Serious Crimes (serious + crime)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts


CRIMINOLOGY, Issue 1 2010
In recent years, criminologists, as well as journalists, have devoted considerable attention to the potential deterrent effect of what is sometimes referred to as "proactive" policing. This policing style entails the vigorous enforcement of laws against relatively minor offenses to prevent more serious crime. The current study examines the effect of proactive policing on robbery rates for a sample of large U.S. cities using an innovative measure developed by Sampson and Cohen (1988). We replicate their cross-sectional analyses using data from 2000 to 2003, which is a period that proactive policing is likely to have become more common than that of the original study,the early 1980s. We also extend their analyses by estimating a more comprehensive regression model that incorporates additional theoretically relevant predictors. Finally, we advance previous research in this area by using panel data, The cross-sectional analyses replicate prior findings of a negative relationship between proactive policing and robbery rates. In addition, our dynamic models suggest that proactive policing is endogenous to changes in robbery rates. When this feedback between robbery and proactive policing is eliminated, we find more evidence to support our finding that proactive policing reduces robbery rates. [source]


CRIMINOLOGY, Issue 3 2008
Dealing with physical and social disorder to prevent serious crime has become a central strategy for policing. This study evaluates the effects of policing disorder, within a problem-oriented policing framework, at crime and disorder hot spots in Lowell, Massachusetts. Thirty-four hot spots were matched into 17 pairs, and one member of each pair was allocated to treatment conditions in a randomized block field experiment. The officers engaged "shallow" problem solving and implemented a strategy that more closely resembled a general policing disorder strategy rather than carefully designed problem-oriented policing responses. Nevertheless, the impact evaluation revealed significant reductions in crime and disorder calls for service, and systematic observations of social and physical disorder at the treatment places relative to the control places uncovered no evidence of significant crime displacement. A mediation analysis of the isolated and exhaustive causal mechanisms that comprised the strategy revealed that the strongest crime-prevention gains were generated by situational prevention strategies rather than by misdemeanor arrests or social service strategies. [source]


Research Summary: In 1999, Daniel Kessler and Steven Levitt published an article that purported to provide support for the marginal deterrent effects of harsher sanctions on levels of crime. Specifically, they concluded that sentence enhancements that came into effect in California in June 1982 as a result of Proposition 8 were responsible for a subsequent drop in serious crime in this state. Our article examines the analyses and findings of this article and suggests that their conclusion of a deterrent impact fails to withstand scrutiny when more complete and more detailed crime data are used and the comparability of "control" groups is carefully examined. In particular, the addition of annual crime levels for all years (versus only the odd-numbered years that Kessler and Levitt examine) calls into question the prima facie support for a deterrent effect presented by Kessler and Levitt. Specifically, it demonstrates not only that the crime drop in California began before, rather than after, the passing into law of the sentence enhancements in 1982 but also that the downward slope did not accelerate after the change in law. Furthermore, the comparability of the two "control" groups with the "treatment" group is challenged, rendering suspect any findings based on these comparisons. Policy Implications: Case studies suggesting that crime decreased after the imposition of harsh sentencing policies are often cited as evidence of marginal general deterrence. As has been demonstrated in other contexts, the question that needs to be asked is "Compared with what?" Kessler and Levitt's (1999) article demonstrates that those interested in sentencing policy need to be sensitive not only to the appropriateness of the comparisons that are made, but also to the choice of data that are presented. [source]

The cognitive interview: the efficacy of a modified mental reinstatement of context procedure for frontline police investigators

Coral Dando
The current investigative interview framework for police officers in England and Wales (and many other countries) recommends the use of the cognitive interview (CI). One of the primary components of the CI is the mental reinstatement of context (MRC) instruction. However, research has consistently indicated that police officers do not regularly use this component and when they do it is often poorly applied. Thus the question arises as to whether some adjustment of the MRC component might enhance its forensic practicability. An initial investigation was conducted as to the efficacy of a more succinct and less complex MRC technique, namely a sketch plan mental reinstatement of context (Sketch MRC). Twenty-four hours after having viewed a crime film, adult mock witnesses were interviewed employing the traditional MRC instruction, a Sketch MRC instruction or no mental reinstatement of context (No MRC). Analysis of overall memorial performance revealed the Sketch MRC to be as effective as the MRC and more effective than No MRC. Thus, for less serious crime the Sketch MRC technique may be a viable, less complex and less time consuming alternative. Copyright 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Facets on the psychopathy checklist screening version and instrumental violence in forensic psychiatric patients

Jenny Laurell
Background,There is a recognised relationship between psychopathy and instrumental violence, but not all violence by people who meet the criteria for psychopathy is instrumental. Aims,Our aims were to compare offence types among forensic psychiatric patients with and without the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL: SV) criteria for psychopathy. Our specific questions were whether factor 1 , the interpersonal affective dimension , was related to instrumentality and on severity of the violent crime. Our hypothesis was that the relationship between psychopathy and instrumental violence would be dependent on the severity of the violent crime. Methods,Sixty-five male patients at the forensic psychiatric hospital in Sundsvall, all with a violent criminal history, were assessed for psychopathy through interview and records using the PCL: SV. Severity and the instrumentality of their previous violence were coded using the Cornell coding guide for violent incidents. Results,The interpersonal features of psychopathy (the interpersonal facet), and only the interpersonal features were significantly associated with instrumentality and severity of violence. Instrumentality was also significantly related to the severity of the violence, independent of psychopathy score. Conclusions,The results indicated that, at least among forensic psychiatric patients, planning is more likely than not with respect to serious crimes. The specific link between interpersonal features of psychopathy and instrumental and severe violence suggests potential clinical value in recognising subtypes of psychopathy. Copyright 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Reinstatement of Controls at the Internal Borders of Europe: Why and Against Whom?

Kees Groenendijk
The actual use of this power may tell us about the functions of border controls. This article analyses on which occasions the governments of the Schengen states did actually use this power after 1995, and what is known about the effects of those temporary controls. It appears that the actual use varied considerably in time and between the Member States. In most cases the temporary controls aimed not at reducing illegal immigration or preventing serious crimes, but at the protection of meetings of political leaders. The individuals checked or stopped at the borders are predominantly union citizens, not third-country nationals. It is contended that the controls at land borders are not considered as an effective instrument of crime or immigration control. They may have a highly symbolic function: showing the public that the state is protecting its citizens against undesired events. [source]

Spatial patterns of Indian serial burglars with relevance to geographical profiling

Sudhanshu Sarangi
Abstract Earlier studies in Western countries have shown remarkably consistent spatial patterns in serial offenders, mainly for serious crimes notably serial killing and rape, but also (although with less clear patterns) for burglary. The universality of such spatial patterns are of theoretical interest in contributing to our understanding of criminal spatial behaviour and have practical significance for the possibility of using geographic profiling in developing countries. As such, burglars in India provide a particularly interesting test of the generality of the observed spatial consistencies. Information was therefore obtained on the offence location choices of 30 burglars, committing 150 offences in the Rourkela and Keonjhar districts of India. The home to crime distances were compared with those from developed countries, revealing similar but slightly shorter distances. In addition, the domocentricity of criminal spatial activity, reflected in the ,marauder' model (Canter & Gregory 1994) was tested through examination of the Canter Circle hypothesis, the mean interpoint distances (as they related to average distances from home), and the home base ,search costs' using a geographical profiling system (Dragnet). Overall the study found that the spatial patterns of the sample of Indian Burglars were not very different from their counterparts in the UK, North America and Australia, showing that the areas in which an offender is active tend to be shaped by, and, relatedly, close to, where he or she lives, irrespective of the part of the world in which this is. These results suggest that geographical profiling systems such as Dragnet would be productively used on the Indian sub-continent. The results also contribute to our understanding of possible universalities in offender spatial behaviour. Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Externalised Justice and Democratisation: Lessons from the Pinochet Case

Madeleine Davis
The attempt to try Pinochet in Spain exemplified and publicised a trend to use ,externalised justice' to tackle impunity for human rights crimes. It also demonstrated the possibilities and limitations of externalised justice initiatives, in terms of securing democracy at the national level, and of advancing accountability for serious crimes under international law. In Chile, Argentina and Spain the Pinochet affair served to restart stalled impulses towards accountability, accelerate democratic reform and challenge the legitimacy of compromises conceded during earlier democratic transitions. With regard to the wider role of international law in limiting impunity, expectations for rapid or consistent replication of ,the Pinochet precedent' have not been met. Despite some notable achievements, the exercise of universal jurisdiction by national courts remains inconsistent and controversial. The International Criminal Court (ICC) provides a new mechanism for external justice. An aggressive US campaign to undermine it, and to reverse progress in international law, is a serious obstacle to fulfilment of the ICC's enforcement role. However, at the domestic level the ICC may have similar indirect effects to the Pinochet litigation, boosting domestic enforcement prospects and strengthening democratic commitment. In both cases the key role for externalised justice is as stimulus or back-up. This suggests that progress in tackling impunity depends on incremental and dynamic interaction between domestic and international law, and between national and transnational actors. [source]

Murderers' and sexual offenders' experiences of police interviews and their inclination to admit or deny crimes,,

Ulf Holmberg M.D.
This research concerns murderers' and sexual offenders' experiences of Swedish police interviews and their attitudes towards allegations of these serious crimes. The explorative study is based on a questionnaire answered by 83 men convicted of murder or sexual offences. Results show that when police officers interview murderers and sexual offenders, the individuals perceive attitudes that are characterized by either dominance or humanity. Logistic regression shows that police interviews marked by dominance are mainly associated with a higher proportion of denials, whereas an approach marked by humanity is associated with admissions. When suspects feel that they are respected and acknowledged, they probably gain more confidence and mental space, allowing them to admit criminal behaviour. Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]