Category Archives: Crime Prevention

Quick links for the last couple of weeks

Oh dear, the automatic Twitter updates feature needs attention. Sigh. Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve been tweeting about:

The most important tweet of the last two weeks was notification that Sage Pubs are offering FREE online access to their entire collection until October 15, 2010. Sage do this every year or so and it’s a great time to stock up new and classic research. Register here: http://is.gd/eUubM

Once you’ve done that, check out new issues of the following Sage journals:

Also out, the first September issue of JUSTINFO, published by NCJRS. Funding opps, new publications, courses, resources etc http://www.ncjrs.gov/justinfo/sep0110.html

In other non-forensic journals, the following articles caught my eye:

  • Meta-analytic comparison of 9 violence risk assessment tools. Psychological Bulletin 136(5):740-767 http://is.gd/f6J9Q
  • Construct-driven development of video-based situational judgment test for police integrity http://is.gd/f6J3h
  • Unconfirmed loss of husband has specific negative mental health consequences vs suffering a confirmed loss http://is.gd/f6IIF
  • Social ties & short-term self-reported delinquent behaviour of personality disordered forensic outpatients http://ht.ly/2z9z8
  • Prediction & expln of young offenders’ intentions to reoffend from behavioral, normative & control beliefs http://is.gd/f6INT
  • Psych Bulletin 136(5) Surviving the Holocaust: A meta-analysis of the long-term sequelae of a genocide. http://is.gd/eUsUq
  • Screening offenders for risk of drop-out and expulsion from correctional programmes – http://ht.ly/2z9u4
  • Distinguishing truthful from invented accounts using reality monitoring criteria – http://ht.ly/2z8FC
  • Can people successfully feign high levels of interrogative suggestibility & compliance when given instructions to malinger? http://ht.ly/2z8Wz
  • New research – FMRI & deception: “The production and detection of deception in an interactive game” in _Neuropsychologia_ http://is.gd/eUMO3
  • And in the free access PLoS1: fMRI study indicates neural activity associated with deception is valence-related. PLoS One 5(8). http://is.gd/f6IaM

Other bits and pieces, including retweets:

  • “How to Catch a Terrorist: Read His Brainwaves-ORLY?” Wired Danger Room is sceptical about P300 tests as CT measure http://is.gd/f5JFT
  • RT@vaughanbell: Good piece on the attempts to get dodgy fMRI lie detection technology introduced to the courtroom. http://is.gd/eSdP6
  • NPR: A Click Away: Preventing Online Child Porn Viewing http://t.co/VRfaNiz
  • How Can We Help Gang Members Leave the Violence Behind? Share your thoughts on the newest PsycCRITIQUES Blog entry http://bit.ly/blpV04
  • Do prison conditions have more of a deterrent effect on crime than the death penalty? http://su.pr/1WUpIg
  • Great documentary with forensic issues regarding induced delusional or acute polymorphic psychotic disorder: http://bit.ly/bHkJpy

Research reports round-up

ex libris gul law reports collectionSome of the criminal justice-related reports that have caught my eye in the last few weeks:

Communities

Crime and Communities Review (UK, published 18 June, Cabinet Office): A major review examining how to better engage communities in the fight against crime and raise public confidence in the Criminal Justice System – link to pdf downloads.

Gangs at the Grassroots: Community solutions to street violence (UK, published 17 July 2008, New Local Government Network) – pdf

Investigations

Witness and victim experience survey: early findings (UK, published 3 July 200, Ministry of Justice) – pdf

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st Century Strategy (US, International Association of Chiefs of Police) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

First Response to Victims of Crime (US, published April 2008, National Sheriffs Association) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Police Enforcement Strategies to Prevent Crime in Hot Spot Areas (US, Department of Justice) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators (US, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Prisons

International profile of women’s prisons (UK, published April 2008, Kings College London for HM Prison Service) – pdf (Hat tip Intute)

Prosecuting Sexual Violence in Correctional Settings: Examining Prosecutors’ Perceptions (US, published May 2008, American University, WCL Research Paper, via SSRN)

Juveniles

Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context (US, published May 2008, US Department of Justice) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Differential Response to Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect (US, published February 2008, Child Welfare Information Gateway) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Policing 2(2): special edition on Crime Science

journals

The latest issue of Policing (vol 2 no 2) is a special edition on Crime Science featuring in particular the work of the Jill Dando Institute at University College London .

Contents include Ken Pease wondering How to Behave Like a Scientist? and articles on Mathematics, Physics, and Crime, Evolutionary Psychology and Fear of Crime, Crime Prevention Strategies, Forensic Geoscience, Vulnerable Localities, Mobile Phone Crime, Evaluating Crime Prevention and Technology and Policing.

Two articles not part of the special edition on whether Northern Ireland is a model for Post-conflict Police Reform and on the Policing of Fraud.

Abstracts and access to full text articles (subscription required) here.

Seminar series from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research

glasgowunicloistersThe Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research has announced an impressive series of seminars for January to March 2008.

Seminars take place at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. More details on the SCCJR website.

  • 24 January – Ms Helen Baillot, Scottish Refugee Council: ‘Asylum in Scotland – a Human Rights perspective?’
  • 29 January – Professor Nicola Lacey, LSE: ‘From Moll Flanders to Tess of D’Urbervilles: Gender, Identity and Criminalisation in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century England’.
  • 31 January – Professor Johannes Feest, University of Bremen: ‘The future of prisons and prison abolitionism’.
  • 4 February – Charles Woolfson, School of Law, University of Glasgow: ‘The conventionalisation of safety crime in the Baltic New EU Member States: Neo-liberalism and the tolerance of non-compliance’
  • 7 February – Professor Thomas Feltes: ‘Police Reform in Countries in Transition – Experiences from Bosnia, Kosovo and South Africa’ (jointly organgised by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research).
  • 12 February – Jonathan Jackson, Methodology Institute & Mannheim Centre for Criminology, London School of Economics: ‘New directions in research on public confidence in policing: Trust, legitimacy and consent’
  • 20 February – Alistair Fraser, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences, University of Glasgow: ‘Researching young people and violence in Glasgow’
  • 21 February – Professor Fiona Raitt, University of Dundee: ‘Re-Vulnerability in the Adversarial Process’
  • 28 February – Professor Linda Mulcahy, Birkbeck College, London: ‘An unbearable lightness of being? Movements towards the virtual trial’.
  • 6 March – Gavin Smith, Aberdeen University: ‘Re-thinking CCTV operation: interactions and ontologies’.
  • 13 March – Professor Tim Hope, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Edinburgh and Keele University: ‘A Political Economy of Community Safety’.

Docuticker round up of criminal Justice-related reports

ex libris gul law reports collectionRound-up of reports featured on Docuticker in the last few weeks:

More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy (published by Institute for the Study of Labor December 2007):

…This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime. [PDF available]

Law enforcement responses to trafficking in persons: challenges and emerging good practice (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…This paper focuses on the challenges that may confront law enforcement officials in any country in their efforts to detect trafficking, identify victims, investigate offences and contribute to the successful prosecution of offenders. Drawing on international experience, this paper identifies some examples of emerging good practice that can help to overcome these challenges, and contribute to the effectiveness of the larger criminal justice response to trafficking. [PDF available]

Criminal justice responses to drug and drug-related offending: are they working? (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…Over the past seven or eight years, almost every state and territory has implemented a range of so-called drug diversion programs that operate at different points along the criminal justice continuum. … If these initiatives are achieving their objectives, then such costs should be more than offset by the benefits accruing to the community through a reduction in illicit drug use and related offending, improved health and wellbeing for former drug dependent offenders and reduced case loads for the criminal justice system. The key question is ‘Are these programs working: are they, in fact, meeting their primary aims?’ This report attempts to provide some insight into these questions by giving an overview of key findings from national and state-based evaluations that have been undertaken of these initiatives. It will summarise the outcome-based results currently available, identify the knowledge gaps that still exist and point to areas where further work is required to provide a more definitive insight into the value of these programs. [PDF available]

Violent Crime in America: A Tale of Two Cities (published by Police Executive Research Forum, November 2007). From the Overview:

…early indications for 2007 suggest that the countermeasures are beginning to have an impact on crime, according to PERF’s latest survey. When the same sample of 56 jurisdictions used in PERF’s previous surveys are analyzed, aggregate crime levels reported by police agencies for the first six months of 2007 show overall reductions in homicides and other violent crimes. Importantly, however, there are still many jurisdictions reporting increases in violent crime. … We are calling this latest violent crime report “A Tale of Two Cities” to reflect this volatility of crime patterns. [PDF available.]

Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007 (published by Bureau of Justice Statistics, December 2007):

An estimated 4.5 percent of state and federal prisoners reported a sexual victimization in a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today… The survey was conducted in 146 state and federal prisons between April and August 2007, with a sample of 23,398 inmates. [PDF available]

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It? (published by National Institute of Justice, December 2007):

Much investigation remains to be done regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). As with other “low visibility” crimes, there is a lurking “dark figure” of unreported cases. Moreover, little reliable information exists about the types of people who exploit children in this way. Research has revealed that CSEC takes place at three levels: local exploitation by one or a few individuals, small regional networks involving multiple adults and children, and large national or international sex crime networks where children are traded and sold as commodities. [PDF available]

Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Reports round-up: stop and search, persistent criminals, death penalty, judges and drugs

ex libris gul law reports collectionLatest criminal justice-related reports via Docuticker

Analysis of Racial Disparities in the New York Police Department’s Stop, Question, and Frisk Practices, published by RAND (full report and summary available via the link):

In 2006, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stopped a half-million pedestrians for suspected criminal involvement. Raw statistics for these encounters suggest large racial disparities — 89 percent of the stops involved nonwhites…researchers analyzed data on all street encounters between NYPD officers and pedestrians in 2006. …They found small racial differences in these rates and make communication, recordkeeping, and training recommendations to the NYPD for improving police-pedestrian interactions.

Manuel Utset, in Hyperbolic Criminals and Repeated Time-Inconsistent Misconduct, (Houston Law Review via SSRN, full text available), uses economic models to try and understand why criminals become repeat offenders:

… even a relatively small preference for immediate gratification and over-optimism about their future self-control can lead hyperbolic criminals to repeatedly commit welfare-reducing crimes – i.e., those that (from a detached, long-term perspective) have negative expected returns. [The paper] develops a theory of repeated criminal misconduct that incorporates the findings of the growing behavioral economics literature on hyperbolic discounting and self-control problems; …identifies various deterrence implications of the theory; … explains a number of well-known empirical puzzles of neoclassical theory, including why policymakers punish repeat offenders more harshly and spend more on enforcement than the theory predicts…

Also via SSRN, The Heart Has its Reasons: Examining the Strange Persistence of the American Death Penalty by Susan Bandes (published in Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2008, full text available):

The debate about the future of the death penalty often focuses on whether its supporters are animated by instrumental or expressive values, and if the latter, what values the penalty does in fact express, where those values originated, and how deeply entrenched they are. In this article I argue that a more explicit recognition of the emotional sources of support for and opposition to the death penalty will contribute to the clarity of the debate.

  • See also: a report from the American Bar Association which reported that “based on a detailed analysis of death penalty systems in eight sample states, the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project identified key problems common to the states studied, including major racial disparities, inadequate indigent defense services and irregular clemency review processes – making their death penalty systems operate unfairly” (released 29 Oct; key findings available in Word format).

Frederick Schauer at the Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government attempts to answer the question Is There a Psychology of Judging?
(Working Paper Number:RWP07-049, full text available):

Psychologists have recently begun to study the psychological dimensions of judging, but to date almost all of the research has been on lay experimental subjects. Implicit in the research, therefore, is that the judge’s attributes as a human bring are more important than the judge’s attribute’s as lawyer and/or as judge in explaining judicial behavior. This may possibly be true, and it is relatively consistent with a Legal Realist understanding of judges and judging, but there remains a need for research directed specifically to the question whether judges by virtue of legal training, self-selection to judging, or judicial experience think and reason and make decisions differently from lay people…

The review paper Disrupting Street-Level Drug Markets (published by U.S. Department of State, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, pdf) finds that programmes that

involve strategic crime-control partnerships with a range of third parties are better than community-wide policing approaches that rely on partnerships to reduce drug and disorder problems across neighborhoods plagued with drug problems. Our review also finds that either type of partnership approach (i.e., geographically focused or community-wide approaches that use partnerships) is likely to be more effective at disrupting drug problems than law enforcement-only approaches (e.g., crackdowns, raids, directed patrols) that target drug hot spots. Unfocused law enforcement-only approaches to dealing with drug problems are a distant last.

Photo credit: ex_libris_gul, Creative Commons License

Essays on social justice and criminal justice

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at Kings College London has published a set of essays based on contributions and papers from a two day conference held by the Centre earlier this year.

This collection of essays from more than 20 researchers and academics highlights how the government has failed to tackle deep-rooted social injustice. Published as part of our Harm and Society project, the collection explores themes such as the impact of historically high levels of inequality, endemic violence against women and the increasing reliance on criminal justice measures to manage social problems.

Table of contents below the fold.

Reference:

Continue reading

New reports from the UK Home Office, November 2007

docuemtns

The UK Home Office has published several new reports in the last month.

Five reports deal with different aspects of illicit drug use. Home Office Research Report 02 provides results on a Drug Interventions Programme (DIP): addressing drug use and offending through ‘Tough Choices’ (pdf). Home Office Research Report 03 reports on a Drug Treatment Outcomes Research Study (pdf). Three further reports provide information on measuring the harm from illegal drugs (pdf); national and regional estimates of the prevalence of opiate use and/or crack cocaine use (pdf); and the illicit drug trade in the United Kingdom (pdf).

Prospective crime mapping in operational context by Shane D Johnson, Daniel J Birks, Lindsay McLaughlin, Kate J Bowers and Ken Pease reports on a trial of a tool to predict burglary hotspots. The full report (pdf) is here or you can access a shorter summary here (pdf).

Finally, three Statistical Bulletins:

  • Results from a survey of arrestees (pdf).
  • Statistics on attitudes, perceptions and risks of crime (pdf).
  • Asylum Statistics for the 3rd Quarter 2007 (pdf)

Photo credit: stilleben2001, Creative Commons License

The Kitty Genovese murder and the social psychology of helping

The Kitty Genovese murder is well-known to every student of psychology: according to the story, 38 witnesses to Kitty’s murder failed to take any action to intervene or call the police. The shocking tale, which has “an iconic place in social psychology” prompted a series of studies on bystander apathy , starting with the most famous, by Darley and Latané (1968).

An article in the September issue of American Psychologist reveals the startling news that, despite its central position in the history of psychology, there is “no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive”. Here’s the abstract of the article, which was written by UK social psychologists Rachel Manning, Mark Levine and Alan Collins:

This article argues that an iconic event in the history of helping research–the story of the 38 witnesses who remained inactive during the murder of Kitty Genovese–is not supported by the available evidence. Using archive material, the authors show that there is no evidence for the presence of 38 witnesses, or that witnesses observed the murder, or that witnesses remained inactive. Drawing a distinction between the robust bystander research tradition and the story of the 38 witnesses, the authors explore the consequences of the story for the discipline of psychology. They argue that the story itself plays a key role in psychology textbooks. They also suggest that the story marks a new way of conceptualizing the dangers of immersion in social groups. Finally, they suggest that the story itself has become a modern parable, the telling of which has served to limit the scope of inquiry into emergency helping.

The authors don’t argue that research on bystander apathy is invalid, or that bystander apathy doesn’t exist. Quite the contrary. But their point is that research psychologists have focused so much on the circumstances in which people don’t help others that we know considerably less about when they do:

It is important to acknowledge that stories of heroic helping do make their way into both introductory and other social psychology texts. But when they do they are often stories of individuals who act in a pro-social way in spite of the presence of others … There are very few attempts to explore the potential contributions that groups and group processes can bring to promoting collective intervention in emergencies (p.561).

References:

Hat tip to Advances in the History of Psychology (also featured on the BPS Research Blog).

Lecture: Obstacles on the Road to Crime

The Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at University College London is advertising a lecture on “Obstacles on the Road to Crime” by Professor Henk Elffers from the NSCR, Leiden, The Netherlands. The event will be held on Wednesday 24 October, 6.30pm – 7.30pm, in London.

According to the website, “the talk will appeal to those interested in crime from a criminological, urban design, statistical and policy point of view.”

More details on the JDI site.