation of victim survival strategies when offenders possess different types of weapons.
Article
This paper highlights some of the probable risk factors to the Boko Haram insurgence and strategies to address religious violence and insurgent related activities in Nigeria. The paper argues that the Boko Haram insurgence cannot be blamed solely on religious fanaticism, but is a consequence of the combination of dynamic risk factors in the absence of protective factors, which make vulnerable young people turn into religious radicals or fanatics when seeking answers to the inadequacies in the polity and society at large. It is further argued that the containment of the Boko Haram insurgence by the Nigerian government should not be guided by the metaphor of a ‘war on terrorism’, but a long-term response to address the highlighted risk factors in all its complexity. In particular, social and political reforms to address the problems of excruciating poverty, endemic corruption, mass illiteracy, socio-political marginalisation and mass unemployment, that could motivate vulnerable youths and young persons into insurgent activities. The conclusion advocates different mechanisms in the form of protective factors against insurgence and religious violence in Nigeria, including social/political reform, capacity building/logistic capabilities, security enhancement, as well as conciliatory and peace education. Suppression and the use of force are suggested as a last resort.
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This research addresses recent calls to incorporate multidisciplinary approaches in the study of firearm violence by utilizing an elaborated criminal events perspective to explore the correlates of firearm injury severity. A unique dataset of nonfatal firearm injury data are derived from official police reports, allowing the use of a medically validated measure of injury trauma in place of more typical injury indicators. The relative and collaborative contributions of criminological and public health indicators for explaining variation in levels of injury severity are assessed. Multinomial logit models suggest that critical injuries are more likely among older victims, victims who knew their assailants, and victims who refused to cooperate with police. Additionally, the likelihood of critical victim injuries decreased as the time to report an incident to the police increased. The strongest correlates were measures of incident circumstances and the number of gunshot wounds a victim received. In all, these results reveal that a combination of measures from both fields is needed to provide a deeper understanding of injury severity outcomes.
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This article assesses the impact of weapons, especially firearms, on three types of outcomes of threatening or hostile interactions: (1) whether a threatening situation escalates to an actual physical attack, (2) whether the attack is completed, i.e., results in an injury, and (3) whether the injury inflicted results in death. Data on violent incidents among strangers, taken from the 1979–1985 National Crime Surveys and the 1982 Supplementary Homicide Reports, were used to estimate bivariate probit equations with a correction for sample selection bias. Results indicate that deadly weapons, including firearms, appear to inhibit attack and, in the case of an attack, to reduce the probability of injury, whereas, once an injury occurs, they appear to increase the probability of death. The overall net effect of the availability of guns on the probability of the victim's death is very close to zero.
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This essay considers the empirical foundations for some of the more important and controversial conclusions concerning guns, crime, and gun control advanced in Gary Kleck’s highly influential treatise,Point Blank. We reveal significant flaws in his original data analyses and identify problematic linkages between his evidence and his inferences. We suggest alternative interpretations for some of Kleck’s findings.
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Survey questions often probe respondents for quantitative facts about events in their past: "During the last 2 weeks, on days when you drank liquor, about how many drinks did you have?" "During the past 12 months, how many visits did you make to a dentist?" "When did you last work at a full-time job?" are all examples from national surveys. Although questions like these make an implicit demand to remember and enumerate specific autobiographical episodes, respondents frequently have trouble complying because of limits on their ability to recall. In these situations, respondents resort to inferences that use partial information from memory to construct a numeric answer. Results from cognitive psychology can be useful in understanding and investigating these phenomena. In particular, cognitive research can help in identifying situations that inhibit or facilitate recall and can reveal inferences that affect the accuracy of respondents' answers.
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This landmark study traces the life histories of approximately 300 teenage mothers and their children over a seventeen-year period. From interview data and case studies, it provides a vivid account of the impact of early childbearing on young mothers and their children. Some remarkable and surprising results emerge from this unique study of the long term adaptation to early parenthood. It also offers refreshing insights into the unexplored connections between mothers' careers and the development of their children. Adolescent Mothers in Later Life will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in teenage pregnancy.
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This article describes the Life History Calendar (LHC), a data-collection method for obtaining reliable retrospective data about life events and activities. The LHC method was developed in the context of longitudinal research to record central events that can occur in a respondent's life. The LHC can be used as both a research and a clinical assessment method. As a research instrument, the LHC can be used to collect detailed event-history data for analyzing life-course dynamics. As a clinical instrument, the LHC can be used both as an assessment tool and as a therapeutic guide. In this article, we explain the need for a LHC when studying life-course dynamics; describe the advantages of the LHC method; present data about the validity of the LHC; describe research and clinical uses of the LHC; and discuss the design of the LHC and offer suggestions about how to tailor LHC's for unique research and clinical purposes.
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We analyze month-to-month variations in offending and life circumstances of convicted felons to understand change in criminal behavior. We extend previous applications of social control theory by considering whether local life circumstances that strengthen or weaken social bonds influence offending over relatively short periods of time. We seek to determine whether formal and informal mechanisms of social control affect the likelihood of committing nine major felonies. We employ a hierarchical linear model that provides a within-individual analysis as we explore factors that determine the pattern of offending. The results suggest that meaningful short-term change in involvement in crime is strongly related to variation in local life circumstances.
Article
The research reported in this article provides the first direct experimental comparison between Event History Calendar (EHC; N = 309; 84.4 percent response rate) and standardized state-of-the-art question list (Q-list; N = 307; 84.1 percent response rate) interviewing methodologies. Respondents and 20 interviewers were randomly assigned to EHC and Q-list interviews that were conducted via telephone in the spring of 1998. All interviews asked for retrospective reports on social and economic behaviors that occurred during the calendar years of 1996 and 1997. Using data from the same respondents collected 1 year earlier on events reported during 1996 as a standard of comparison, the quality of retrospective reports on 1996 events from the 1998 administration of EHC and Q-list interviews was assessed. In comparison to the Q-list, the EHC condition led to better-quality retrospective reports on moves, income, weeks unemployed, and weeks missing work resulting from self illness, the illness of another, or missing work for these reasons in combination with other ones. For reports of household members entering the residence, and number of jobs, the EHC led to significantly more overreporting than the Q-list. Contingent on additional research that examines a wider range of reference periods and different modes of interviewing, the EHC may become a viable and potentially superior method to the Q-list in the collection of self-reported retrospective information.
Article
Event history analyses are applied to life and drung histories to specify the casual sequences that underlie the associations between marijuana use and family roles observed in cross-sectional data: inverse relationships with marriage and being a parent; positive relationships with separation/divorce. Role selection and role socialization account for these relationships, and both processes contribute to the resolution of potential incompatibilities between family roles and marijuana use. Role selection effects of marijuana use are reflected in postponement of marriage and parenthood and increased risk of marital dissolution. Socialization effects of family roles on marijuana use are reflected in the reduced risk of marijuana initiation after marriage among women and the increased rate of stopping marijuana use after marriage among women and after parenthood among men. Anticipatory socialization is reflected in an increased propensity to stop marijuana use before marriage among men and women and before par...
Article
This study uses offender interviews and the comparative analysis of cases to examine the conditions under which different modes of force are used by an offender to exact compliance from a target in robbery. The mode of force employed is constrained by two contingencies: the strength of the offender's coercive resources and the meaning of the target to the robbery. The greater the punitive strength of the offender's coercive resources, the more likely the offender will use limited force to exact compliance. The lesser the punitive strength of the offender's resources, the more likely the offender will use massive force to generate compliance. When the target is deemed pivotal to the offender's goal achievement, the offender is confined to the use of limited force, regardless of the punitive strength of his or her resources. When the target is not considered necessary, the offender will use either limited or massive force, depending on the strength of his or her resources.
Article
Because of the historical stigma attached to rape and family violence, estimating incidence rates of these victimizations is a difficult task. Research employing diverse methodologies and operational definitions, not surprisingly, has yielded different estimates. After a 10-year redesign project, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has drastically changed the way it estimates the incidence of rape and family violence. This new survey methodology was implemented in 100 percent of the NCVS sample in July 1993; estimates based on the new survey will become available in fall 1994. The purpose of this paper is to delineate the evolution of this redesign project and to explicate how rape and domestic violence now are operationalized by the NCVS.
Article
Discusses the development and pilot testing of the Life Chart Interview (LCI) method, a standardized interview designed to assess the course of psychopathology as it interdigitates with a person's life history. The interview method draws from recent developments in autobiographical memory and life calendar research. The LCI uses age- and calendar-linked personal landmarks and an interactive chart to describe the time sequence of psychopathology and life events in parallel. Results from pilot testing of this interview with 51 community Ss as part of an epidemiologic catchment area follow-up study are presented. Future directions in the development and application of the LCI are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In [this book, the authors] describe a provocative theory that focuses on social conflicts and the concepts of power, influence, social identity, and retributive justice. They begin with a thorough examination and critique of the traditional theories of aggression, including biological, physiological, and criminological perspectives. They go on to synthesize key findings of these and other theoretical perspectives to support and define their own social interactionist theory of aggression that explores face-to-face confrontations and the intent of the aggressor's particular actions. "Violence, Aggression, and Coercive Actions" offers a new interdisciplinary approach to the study of aggression that is rooted in social and psychological perspectives. [The authors] present a strong theoretical foundation for practical analysis and intervention. Particularly thought provoking are discussions surrounding pornography, television, and other media violence; sexual coercion; and parenting styles (contrasting the use of abusive discipline with normal deterrents). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The volume's 19 chapters and 2 appendices summarize the author's research in his sociological analysis of criminal homicide in which he used Philadelphia as a community case study. "Analysis has been made of 588 criminal homicides listed by the police in this city between January 1, 1948, and December 31, 1952. A critical review of the important homicide literature in this country is provided, and whenever feasible, comparison is made of criminal homicides in Philadelphia with research elsewhere." Consideration is given to such problems as alcohol, motivation, temporal and spatial patterns. 4 chapters discuss the relationship between the victim and the offender. This sociological work is held to be of major interest for the criminologist and the police administrator. 20-page references. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This research explores the utility of the notion of lethal intent for understanding the outcomes of injurious attacks. We suggest that assailants sometimes kill rather than merely injure victims to avoid either retaliation or criminal prosecution. We hypothesize that, for these tactical reasons, offenders will be more likely to kill when they have no accomplices, when their victims are male or black, and when the victim can identify them. These hypotheses are tested with a merged data set containing information on homicides and nonlethal victimizations involving robbery, rape, and pure assault. The results of multiple logistic regression analyses are largely consistent with theoretical expectations.
Article
SYNOPSIS There is considerable evidence from inter-respondent and test–retest studies that the data obtained in structured life event inventories are not very reliable. Inter-respondent reliability estimates are presented in this paper for the life event reports obtained in a community survey that was designed to facilitate recall of life events. It is documented that respondents were able to recall many sorts of severe negative events with adequate reliability over a twelve-month recall period. Data are also presented to show that respondents could date event occurrence with good consistency. Sensitive events, such as involvement in criminal activities and difficulties in marriage, were not reliably reported. These results suggest that the problems of faulty memory and conceptual confusion about serious events can be overcome with careful question wording and administration procedures, but that the problem of respondent reticence about reporting sensitive events remains unresolved.
Article
This paper reviews the literature on the structure of autobiographical memory and points to the use of event history calendars as a survey methodology that reflects this structure. Autobiographical memory structure is characterised as an hierarchical network that includes extended, summarised, and specific events, and that permits retrieval of past events through multiple pathways that work top-down in the hierarchy, sequentially within life themes that unify extended events, and in parallel across life themes that involve contemporaneous and sequential events. Traditional survey questions tend to segment related aspects of autobiographical events from one another, and do not reflect the interrelatedness of events as indicated within the structure of autobiographical memory. In contrast, event history calendars do promote sequential and parallel retrieval within the autobiographical memory network. By reflecting the structure of autobiographical memory, the use of event history calenders has considerable potential in assisting respondents to reconstruct their personal pasts more completely and accurately, maximising the quality of retrospective reports.
Article
The research reported in this article provides the first direct experimental comparison between Event History Calendar (EHC; N=309; 84.4 percent response rate) and standardized state-of-the-art question list (Q-list; N=307; 84.1 percent response rate) interviewing methodologies. Respondents and 20 interviewers were randomly assigned to EHC and Q-list interviews that were conducted via telephone in the spring of 1998. All interviews asked for retrospective reports on social and economic behaviors that occurred during the calendar years of 1996 and 1997. Using data from the same respondents collected 1 year earlier on events reported during 1996 as a standard of comparison, the quality of retrospective reports on 1996 events from the 1998 administration of EHC and Q-list interviews was assessed. In comparison to the Q-list, the EHC condition led to better-quality retrospective reports on moves, income, weeks unemployed, and weeks missing work resulting from self illness, the illness of another, or missing work for these reasons in combination with other ones. For reports of household members entering the residence, and number of jobs, the EHC led to significantly more overreporting than the Q-list. Contingent on additional research that examines a wider range of reference periods and different modes of interviewing, the EHC may become a viable and potentially superior method to the Q-list in the collection of self-reported retrospective information.
Article
"This paper details the authors' selection, design, and use of a life history calendar (LHC) to collect retrospective life course data. A sample of nine hundred [U.S.] 23-year-olds, originally interviewed in 1980, were asked about the incidence and timing of various life events in the nine years since their 15th birthday.... The following aspects of the LHC are described: (a) the concept, uses, and advantages of the LHC, (b) the time units and domains used, (c) the mode of recording the responses and the decisions and problems involved, (d) interviewer training, and (e) coding. The following results attest to the accuracy of the LHC retrospective data: (a) only four of the calendars had missing data in any month; (b) the data obtained in 1980 about current work, school attendance, marriage, and children showed a remarkable correspondence to the retrospective 1985 LHC reports of these events; (c) the interviewers were positive about the LHC's ability to increase respondent recall."
Answering autobiographical questions: The impact of memory and inference on surveys Hierarchical Linear Models: Applications and Data Analysis Methods The Reliability of Life History Calendar Data
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  • D Richard
  • F Steven
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Kessler, Robert C. and Elaine Wetherington The reliability of life event reports in a community survey. Psychological Medicine 21:723-738. Point Black: Guns and Violence in America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Thc cffects of weaponry on human violence. Social Forces 69:669-692.