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Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 13 “The Role of Drugs and Alcohol in Violence”

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Presentation on theme: "Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 13 “The Role of Drugs and Alcohol in Violence”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 13 “The Role of Drugs and Alcohol in Violence”

2 OUTLINE PATTERNS AND TRENDS PATTERNS AND TRENDS EXPLANATIONS EXPLANATIONS Biological and Psychological Biological and Psychological Routine Activities Routine Activities Cultural Explanations Cultural Explanations Structural Explanations Structural Explanations Situational Explanations Situational Explanations INTERVENTIONS INTERVENTIONS Criminal Justice Approaches Criminal Justice Approaches Public Health Approaches Public Health Approaches

3 Patterns and Trends Evidence linking alcohol or drug use to violence is striking: Evidence linking alcohol or drug use to violence is striking: Prior alcohol use by the victim, offender, or both is found in more than half of all violent events. Prior alcohol use by the victim, offender, or both is found in more than half of all violent events. About 2/3 of all arrestees test positive for at least one illegal drug at the time of arrest. About 2/3 of all arrestees test positive for at least one illegal drug at the time of arrest % of all prison inmates have been involved in drug use and/or drug-related crimes (CASA) % of all prison inmates have been involved in drug use and/or drug-related crimes (CASA).

4 Patterns and Trends Correlations are insufficient, however, to demonstrate that alcohol or drug use causes violence. Correlations are insufficient, however, to demonstrate that alcohol or drug use causes violence. Example: problem drinkers are more likely to have previous histories of violence. But: Are violent people more likely to drink, or are heavy drinkers more likely to be violent? Example: problem drinkers are more likely to have previous histories of violence. But: Are violent people more likely to drink, or are heavy drinkers more likely to be violent? This is a “Chicken-or-the-egg” question: which comes first?

5 Patterns and Trends (cont.) Goldstein: Three Major Types of Drug-Related Violence 1. Pharmacological Effects: physiological effects of a drug on the body. Biological effects influence violent behavior, but there are many interactions with other factors. 2. Economically Compulsive: crimes committed to obtain drugs or money for purchasing drugs 3. Systemic Violence: violence associated with the illegal sale and distribution of drugs

6 Patterns and Trends (cont.) Pharmacological Effects: physiological effects of a drug on the body Biological effects influence violent behavior, but there are many interactions with other factors. Biological effects influence violent behavior, but there are many interactions with other factors. For alcohol -- low, acute doses facilitate aggression, while high doses lead to lethargy. For alcohol -- low, acute doses facilitate aggression, while high doses lead to lethargy. For marijuana and opiates -- higher doses generally decrease aggression, although opiate withdrawal may increase aggression. For marijuana and opiates -- higher doses generally decrease aggression, although opiate withdrawal may increase aggression. For amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, and PCP, increased aggression occurs only inconsistently and occasionally. No direct link between cocaine use and violence has been found. For amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, and PCP, increased aggression occurs only inconsistently and occasionally. No direct link between cocaine use and violence has been found.

7 Patterns and Trends (cont.) Economically Compulsive Violence: crimes committed to obtain drugs or money for purchasing drugs Except during withdrawal, heroin users tend to avoid violent crimes if nonviolent alternatives (e.g., burglary, theft) are available. Except during withdrawal, heroin users tend to avoid violent crimes if nonviolent alternatives (e.g., burglary, theft) are available. Johnson et al. (1985) examined 201 active street opiate users in Harlem. Johnson et al. (1985) examined 201 active street opiate users in Harlem. During the study period (at least 33 days each): 72% committed no robberies72% committed no robberies 23% committed occasional but irregular robberies23% committed occasional but irregular robberies 5% were classified as "high ‑ rate" robbers (committed 45% of all reported robberies).5% were classified as "high ‑ rate" robbers (committed 45% of all reported robberies).

8 Patterns and Trends (cont.) Systemic Violence: violence associated with the illegal sale and distribution of drugs Includes disputes with rival organizations over territory; enforcement of organizational rules; battles with police; punishment of enemies; protection of drugs or sellers Includes disputes with rival organizations over territory; enforcement of organizational rules; battles with police; punishment of enemies; protection of drugs or sellers Includes transaction ‑ related violence (robberies of drugs or money from the seller or buyer during a drug transaction); assaults to collect debts; and disputes over the quality or quantity of drugs exchanged between buyer sand seller Includes transaction ‑ related violence (robberies of drugs or money from the seller or buyer during a drug transaction); assaults to collect debts; and disputes over the quality or quantity of drugs exchanged between buyer sand seller It may also include violence involving third parties: bystanders, or participants in related illegal markets (firearms, hired enforcement, prostitution). It may also include violence involving third parties: bystanders, or participants in related illegal markets (firearms, hired enforcement, prostitution).

9 Patterns and Trends (cont.) Q: How often does each of 3 types occur? Goldstein classified police records of 414 homicides in NY in Goldstein classified police records of 414 homicides in NY in He classified 53% of the deaths as drug ‑ related. He classified 53% of the deaths as drug ‑ related. 39% were systemic. 39% were systemic. 2% were economic. 2% were economic. 8% were pharmacological. 8% were pharmacological. 4% had multiple drug-related causes. 4% had multiple drug-related causes. Judgments about which incidents are “drug- related”, however, are subjective. Judgments about which incidents are “drug- related”, however, are subjective. Research likely understates the role of economics (e.g., the “drug" motivation for robbery and burglary is often unknown to police). Research likely understates the role of economics (e.g., the “drug" motivation for robbery and burglary is often unknown to police).

10 Biological and Psychological Explanations Alcohol is most consistently linked with aggressive behavior. Alcohol is most consistently linked with aggressive behavior. Alcohol has acute (immediate) and chronic (long- term) biological effects on brain functions, including memory. Alcohol has acute (immediate) and chronic (long- term) biological effects on brain functions, including memory. Alcohol intoxication leads to impaired cognitive skills and interpersonal communication, which increases the risk of violence. Alcohol intoxication leads to impaired cognitive skills and interpersonal communication, which increases the risk of violence. Alcohol intoxication in humans is more likely to lead to aggression at low doses than high doses. Alcohol intoxication in humans is more likely to lead to aggression at low doses than high doses. Men are more likely than women to behave violently when intoxicated: biological differences associated with gender (e.g., testosterone) may play a role. Men are more likely than women to behave violently when intoxicated: biological differences associated with gender (e.g., testosterone) may play a role.

11 Biological and Psychological Explanations (cont.) Psychological and social factors may mediate the alcohol-gender relationship. Psychological and social factors may mediate the alcohol-gender relationship. Example: male drinking patterns are much more likely to include binge drinking and aggressive behavior associated with male peer interactions. Example: male drinking patterns are much more likely to include binge drinking and aggressive behavior associated with male peer interactions. Individual learning is also a critical determinant of whether present drug or alcohol use leads to violent behavior or not. Individual learning is also a critical determinant of whether present drug or alcohol use leads to violent behavior or not. Men are much more likely than women to have had previous aggressive experiences in their development, facilitating learning of aggression. Men are much more likely than women to have had previous aggressive experiences in their development, facilitating learning of aggression.

12 Routine Activities Theory Locations with large concentrations of alcohol outlets are often hot spots of crime, attracting many visitors who engage in a wide variety of illegal activities. Locations with large concentrations of alcohol outlets are often hot spots of crime, attracting many visitors who engage in a wide variety of illegal activities. The spatial distribution of alcohol outlets and the targeted advertising of alcohol to particular communities, especially minority communities, may mediate relationships between alcohol and violence. The spatial distribution of alcohol outlets and the targeted advertising of alcohol to particular communities, especially minority communities, may mediate relationships between alcohol and violence. The widespread advertising, sale, and use of alcohol contributes to the construction of a symbolic system that builds alcohol consumption into the life world of its residents. The widespread advertising, sale, and use of alcohol contributes to the construction of a symbolic system that builds alcohol consumption into the life world of its residents.

13 Cultural Explanations Drunken Comportment There are different cultural norms and customs regarding use of alcohol and behavior while intoxicated. There are different cultural norms and customs regarding use of alcohol and behavior while intoxicated. Different stresses in different cultures influence the likelihood of violent behavior under conditions of drunkenness (Fagan, 1990). Different stresses in different cultures influence the likelihood of violent behavior under conditions of drunkenness (Fagan, 1990). The Yuruna Indians in the South American rain forest consistently become withdrawn when drunk, acting as though no one else existed. The Yuruna Indians in the South American rain forest consistently become withdrawn when drunk, acting as though no one else existed. In a rural Japanese fishing village, drunkenness regularly leads to camaraderie, laughter, jokes, songs, and dances. In a rural Japanese fishing village, drunkenness regularly leads to camaraderie, laughter, jokes, songs, and dances.

14 Social Structural Explanations Ousey & Lee (2004) Changes in arrest rates for cocaine and opiate distribution corresponded positively with changes in both black and white homicide rates over time within cities. Changes in arrest rates for cocaine and opiate distribution corresponded positively with changes in both black and white homicide rates over time within cities. However, the impact of change in the drug market on homicide rates was stronger among blacks than whites. However, the impact of change in the drug market on homicide rates was stronger among blacks than whites. Harsh structural conditions found in many urban areas may promote cultural adjustments that contribute to participation in illegal drug markets and high levels of violence. Harsh structural conditions found in many urban areas may promote cultural adjustments that contribute to participation in illegal drug markets and high levels of violence. While the root causes of drug abuse and violence are not completely understood, it is likely that both are intensified if not directly caused by some of the social conditions found in U.S. society—racism, poverty, deindustrialization, unemployment, and dysfunctional families. While the root causes of drug abuse and violence are not completely understood, it is likely that both are intensified if not directly caused by some of the social conditions found in U.S. society—racism, poverty, deindustrialization, unemployment, and dysfunctional families.

15 Situational Explanations Erich Goode— situation effects depend upon: Set: mental or emotional state of user, personality, and mood influence drug effects Set: mental or emotional state of user, personality, and mood influence drug effects Setting: the social and physical environment influence effects (e.g., who, where) Setting: the social and physical environment influence effects (e.g., who, where) The drug: physiological effects of a drug The drug: physiological effects of a drug Fagan’s (1990) situated transaction theory: Intoxication has a significant impact on cognitive skills and abilities, but the nature of this impact varies by: Intoxication has a significant impact on cognitive skills and abilities, but the nature of this impact varies by: the substance the substance the individual the individual the social setting the social setting context context One ethnographic study found that a group of youths was quiet and deferential when drinking among their elders in a neighborhood bar, but much more aggressive in other surroundings after they left their company.

16 CJ Interventions: Weed & Seed Four key components 1. Weeding: concentrated law enforcement efforts 2. Seeding: human services and neighborhood revitalization efforts 3. Enhanced Coordination: strategies to address local problems 4. Community Policing: proactive police/community problem solving

17 Dunworth et al. (1999): National Evaluation In 9 sites, evaluators compared Part 1 crime trends for the year prior to implementation and the second year after Weed & Seed began. Each site had high rates of violent crime related to drug trafficking/use. Results: Five target areas had double-digit percentage decreases (-10% or greater) in Part 1 crime. One target area had a single-digit decrease (-6%). Three target areas experienced slight increases ( %) in Part 1 crime. Problems 1. Difficult to control for many variables that influence crime rates 2. Crime decreases were not specific to target areas (surrounding areas also decreased). 3. Differential resources in particular areas influenced crime reductions.

18 Philadelphia: Operation Safe Streets In response to high rates of drug-related violence, the Philadelphia Police Department launched Operation Safe Streets on May 1, In response to high rates of drug-related violence, the Philadelphia Police Department launched Operation Safe Streets on May 1, The program stationed officers at 214 of the highest drug activity locations in the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The program stationed officers at 214 of the highest drug activity locations in the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Police Department identified high-drug- use locations using crime data, arrest data, firearms-seizure data, informant data, and ongoing investigations, and obtained partial funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for police overtime pay. The Police Department identified high-drug- use locations using crime data, arrest data, firearms-seizure data, informant data, and ongoing investigations, and obtained partial funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for police overtime pay.

19 Philadelphia: Operation Safe Streets (cont.) Lawton et al. (2005): Evaluation Results: no significant impacts on citywide weekly counts for drug crimes, homicides, or total violent crimes Results: no significant impacts on citywide weekly counts for drug crimes, homicides, or total violent crimes Geographically focused analyses, however, showed significant localized intervention effects for both violent and drug crimes. Geographically focused analyses, however, showed significant localized intervention effects for both violent and drug crimes. Areas within one tenth of a mile of the target site experienced significantly lower weekly crime rates. Areas within one tenth of a mile of the target site experienced significantly lower weekly crime rates. There was a partial but not total displacement of drug-crime activity (drug crimes re-appeared slightly further from the intervention sites). There was a partial but not total displacement of drug-crime activity (drug crimes re-appeared slightly further from the intervention sites). Lawton, B.A., Taylor, R.B. and Luongo, A.J. (2005). Police officers on drug corners in Philadelphia, drug crime, and violent crime: Intended, diffusion, and displacement impacts. Justice Quarterly, 22,

20 Philadelphia: Operation Safe Streets (cont.) Conclusions Crackdowns such as Operation Safe Streets respond to current crises. Crackdowns such as Operation Safe Streets respond to current crises. They cost a lot. They cost a lot. They attract attention. They attract attention. To at least a limited degree, they get some results. To at least a limited degree, they get some results. They are rarely sustainable, however, because of high costs. They are rarely sustainable, however, because of high costs.

21 Interventions: Prison Drug Treatment Therapeutic Community (TC) drug treatment is an intensive, long-term (12 months), highly structured, residential treatment modality for hard-core drug users. Therapeutic Community (TC) drug treatment is an intensive, long-term (12 months), highly structured, residential treatment modality for hard-core drug users. TC emphasizes the necessity of the inmate taking responsibility for his/her behavior before, during, and after treatment, and inmates play an important role in structuring group norms and sanctions. TC emphasizes the necessity of the inmate taking responsibility for his/her behavior before, during, and after treatment, and inmates play an important role in structuring group norms and sanctions. Positive, consistent effects were found in follow- up studies in Delaware (5 yr.), California (5 yr.), Texas (3 yr), and PA (2 yr.). Positive, consistent effects were found in follow- up studies in Delaware (5 yr.), California (5 yr.), Texas (3 yr), and PA (2 yr.). Lower rearrest rates, lower reincarceration rates, lower relapse rates, longer survival rates Lower rearrest rates, lower reincarceration rates, lower relapse rates, longer survival rates Post-release aftercare is important. Post-release aftercare is important.

22 Effects of Prison TC Drug Treatment in PA Welsh, W.N. (in press, 2007). A multi-site evaluation of prison-based TC drug treatment. Criminal Justice and Behavior.

23 Problems 1. Many studies have been vulnerable to criticisms of inadequate research design, unknown or compromised program implementation, and/or inadequate measures of treatment process and outcome. 2. Further, “self-selection” is the main guide inmates use to navigate through treatment options, which complicates the clarity of scientific interpretations. Interventions: Prison Drug Treatment

24 Conclusions 1. Because potential causal influences connecting drug abuse to violence are complex and diverse, so must be the potential solutions. 2. Comprehensive strategies are needed that target both juveniles and adults, both demand and supply, and both individuals and public policy. 3. Strategies that emphasize punishment and interdiction alone have not yielded productive results in the past, nor should they be expected to do so in the future.


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