Criminology

Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
2021-02-01
ISBN:
0011-1384

Latest documents

  • POISONED DEVELOPMENT: ASSESSING CHILDHOOD LEAD EXPOSURE AS A CAUSE OF CRIME IN A BIRTH COHORT FOLLOWED THROUGH ADOLESCENCE

    The consequences of lead exposure for later crime are theoretically compelling, but direct evidence from representative, longitudinal samples is sparse. By capitalizing on an original follow‐up of more than 200 infants from the birth cohort of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods matched to their blood lead levels from around age 3 years, we provide several tests. Through the use of four waves of longitudinal data that include measures of individual development, family background, and structural inequalities in how lead becomes embodied, we assess the hypothesized link between early childhood lead poisoning and both parent‐reported delinquent behavior and official arrest in late adolescence. We also test for mediating developmental processes of impulsivity and anxiety or depression. The results from multiple analytic strategies that make different assumptions reveal a plausibly causal effect of childhood lead exposure on adolescent delinquent behavior but no direct link to arrests. The results underscore lead exposure as a trigger for poisoned development in the early life course and call for greater integration of the environment into theories of individual differences in criminal behavior.

  • MARKETIZED MENTALITY, COMPETITIVE/EGOISTIC SCHOOL CULTURE, AND DELINQUENT ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOR: AN APPLICATION OF INSTITUTIONAL ANOMIE THEORY*

    We analyze the individual‐level and school‐level determinants of delinquency through the lens of a macro‐sociological theory of crime—institutional anomie theory (IAT). The concept of a “marketized mentality” is introduced as a predictor of students’ delinquency, along with an egoistic/competitive school culture—a feature of the school community. Five hypotheses pertaining to the readiness to use violence and self‐reported delinquency were assessed using multilevel modeling with data from a survey in Germany for 4,150 students clustered in 69 schools. The results largely meet theoretical expectations. The measure of marketized mentality exhibits robust relationships with both forms of delinquency at the individual level, and an egoistic/competitive school culture helps explain variation in levels of these forms of delinquency across schools. Also consistent with expectations, the anti‐social effects of marketized mentality are accentuated for both the readiness to use violence and committing instrumentally motivated property offenses as a competitive/egoistic school climate increases. The results of our analyses reveal that bringing in concepts of IAT can appreciably enhance understanding of the characteristics of students and features of communal school organization that are conducive to youthful offending.

  • DOES UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION INCREASE VIOLENT CRIME?*

    Despite substantial public, political, and scholarly attention to the issue of immigration and crime, we know little about the criminological consequences of undocumented immigration. As a result, fundamental questions about whether undocumented immigration increases violent crime remain unanswered. In an attempt to address this gap, we combine newly developed estimates of the unauthorized population with multiple data sources to capture the criminal, socioeconomic, and demographic context of all 50 states and Washington, DC, from 1990 to 2014 to provide the first longitudinal analysis of the macro‐level relationship between undocumented immigration and violence. The results from fixed‐effects regression models reveal that undocumented immigration does not increase violence. Rather, the relationship between undocumented immigration and violent crime is generally negative, although not significant in all specifications. Using supplemental models of victimization data and instrumental variable methods, we find little evidence that these results are due to decreased reporting or selective migration to avoid crime. We consider the theoretical and policy implications of these findings against the backdrop of the dramatic increase in immigration enforcement in recent decades.

  • “EXPERIENCE OF THE EXPECTED?” RACE AND ETHNICITY DIFFERENCES IN THE EFFECTS OF POLICE CONTACT ON YOUTH*

    Proponents of police reform have called for changes in the way police interact with citizens, particularly with people of color. The rationale, in part, is that when people have more favorable perceptions of their police encounters, they view the police as more just and are more willing to cooperate and comply with the law. To assess whether perceptions of police‐initiated encounters shape law‐related outcomes, we examine how satisfaction with treatment during prior police contact affects procedural injustice, reporting intentions, norms supporting the use of violence, and delinquency. We also explore whether these relationships vary among Blacks, Whites, and Latinos. Our results indicate that youth who have been stopped or arrested fare worse than their counterparts with no police‐initiated contact; however, the potentially negative ramifications of these encounters on all outcomes except violence norms are generally mitigated when youth are satisfied with their treatment. The effects of contact are mostly invariant across racial/ethnic groups when a robust set of control variables are included. We conclude that changing the perceptions of youth regarding how they are treated by the police may mitigate some of the harms of being stopped or arrested, but we caution that these perceptions are shaped by factors aside from police behavior during encounters.

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  • REASSESSING THE BREADTH OF THE PROTECTIVE BENEFIT OF IMMIGRANT NEIGHBORHOODS: A MULTILEVEL ANALYSIS OF VIOLENCE RISK BY RACE, ETHNICITY, AND LABOR MARKET STRATIFICATION*

    Researchers in the United States have increasingly recognized that immigration reduces crime, but it remains unresolved whether this applies to people of different racial–ethnic and economic backgrounds. By using the 2008–2012 area‐identified National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), we evaluate the effect of neighborhood immigrant concentration on individual violence risk across race/ethnicity and labor market stratification factors in areas with different histories of immigration. The results of our analysis reveal three key patterns. First, we find a consistent protective role of immigrant concentration that is not weakened by low education, low income, unemployment, or labor market competition. Therefore, even economically disadvantaged people enjoy the crime‐reduction benefit of immigration. Second, we find support for threshold models that predict a nonlinear, stronger protective role of immigrant concentration on violence at higher levels of immigrant concentration. The protective function of immigration also is higher in areas of longer histories of immigration. Third, compared with Blacks and Whites, Latinos receive a greater violence‐reduction benefit of immigrant concentration possibly because they live in closer proximity with immigrants and share common sociocultural features. Nevertheless, immigrant concentration yields a diminishing return in reducing Latino victimization as immigrants approach a near‐majority of neighborhood residents. The implications of these results are discussed.

  • CORRELATES OF VIOLENT POLITICAL EXTREMISM IN THE UNITED STATES*

    Although research on terrorism has grown rapidly in recent years, few scholars have applied criminological theories to the analysis of individual‐level political extremism. Instead, researchers focused on radicalization have drawn primarily from political science and psychology and have overwhelmingly concentrated on violent extremists, leaving little variation in the dependent variable. With the use of a newly available data set, we test whether variables derived from prominent criminological theories are helpful in distinguishing between nonviolent and violent extremists. The results show that variables related to social control (lack of stable employment), social learning (radical peers), psychological perspectives (history of mental illness), and criminal record all have significant effects on participation in violent political extremism and are robust across multiple techniques for imputing missing data. At the same time, other common indicators of social control (e.g., education and marital status) and social learning perspectives (e.g., radical family members) were not significant in the multivariate models. We argue that terrorism research would benefit from including criminology insights and by considering political radicalization as a dynamic, evolving process, much as life‐course criminology treats more common forms of crime.

  • DO CELLMATES MATTER? A CAUSAL TEST OF THE SCHOOLS OF CRIME HYPOTHESIS WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION AND DETERRENCE THEORIES

    In the schools of crime hypothesis, social interactions between inmates are assumed to produce criminogenic rather than deterrent prison peer effects, thus implicating them in the persistence of high recidivism rates and null or criminogenic prison effects. We assess the validity of the schools of crime hypothesis by estimating prison peer effects that result from differential cellmate associations in a male, first‐time release cohort from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. To isolate causal prison peer effects in the presence of essential heterogeneity, we use a semiparametric local instrumental variables estimation strategy. Our results do not support the school of crime hypothesis. In our sample, prison peer effects produced in interaction with more criminally experienced cellmates are always null or deterrent rather than criminogenic. Although we do not explicitly test for the operant conditioning mechanisms theorized to underlie social influence in the context of differential association, we argue that, under the assumption that the differential association context relates positively to the direction of peer influence, our universally noncriminogenic estimates exclude direct reinforcement, vicarious reinforcement, and direct punishment as potential drivers of prison peer effects produced in interaction with more criminally experienced cellmates. Our results support the assertion that operant conditioning mechanisms connect differential association and deterrence theories.

  • TOWARD A BIFURCATED THEORY OF EMOTIONAL DETERRENCE

    Since Hobbes (1957 [1651] and Beccaria (1963 [1764]), scholars have theorized that the emotion of fear is critical for deterrence. Nevertheless, contemporary deterrence researchers have mostly overlooked the distinction between perceived sanction risk and fear of apprehension. Whereas perceived risk is a cognitive judgment, fear involves visceral feelings of anxiety or dread. Equally important, a theory explicating the influence of deterrence on both criminal propensity and situational offending has remained elusive. We develop a theoretical model in which perceived risk and fear are distinguished at both the general and situational levels. We test this theoretical model with data from a set of survey‐based experiments conducted in 2016 with a nationwide sample of adults (N = 965). We find that perceived risk and fear are empirically distinct and that perceived risk is positively related to fear at both the general and situational levels. Certain background and situational factors have indirect effects through perceived risk on fear. In turn, perceived risk has indirect effects through fear on both criminal propensity and situational intentions to offend. Fear's inclusion increases explanatory power for both criminal propensity and situational offending intentions. Fear is a stronger predictor than either self‐control or prior offending of situational intentions to offend.

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