What four factors make it difficult to define crime?
Historical Context, Culture, Age, Specific Circumstances
Why is historical context a factor?
What is defined as a crime at one point in time may not be at another point. For example, homosexuality was an offence in the UK until 1967.
Why is culture a factor?
Different cultures have different views for example in some cultures it is acceptable to have more than one wife whereas in the UK it is regarded as bigamy.
Why is age a factor?
Age determines whether or not someone is a criminal or not, for example if a 3 year old stole a sweet from a store would not be regarded as a criminal unlike a 30 year old who steals who would be a criminal.
Why are specific circumstances a factor?
Individual circumstances may determine if someone is a criminal or not
How is crime measured traditionally?
Official Crime Statistics
What do Putwain and Sammons (2002) suggest about OCS?
They widely underestimate actual crime figures.
What are Official Statistics?
The official crime rate based on crimes that are reported and recorded by the police.
** They may be accurate but may not reflect the true extent of crime.
What did Hollin (1992) suggest?
Official statistics only account of 25% of actual crime.
What do criminologists refer to unreported crime as?
The ‘Dark Figure’ - all unreported crime or crime which does not appear in the official statistics
List 6 reasons why crime is unreported.
1) There is no victim. eg speeding
2) Victim is too afraid
3) Too trivial
4) Can’t be bothered/inconvenient
5) Mistrust police
6) Perpetrator is family/friend
List 7 reasons why crime not recorded.
1) Insufficient time
2) Too trivial
3) One of several offences
4) Not a priority
5) Victim withdraws charge
6) Lack of evidence
7) Police recording rules (differ)
What did Farrington & Dowds (1985) study?
A: Investigated differences in crime figures between counties in UK
M: Analysed a random sample of police records of crimes in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire
R:Nottinghamshire Police recorded thefts of less than £10 whereas other forces regarded as minor & did not record it.
C: Police recording procedures can create distortions
What is a Victim Survey?
A survey which involves asking people whether or not they have been a victim of crime over a specific time period.
What is the most well known Victim Survey in the UK?
British Crime Survey (BCS)
How often is the BCS carried out?
Every 2 years with a huge sample from aged 16 upwards.
How large was the BCS in 2006/7?
47,000 people with a booster of 4,000 aged 16-24.
Why was there an additional booster for the 2006/7 BCS?
Because people from the 16-24 group that were randomly selected declined.
What is the BCS process like?
Heavily structured interviews with pre-set questions including optional responses for participants to choose from.
What did the 2006/7 survey show?
It showed that victim reports were more than the police recorded crime.
What were the differences in overall crime between BCS and OS?
OS - 2% decrease
BCS - 3% increase
What were the differences in violent crime between OS and BCS?
OS - 1% decrease for violent robbery and 7% decrease in sexual offences.
BCS - 5% increase overall in violent offences.
What are self-report measures in regards to crime?
Offender self reports/surveys ask people about their offending behaviour.
What did Putwain & Sammons (2002) say about offender surveys?
If they are accurate they can be extremely helpful providing useful additional information about the number of crimes being committed and also how many people are responsible
Name one Offender Survey
Offending Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS)
What does the OCJS do?
Interviews young people in England and Wales about their attitudes and experiences towards offending behaviour.
How does the OCJS gather its information?
Due to the sensitive nature of the questions, all responses are gathered via computer ( which will increase validity hopefully)
What is the aim of the OCJS?
To assess the extent of offending, antisocial behaviour and drug use among young people aged 10-25years old.
How are participants for the OCJS selected?
Random selection & longitudinal survey
What age group does the OCJS focus on?
How large is the OCJS sample?
What did the OCJS reveal in 2006?
1,669 young people revealed most crimes were alcohol-related.
Name one negative evaluative point about Official Statistics
They tend to under-represent crime = dark figure
What is a strength of victim surveys?
They are carried out on a large scale and are randomly selected so tend to be representative
What is a limitation of victim surveys?
They rely on accuracy of recall & retrospective reporting may be inaccurate. Telescoping may appear if ppts think of an event which happened years ago as if it was recently.
State two limitations of offender surveys.
1) They rely on offender’s honest reporting some may lie or exaggerate the truth
2) Only certain age/social groups are targeted so results could be deemed as bias
What did Douglas and Burgess (1986) define offender profiling as?
An investigative technique used to identify the major personality and behaviour characteristics of the offender based upon analysis of the crime(s)
What is the typology approach?
The typology approach is based on offender profiling.
What two categories did the FBI split profiling into?
Organised and Disorganised
How was this distinction created?
Through interviewing 36 serial sex offenders who volunteered to speak about their crimes
What did Douglas et al. (1992) suggest about organised/disorganised?
It can be applied to all sexually motivated murders and in some cases arson.
In 1992 what did Douglas suggest?
Douglas suggested a third category called “mixed offender” should be added to accommodate offenders who cannot be easily categorised.
List the crime scene characteristics of an organised offender.
Body hidden Evidence of planning Controlled conversation Use of restraints Removes weapon from scene
List the crime scene characteristics of a disorganised offender.
Little evidence of planning Body in open view Little conversation Leaves evidence- semen,blood etc Victim is known Little use of restraint
List the likely personality traits of an organised offender.
Avg. to high intelligence Socially competent Skilled employment Sexually competent Living with partner
List the likely personality traits of a disorganised offender
Below-avg. intelligence Socially inadequate Unskilled employment Sexual incompetent Lives alone or close to the scene
What investigative approach does the USA use?
Top-Down (analyse the crime scene first)
What investigative approach does the UK use?
Bottom- Up (analyse the crime scene last)
State one limitation of organised/disorganised distinction
The validity of this approach has not yet been established.
State a methodological limitation of the organised/disorganised distinction.
The sample size was extremely limited (36)
What are the issues with the original notion of organised/disorganised?
2) The need for a 3rd category questions the original notion
What did Jenkins (1988) suggest?
Two different categories for serial killers - the respectable type and the predictable type
What did Holmes and De burger (1988) propose?
Six types that could be defined according to the combination of 14 characteristics
What did Canter (2004) question?
There is evidence for organised features for serial killers however there is none for the disorganised type.
What was Canter’s study in 2004?
A - test the validity of organised/disorganised distinction
M- research from 100 murders by 100 serial killers in the USA each case was assessed for the 39 characteristics. Smallest space analysis was used to test for the co-occurrence of 39 variables across the 100 cases
R- a set of organised characteristics were found in most serial killers eg body hidden in an isolated spot. Disorganised characteristics were much rarer & did not occur often enough to be considered as a type
C- no clear distinction between org. & disorg. & being organised is. A characteristic of serial killers as a whole
What did Alison et al. (2002) review??
Processes involved in offender profiling
What did Alison note?
There are 2 key assumptions
- Consistency in offenders behaviour at different offences
- Aspects of the offenders behaviour at the scene of the crime will be similar to their everyday/normal behaviour
What did Alison conclude?
The first assumption is supported & the other is not.
What is the Person X Situation effect?
The interactions between the person & the situation will lead a person to behave differently in different situations.
What did Alison suggest about current profiling methods?
They rely on outdated understanding of personality and should be used with extreme caution - that technique has predictive validity
What is a geographical approach according to Rossmo (1997)
Profiling which involves generalising from the locations of linked crime scenes to the likely home or operational base of the offender.
What is the basic assumption of geographical profiling?
Offenders prefer to operate in the areas they know well either close to home or somewhere they visit regularly.
What did Canter & Gregory (1994) discover about criminals crime range?
Many offenders have a crime range of as little as 2 miles.
What 2 types of offenders did Canter & Gregory come up with?
Marauders - commit crimes in their neighbourhood
Commuters - travel to commit their crimes
How did investigators determine where Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper) live?
Kind (2008) the analysis of the locations of the case identified a centre of gravity which enabled inferences about Sutcliffe’s base and occupation.
What did Canter & Youngs (2008) explain?
Geographical profiling is built in accepted psychological theory about how people represent or conceptualise information.
What did Barlett propose in 1932?
Information stored in mental schemas are organised units of knowledge
What is a schema?
A mental map of organised set of information about spatial information
What did Canter suggest?
The location of crime scenes reflect the offender’s mental map & their experience of their environment
What can the location of a crime be used for?
To infer where an offender is based, their interests employment & relationships
What did Lundrigan & Canter argue in 2001?
All criminal spatial decision making is influenced by social cognitive & economic factors
List some relevant factors Lundrigan & Canter argued?
Age Marital and JOb status intelligence motive method of transport
Outline the John Duffy case by Canter 1994.
1) Railway Rapist - 1982-1986 24 sexual assaults & murdered occurred in London.
2) Police created a profile of the likely offender
3) Geographical information along with witnesses led to the arrest of John Duffy November 1986
What did the police find about Duffy’s profile?
It was accurate he lived in Kilburn,
Separated from his wife whom he had been violent towards
Had a job as a carpenter on the railways
Outline Lundrigan & Canter 2001 study
A - Spatial behaviour of 120 serial murders in USA
M- Information from solved murder cases was obtained & analysed. Distance between crime scene, home & location of body disposed. Statistical method of smallest space analysis was used to determine patterns of disposal
R- 3 key findings
1) Offender’s home was geographically central in the pattern
2) Location of disposal site tended to be in a different location to the previous disposal site
3) Different disposal sites were common in killers who travelled less than 10km
C- Spatial information about body disposal sites may be useful in locating an offender’s base
E - what is a strength of geographical profiling?
Founded on psychological theory about how information is represented
E - why is geographical profiling useful?
It can be used for all types of crime not just violent offences
E- What did Goodwill & Alison find in 2006?
Analysis of house burglaries and found geographical info was more useful than time of the offence, crime scene information & characteristics of dwelling for linking cases which had been committed by a single burglar.
What is a limitation of geographical profiling?
The location of a crime is not enough to enable a based to be inferred it must be combined with psychological data
What did Pinizzotto 1984 find out about the effectiveness of offender profiling?
15/192 cases where offender profiling was used was solved.
Offender profiling only contributed to identifying suspects
What did Bartol 1996 find out about the effectiveness of offender profiling?
Surveyed 152 police psychologists & found that 70% were unsure about the validity & usefulness of profiling
What did Alison et al 2003 find out about the effectiveness of offender profiling?
Ambiguous statements presented as a guise in offender profiles was accepted as accurate descriptions even when the profile included contrary statements
Outline Pinizzotto & Finkel’s study in 1990
A- Evaluate the effectiveness of offender profiling
M- 5groups were compared on their ability to construct profiles of real (solved) cases. They were given info. about the crime scene method & victim & asked to describe the likely offender. All participants worked in the field & were highly trained experienced detectives FBI officers etc. Profiles were compared with actual details & assessed for accuracy. Cognitive strategies were also assessed
R- Trained experts provided better profile sof sex offenders but were not significantly better at the murder cases than other groups. No differences in the cognitive strategies used.
C- Profiling training appears to be of some use
Outline the five key principles of the investigative approach suggested by Canter
Interpersonal Coherence Significance of time and place Criminal Characteristics Criminal Career Forensic awareness
What is the physiological explanation of offending?
There is a criminal physique or make up associated with criminals creating a criminal type
What was atavistic form?
Criminal type - narrow brow, strong jaw high cheekbones, extra limbs nipples large dark skin
Who proposed the Atavistic form of criminal?
How did Lombroso create this theory?
Sampled the proportions of 383 dead criminals heads & 3839 living ones
What is a limitation of Lombroso’s methodology?
He did not compare non criminals with criminals
What could Lombroso’s sample included?
People with learning difficulties
What did Lombroso’s research include?
Racial undertones - even today similar views Rushton & Jenesen 2005 argues that there are higher criminal amongst Afro-Caribbean people due to genetics & intelligence
What is a limitation of Lombroso’s theory?
NO cause & effect facial features do not cause criminality - may lead to self fulfilling prophecy
What did Sheldon suggest in 1949?
Scientific explanation for aggression & criminal behaviour based on body type
What is an endomorph?
Soft fat & rounded - social relaxed
What is an ectomorph?
Skinny & fragile - shy introverted characters
What is a mesomorph?
Aggressive & adventurous - criminal type
Outline Sheldon’s research in 1949
A- Investigate link between criminality & body type
M- Analysed 200 photos of delinquents & non delinquents (students) rated them 1-7 not mesomorphic at all to mesomorphic
R- Avg. rating of delinquents was 4.6 compared to 3.8 for the control group
C- Delinquency is associated with mesomorphic body type
What did Cortes & Gatti argue?
Sheldon’s classification was unreliable
What did Sutherland (1951) criticise?
Sheldon’s selection of delinquents using his own definition rather than the legal definition
What did Sutherland find when he re-analysed Sheldon’s data?
The link between delinquency & mesomorphic body type is no longer present
What are the other reasons for antisocial behaviour & muscular build?
Muscular built individuals learn to get what they want from aggression from a young age
Muscular body is more attractive to gang members
What did the BCS suggest about mesomorphic body type?
Not true - BCS found that most criminals were smaller than the average person
What did Blackburn suggest in 1993?
High testosterone levels may affect body shape & aggression
Outline the biological explanation of criminal behaviour
All criminal behaviour has a genetic basis
What does genetic transmission suggest about offending behaviour
Use of twins MZ and DZ twins & concordance rates
Outline Lange study in 1929
77% concordance in MZ 12% in DZ criminality
Outline Christiansen 1977 criminality twin study
35% MZ and 12% DZ
Why are adoption studies important?
Compare adoptive children & their parents & biological parents
Outline Grove et al 1990 study
A- criminal behaviour in separated pairs of MZ twins
M- 31 sets interviewed individually - behaviour assessed at 43 years old interviewers were blind to the purpose
R- Drug score antisocial scores significant heritability. APD - 29% concordance rates
C- traits had a genetic component