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Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 4 “Homicides and Assaults”

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Presentation on theme: "Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 4 “Homicides and Assaults”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Criminal Violence: Patterns, Causes, and Prevention Riedel and Welsh, Ch. 4 “Homicides and Assaults”

2 OUTLINE Homicides and Assaults in the U.S. Homicides and Assaults in the U.S. Patterns and Trends Patterns and Trends Explanations Explanations Interventions Interventions

3 Definitions Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter (UCR): the “willful (non- negligent) killing of one human being by another.” Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter (UCR): the “willful (non- negligent) killing of one human being by another.” Aggravated Assault (NCVS): "attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred or not, as well as an attack without a weapon when serious injury resulted." Aggravated Assault (NCVS): "attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred or not, as well as an attack without a weapon when serious injury resulted." Simple Assault: does not involve a weapon; does not result in serious injury to the victim Simple Assault: does not involve a weapon; does not result in serious injury to the victim

4 Homicide Patterns (UCR): 2008 VICTIMS Gender78.0% of victims were male Gender: 78.0% of victims were male Race47.81% of victims were black, 48.2% white, 2.3% “other” Race: 47.81% of victims were black, 48.2% white, 2.3% “other” Victim/offender relationship Victim/offender relationship: 9.4% of victims were killed by intimate partners 9.4% of victims were killed by intimate partners 8.1% of victims were killed by other family members 8.1% of victims were killed by other family members 12.3% were murdered by strangers 12.3% were murdered by strangers 26.0% were slain by acquaintances (neighbor, friend, employee, etc.) 26.0% were slain by acquaintances (neighbor, friend, employee, etc.)OFFENDERS Gender: 64.9% of offenders were males. Gender: 64.9% of offenders were males. Race: 36.5% of offenders were black, 32.8% were white, and 1.7% were “other” INCIDENTS Firearms66.8% of the offenses involved firearms Firearms: 66.8% of the offenses involved firearms Setting: 28.9% of victims were murdered during arguments 28.9% of victims were murdered during arguments 20.6% were killed in conjunction with a felony (rape, robbery, etc.) 20.6% were killed in conjunction with a felony (rape, robbery, etc.) Circumstances unknown for 35.3% of reported homicides Circumstances unknown for 35.3% of reported homicides

5 Year Homicide Rate per 100,000 Figure 4.1 Homicide Rates in the United States, 1960-2008 19601965197019751980198519901995200020052010 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 10.5 Source:Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/t31062004.pdf.

6 Table 1. Rates of violent crime, by gender, race, Hispanic origin, and age of victim, 2008 Table 1. Rates of violent crime, by gender, race, Hispanic origin, and age of victim, 2008 Violent victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or old er Violent victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or old er Demographic characteristic of victim PopulationAllRape/sexual assault RobberyAll assaultAggravated assault Simple assault Gender Male123,071,02021.30.3^2.718.33.914.5 Female 129,171,510 17.31.31.714.32.811.5 Race White 204,683,50018.10.61.615.93.012.8 Black30,709,86025.91.9^5.518.55.213.3 Other race*13,952,24015.20.9^3.0^11.32.88.5 Two or more races2,896,93051.61.9^6.842.96.836.1 Hispanic origin Hispanic34,506,68016.40.6^3.412.43.58.9 Non-Hispanic217,351,75019.70.82.016.93.313.6 Age 12-1516,414,55042.21.6^5.535.26.129.0 16-1917,280,27037.02.24.830.05.624.5 20-2420,547,62037.82.15.430.38.721.5 25-3440,649,50023.40.72.320.54.016.5 35-4965,123,03016.70.81.914.12.711.4 50-6455,116,32010.70.2^0.89.72.07.7 65 or older37,111,2403.10.2^ 2.70.4^2.3 Note: Violent crimes measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. Because the NCVS interviews persons about their victimizations, murder and manslaughter cannot be included. Note: Violent crimes measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey include rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault. Because the NCVS interviews persons about their victimizations, murder and manslaughter cannot be included. ^Based upon 10 or fewer sample cases. N ^Based upon 10 or fewer sample cases. N *Includes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. *Includes American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

7 Characteristics of household Number of households Total Victims Household income Less than $7,5004,115,470204.2 $7,500-$14,9996,361,960175.0 $15,000-$24,9999,412,930161.7 $25,000-$34,9999,901,970150.5 $35,000-$49,99913,497,280142.7 $50,000-$74,99914,601,440125.8 $75,000 or more24,115,150133.4 Number of persons in household 1 34,561,280100.3 2 or 360,022,010122.2 4 or 522,868,210197.0 6 or more3,689,560273.9 Table 2 Property crime rates, by household income and household size, 2008 (Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Theft) Table 2 Property crime rates, by household income and household size, 2008 (Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Theft).

8 Explanations Symbolic interaction Symbolic interaction theory Both homicides & aggravated assaults tend to result from an escalation of interpersonal conflict [see Luckenbill]. Both homicides & aggravated assaults tend to result from an escalation of interpersonal conflict [see Luckenbill]. Both tend to have similar situational dynamics: Both tend to have similar situational dynamics: Both tend to occur between people who know one another, especially during an argument or fight. Both tend to occur between people who know one another, especially during an argument or fight. Violence is often goal-oriented behavior: "to compel or deter others, to achieve a favorable social identity, and to obtain justice, as defined by the actor." Violence is often goal-oriented behavior: "to compel or deter others, to achieve a favorable social identity, and to obtain justice, as defined by the actor."

9 Explanations (cont.) Subcultural theories: values and beliefs that sanction violence as problem-solving behavior within certain groups (e.g., gangs) The subculture of violence suggests that lower- or working-class youths more frequently see violence as a way to solve personal problems. The subculture of violence suggests that lower- or working-class youths more frequently see violence as a way to solve personal problems.

10 Interventions Q: What explanations have been offered for declines in homicide and aggravated assaults since 1993? 1. Decline in high-risk age group (15-24) 2. Decline in handgun homicide 3. Drug markets stabilized 4. Increase in legitimate and decrease in illegitimate opportunities 5. Increased use of incarceration 6. Decline in partner homicides 7. Violence prevention programs (e.g., mediation)

11 Definition: An act is considered cleared when “at least one person is arrested, charged with the commission of an offense, and turned over to the court for prosecution…” (FBI) Definition: An act is considered cleared when “at least one person is arrested, charged with the commission of an offense, and turned over to the court for prosecution…” (FBI) Arrest clearances for homicides have declined linearly from 92.3% in 1960 to 63.6% in 2008. Arrest clearances for homicides have declined linearly from 92.3% in 1960 to 63.6% in 2008. Why Are Arrest Clearances Important? Why Are Arrest Clearances Important?  Without arrest, no further processing of offenders  Without arrest, offenders are free to offend again  No arrest further traumatizes victim and family  Low clearance rates undermine morale of law enforcement  Low clearance rates mean less information on offenders for research Arrest Clearances

12 Arrest Clearances (cont.) Type of homicides cleared Type of homicides cleared  Homicides with female victims more likely to be cleared  White victim homicides are more likely to be cleared, although the research results are mixed  Young homicide victims are more easily cleared  Non-gun homicides are cleared more quickly  Homicides involving domestic and intimate partner relationships are cleared more readily

13 Explanations and Interventions Explanations Explanations  Do police investigate all homicides equally diligently or do they exercise discretion by race, gender, age, etc. of victim?  Drawing from Donald Black’s theory, Litwin and associates found mixed results  Interventions  Cold case squads continue the investigation of homicides after the usual amount of time devoted to clearing has passed  Vicodq Society provides support to cold case investigations

14 Serial Homicides and Mass Murders Serial h omicides : multiple killings by the same person over a period of time, usually months or years Serial h omicides : multiple killings by the same person over a period of time, usually months or years Mass murder: single event or several killings in a very brief period -- “spree killing.” Mass murder: single event or several killings in a very brief period -- “spree killing.” Prior to 1980s, resulted from invalid practice of attributing all homicides with “unknown” circumstances to serial killings. Prior to 1980s, inflated estimates resulted from invalid practice of attributing all homicides with “unknown” circumstances to serial killings. : about 127 serial homicide victims/year, about 10 offenders operating at any one time. FBI Estimates: about 127 serial homicide victims/year, about 10 offenders operating at any one time. Psychological appearance: “extraordinarily ordinary” Psychological appearance: “extraordinarily ordinary” Fox & Levin: serial killers kill for thrills, sexual satisfaction, or feelings of dominance and control-- more “cruel” than “crazy.” Some are sociopaths, but show affection toward family members & friends. Fox & Levin: serial killers kill for thrills, sexual satisfaction, or feelings of dominance and control-- more “cruel” than “crazy.” Some are sociopaths, but show affection toward family members & friends.

15 Serial Homicides Victims: often vulnerable (e.g., elderly, transients, prostitutes, runaways, hospital patients) people who may not be quickly missed Victims: often vulnerable (e.g., elderly, transients, prostitutes, runaways, hospital patients) people who may not be quickly missed Offenders: Hickey identified 337 male (83%) and 67 female (17%) serial killers responsible for 2,526 homicides between 1800 and 1995. Offenders: Hickey identified 337 male (83%) and 67 female (17%) serial killers responsible for 2,526 homicides between 1800 and 1995. Whites: 80% of all serial killers. Majority tend to operate in one city or even one neighborhood. Whites: 80% of all serial killers. Majority tend to operate in one city or even one neighborhood. Trends: Serial homicides may have increased over time. Trends: Serial homicides may have increased over time. 35% of the killers in sample were identified between 1950 and 1974 35% of the killers in sample were identified between 1950 and 1974 45% of the killers were identified between 1975 and 1995 45% of the killers were identified between 1975 and 1995

16 Explanations. Little research supports any one cause consistently. Biological: XYY, neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalances Biological: XYY, neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalances : psychosis, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, psychopathy Psychological: psychosis, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, psychopathy anonymity and normlessness (anomie), child abuse, labeling, lack of social bonds Sociological: anonymity and normlessness (anomie), child abuse, labeling, lack of social bonds But: huge number of “false positives” (i.e., many normal people have one or more of these characteristics and are not serial killers, or even violent, or even criminals) But: huge number of “false positives” (i.e., many normal people have one or more of these characteristics and are not serial killers, or even violent, or even criminals)Interventions Law enforcement approaches include interagency communication, geographic analysis, and profiling (look for patterns in incidents, victims, places). Law enforcement approaches include interagency communication, geographic analysis, and profiling (look for patterns in incidents, victims, places). Example: DC snipers Example: DC snipers


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