Homicide Studies

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • The Effect of Absolute and Relative Deprivation on Homicides in Brazil

    This paper investigates the effect of absolute deprivation (proxy unemployment) and relative deprivation (proxy income inequality) on homicide levels in Brazil. A database from the Brazilian Information System about Mortality and Census of the year 2000 and 2010 was used to estimate negative binomial models of homicide levels controlling for socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic factors. Findings show that unemployment and income inequality affect homicides levels and that the effect of the former is more pronounced compared to the latter. Moreover, the combination of income inequality and unemployment exacerbates the overall effect of deprivation on homicide levels.

  • Examining the Relationship Between Weapon Type and Relationship Type in American Homicides: A Bayesian Approach

    The weapon type used in a homicide predicts the victim-perpetrator relationship. However, there are some limitations in this past research including the common data analytic strategies. Our purpose was to build a model of weapon type, predicting relationship type, and to address previous limitations. We examined 363,927 homicides and used Bayesian multilevel categorical regression. In addition to analyzing weapon type (final model consisted of 16 weapon categories), we examined the victims’ sex, age, and race as covariates and modeled the data across states and counties. Results indicate that weapon type is highly informative, however, the age of the victim and sex of the victim interact in important ways.

  • Correlates of the Number Shot and Killed in Active Shooter Events

    Active shooter events have captured the public’s attention since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Although there has been research on various aspects of these events, only a single study has attempted to identify factors that are related to the number of people injured or killed in these events. This study was limited in that it only considered the presence or absence of a semi-automatic rifle. This paper expands on the existing research by examining several other factors that may impact the total number of people shot or killed during active shooter events.

  • Environmental Factors Influencing Urban Homicide Clearance Rates: A Spatial Analysis of New York City

    In this paper, we explore the conditions under which clearance rates improve by looking at the experience across New York City. Using one agency provides a control on the administrative differences that appear across other jurisdictions that have been studied, usually through cross-national analysis. Our analysis uses Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) to identify environmental features that relate to closed versus open homicide cases using two years of New York City Police Department (NYPD) data. This analysis is supplemented with an investigation of precinct-wide social structure variables to examine how context matters in influencing closure rates.

  • Muddy Waters: Critiquing the Historical Criminology Method in the Investigation of the Smiley Face Murders Theory

    As an emerging trans-disciplinary field, the operational use of historical criminology is a largely under-studied area. Examination of the use of archival research in studying cases connected to Gannon and Gilbertson’s Smiley Face murders theory indicates that there is clear potential for historical criminology to be used to revisit closed or cold investigations to determine if the official findings of the case are consistent with the evidence. In the case of the Smiley Face murders theory, taking a historical criminology approach has failed to prove the hypothesis of researchers; nevertheless, use of historical research methods has had some success in forcing a re-evaluation of several cases, and should be considered an important tool in future investigations of this nature.

  • “911 What’s Your Emergency?”: Deception in 911 Homicide and Homicide Staged as Suicide Calls

    Emergency 911 calls are often the first indication a homicide occurred and serve as initial witness statements in an investigation. The current study explores deception among homicide and homicide staged as suicide 911 calls. One hundred suicides, 18 homicide staged as suicide calls, 31 homicides with uninvolved callers, and 26 homicide offender calls were compared. Little overlap was found in deception indicators between the current findings and previous studies. Caution is warranted when extrapolating from studies using only 911 homicide calls to equivocal death cases, where investigators consider if the manner of death is a suicide or a staged homicide.

  • Can Victim, Offender, and Situational Characteristics Differentiate Between Lethal and Non-Lethal Incidents of Intimate Partner Violence Occurring Among Adults?

    This study investigates risk factors that predict the likelihood of homicide as a result of intimate partner violence. Using a subsample of the 2011 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data, we estimate binary logistic regression models comparing homicide by intimate partners to aggravated assault by intimate partners. Several victim characteristics (race, age), offender characteristics (age, race, relationship with victim), and situational characteristics (weapon use, offender alcohol use) differentiated homicide incidents from aggravated assault incidents. The findings provide evidence that characteristics of victims, offenders, and events contribute to the likelihood that intimate partner violence will escalate to homicide.

  • Reconsidering Homicide Clearance Research: The Utility of Multifaceted Data Collection Approaches

    This study explores issues associated with the data commonly used in homicide clearance research. Data collected from 2009 to 2011 case files (n = 252) were reviewed during interviews with investigators (n = 29). The multifaceted data collection approach produced a more comprehensive dataset than was available based solely upon case file reviews, with alterations to the data occurring in as many as 69% of the cases. The process advanced the precision of the data recorded, reduced missingness, and heightened detail on key variables. Significant differences were noted in multivariate analyses of the datasets when modeling clearances. Findings suggest contextualizing case file data is valuable.

  • The Newsworthiness of Mass Public Shootings: What Factors Impact the Extent of Coverage?

    This study examined the characteristics of mass public shootings from 2000 through 2019 that impacted the extent of news coverage. A negative binomial regression predicting AP story counts indicated substantially greater coverage of shootings with a high number of casualties; that target government facilities, schools, or houses of worship; that are perpetrated by younger assailants, particularly with indications of mental illness; that involve terrorism or hate-motivation; that end in the assailant’s arrest rather than death; and, to a lesser extent, that include larger shares of victims who are White, women, children, and strangers. Overall, the disproportionate coverage contributes to distorted perceptions of risk and reinforces inaccurate stereotypes about these crimes.

  • Getting Away With Murder: Homicide Clearance by Arrest in Chicago and Its Community Areas

    This work explores the decline in murder clearances through arrest in Chicago from 1965 through 2015, specifically focusing on the most recent time period since 2001. The findings suggest that clearance by arrest has decreased significantly, that elapsed time is a limited factor in clearing more murders through arrest and that factors associated with clearance by arrest in Chicago have changed over time. These results lead to a discussion on the missing variance that cannot explain murder clearance by arrest as well as future research areas that can explore why many murderers in Chicago are increasingly escaping the justice system.

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