Findings

Bad Guys

Kevin Lewis

November 23, 2010

The Short-Term and Localized Effect of Gun Shows: Evidence from California and Texas

Mark Duggan, Randi Hjalmarsson & Brian Jacob
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the effect of more than 3,400 gun shows using data from Gun and Knife Show Calendar and vital statistics data from California and Texas. Considering the one month following each show and a surrounding area ranging from 80 to 2,000 square miles, we find no evidence that gun shows increase either gun homicides or suicides. The similarity of our estimates for California and Texas suggest that the much tighter California gun show regulations do not substantially reduce the number of firearms-related deaths in that state. Using incidentlevel crime data for Houston, Texas, we also find no evidence of an effect on other crime categories.

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To catch a terrorist: Can ethnic profiling work?

William Press
Significance, December 2010, Pages 164-167

Abstract:
In a world threatened by terrorists from a small number of countries, it is tempting to think that racial profiling for security purposes, even if morally objectionable, might save lives. But is it mathematically sound? William Press shows that even with unrealistically perfect data it is surprisingly difficult to gain any benefit from such profiling.

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Maternal smoking during pregnancy and criminal offending among adult offspring

Angela Paradis, Garrett Fitzmaurice, Karestan Koenen & Stephen Buka
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Although a number of previous studies have reported an association between maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSP) and externalising behaviour problems among offspring, it has been suggested that this relationship is spurious due to the failure of these studies to properly account for important confounding factors.

Methods: The relationship between MSP and adult criminal offending was examined using data from 3766 members of the Providence, Rhode Island, cohort of the Collaborative Perinatal Project. Information on MSP and most potential confounders was collected prospectively throughout pregnancy. In 1999-2000 all offspring had reached 33 years of age and an adult criminal record check was performed. Because previous research has been criticised for not properly accounting for confounding influences, our primary aim was to determine whether the MSP-criminal offending relationship held after efficiently adjusting for a wide range of sociodemographic and family background characteristics using propensity score methods.

Results: The association between MSP and adult criminal offending remained after controlling for propensity scores. Offspring of mothers who smoked heavily during pregnancy (≥20 cigarettes per day) had the greatest odds of an adult arrest record (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.62). Findings also suggest that MSP may be an independent risk factor for adult criminal histories marked by multiple arrests. Lastly, our findings show that the impact of MSP operates similarly across both genders.

Conclusion: Results from this study provide evidence of an association between heavy MSP and long-term criminal offending. Any causal association is likely to be weak to moderate in strength.

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Canine Sniffs and Policing the Drug War

Durant Frantzen
Criminal Justice Review, December 2010, Pages 438-452

Abstract:
The war on drugs has resulted in numerous policing reforms, partly a function of policy established through the court system. In Illinois v. Caballes (2005), the Supreme Court held that a canine sniff of a vehicle's exterior is not a ‘‘search,'' but acknowledged that a prolonged detention could result in a Fourth Amendment violation. This study examines the universe of federal appellate court decisions involving canine sniffs postdating the Caballes decision-a period spanning more than 4 years. Results show that court decisions have largely focused on motorist stops, while only a minority of cases has involved canine sniffs of residences. Additionally, courts have usually held that a canine sniff occurring during a prolonged vehicle stop is not an unreasonable seizure. However, in limited contexts police questioning and the extent of the roadside detention can result in a Fourth Amendment violation. Although one's home is generally afforded the highest level of constitutional protection, appellate courts have ruled that canine sniffs of residences are less intrusive than technologically assisted searches. On the whole, findings reveal an overall suppression rate of 10%. Policy implications surrounding the use of canines in vehicle stops and residential searches are addressed.

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Welfare Payments and Crime

Fritz Foley
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analysis of daily reported incidents of major crimes in twelve U.S. cities reveals an increase in crime over the course of monthly welfare payment cycles. This increase reflects an increase in crimes that are likely to have a direct financial motivation as opposed to other kinds of crime. Temporal patterns in crime are observed in jurisdictions in which disbursements are focused at the beginning of monthly welfare payment cycles and not in jurisdictions in which disbursements are relatively more staggered. These findings indicate that welfare beneficiaries consume welfare-related income quickly and then attempt to supplement it with criminal income.

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Sweetened blood cools hot tempers: Physiological self-control and aggression

Nathan DeWall, Timothy Deckman, Matthew Gailliot & Brad Bushman
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Aggressive and violent behaviors are restrained by self-control. Self-control consumes a lot of glucose in the brain, suggesting that low glucose and poor glucose metabolism are linked to aggression and violence. Four studies tested this hypothesis. Study 1 found that participants who consumed a glucose beverage behaved less aggressively than did participants who consumed a placebo beverage. Study 2 found an indirect relationship between diabetes (a disorder marked by low glucose levels and poor glucose metabolism) and aggressiveness through low self-control. Study 3 found that states with high diabetes rates also had high violent crime rates. Study 4 found that countries with high rates of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (a metabolic disorder related to low glucose levels) also had higher killings rates, both war related and non-war related. All four studies suggest that a spoonful of sugar helps aggressive and violent behaviors go down.

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Teen Magazines as Educational Texts on Dating Violence: The $2.99 Approach

Heather Hensman Kettrey & Beth Emery
Violence Against Women, November 2010, Pages 1270-1294

Abstract:
This study analyzed the portrayal of dating violence in teen magazines published in the United States. Such an investigation is important because previous research indicates that dating violence is a serious problem facing adolescents, teen magazines overemphasize the importance of romantic relationships, and teens who read this genre frequently or for education/advice are especially susceptible to its messages. Results indicated that although teen magazines do frame dating violence as a cultural problem, they are much more likely to utilize an individual frame that emphasizes the victim. Results were discussed as they apply to the responsibilities of professionals working with adolescents.

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Modeling the Politics of Punishment: A Contextual Analysis of Racial Disparity in Drug Sentencing

Ronald Helms & S.E. Costanza
Criminal Justice Review, December 2010, Pages 472-491

Abstract:
This study uses Tobit to assess contextual punishment determinants for a large sample of felony drug cases that reached final disposition in 1990. After statistically holding constant ascribed and legal variables, the authors find that punishments for African American defendants in drug-related cases varied by social and political context. African American defendants adjudicated in jurisdictions characterized by a large Black population received reduced punishments; but in jurisdictions that were characterized by strong law-and-order political support, Black defendants received longer sentences. After introducing these interactions, Blacks faced on average reduced penalties for drug crimes. Blacks were the recipients of adjusted sentencing but not in the uniformly harsh direction proposed by much of the sentencing research. In sum, the results of this research add to the growing literature documenting the political foundations of punishment patterns in the U.S. criminal courts.

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Heterogeneity in the rise and decline of city-level homicide rates, 1976-2005: A latent trajectory analysis

Patricia McCall, Kenneth Land & Karen Parker
Social Science Research, January 2011, Pages 363-378

Abstract:
This study applies latent trajectory methods to the analysis of temporal changes in homicide rates among large US cities across recent decades. Specifically, annual homicide rates for 157 large US cities are analyzed for the 30 years from 1976 to 2005. We address the fundamental questions: Did all of cities experience similar levels and patterns of rise and decline in homicide rates over these three decades? Or is there hidden or unobserved heterogeneity with respect to these temporal patterns, thus leading to the identification of more homogeneous groupings of the cities? And if latent homogeneous groupings surface, is membership due to specific structural characteristics found within those cities? Evidence is found for the existence of four latent homicide rate trajectories. After identifying and classifying the cities into these four groups, multivariate statistical techniques are used to determine which social and economic characteristics are significant predictors of these distinct homicide trends. Criminal justice measures are also included as controls. It is found that larger cities located in the South with higher levels of resource deprivation/concentrated poverty, higher income inequality, higher percentages of the adult male population that are divorced, higher unemployment rates, higher percentages of youth, higher percentages of the population who are Hispanic and higher numbers of police per capita are more likely to be in a higher than a lower homicide trajectory group. Higher percentages of the population enrolled in colleges and universities and locations in states with higher incarceration rates are characteristics of cities associated with membership in a lower homicide trajectory group.

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Is There a Crime Drop in Western Europe?

Marcelo Aebi & Antonia Linde
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, December 2010, Pages 251-277

Abstract:
Combining data from police statistics and crime victim surveys, this article analyses the evolution of crime in Western Europe from 1988 to 2007. The results show that there is no general drop in crime. Property offences and homicide have been decreasing since the mid 1990s, while violent and drug offences have increased during the period under study. These trends highlight the limits of the explanations to the crime drop in the United States, which are based on the premise of a correlation in the evolution of all offences. The drop in property offences seems related to changes in the socioeconomic situation in Europe as well as to increases in security measures in households, and the reinforcement of private security. The increase in violent offences can be explained by the combination of several factors, including changes in youth's free time provoked by the development of the Internet, changing demographics, and the rise of episodic heavy alcohol consumption and street gangs.

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A cure for crime? Psycho-pharmaceuticals and crime trends

Dave Marcotte & Sara Markowitz
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper we consider possible links between the diffusion of new pharmaceuticals used for treating mental illness and crime rates. We describe recent trends in crime and review the evidence showing that mental illness is a clear risk factor both for criminal behavior and victimization. We summarize the development of a number of new pharmaceutical therapies for the treatment of mental illness that came into wide use during the "great American crime decline." We examine limited international data, as well as more detailed American data, to assess the relationship between rates of prescriptions of psychotropic drugs and crime rates, while controlling for other factors that may explain trends in crime rates. Using state-level variation in the rates that various drug therapies disperse within populations to identify impacts on crime rates, we find some evidence that the expansion of psychiatric drugs is associated with decreased violent crime rates, but not property crime rates. We find no robust impacts on homicide rates and no effects on arrest rates. Further, the magnitudes of the estimated effects of expanded drug treatment on violent crime are small. Our estimates imply that about 5 percent of the decline in crime during the period of our study was due to expanded mental health treatment.

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Support for religio-political aggression among teenaged boys in Gaza: Part II: Neuroendocrinological findings

Jeff Victoroff et al.
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hormones seem to play important roles in the regulation of human aggression. Multiple studies have confirmed that testosterone (T) levels exhibit complex relationships with aggression, dominance, and/or risk-taking behavior. Some evidence suggests that cortisol (CORT) interacts with T and may also be associated with aspects of mood and aggression. However, almost no research to date has investigated the possibility that these neuroendocrine factors are associated with variations in political attitudes or with political aggression. During the second intifada, we tested the hypothesis that morning salivary T and/or salivary CORT levels might be associated with self-rated aggression or with support for religio-political aggression (RPA) among 14-year-old Palestinian boys living in Gaza. We obtained and averaged weekly 09:00 hr salivary measures of T and CORT for more than 1 month. Averaged morning T levels did not correlate with self-rated aggression, but were positively associated with agreement with the statement "religious ends justify any means," (r = .355, P = .014) and marginally associated with a composite measure of support for RPA (r = .247, P = .094). Average CORT levels were inversely correlated with self-rated aggression (r = -.328, P = .037) and with anger (r = -.373, P = .016), but CORT levels were not associated with support for RPA or with the statement "religious ends justify any means." Acknowledging that a modest sample size and methodological issues necessarily limit confidence in our conclusions, these results may represent the first findings regarding neurobiological correlates of support for political aggression.

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Evaluating the generalizability of a fear deficit in psychopathic African American offenders

Arielle Baskin-Sommers, Joseph Newman, Nina Sathasivam & John Curtin
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laboratory studies of psychopathy have yielded an impressive array of etiologically relevant findings. To date, however, attempts to demonstrate the generalizability of these findings to African American psychopathic offenders have been largely unsuccessful. The fear deficit has long been regarded as the hallmark of psychopathy, yet the generalizability of this association to African American offenders has not been systematically evaluated. In this study, we used an instructed fear paradigm and fear-potentiated startle to assess this deficit and the factors that moderate its expression in African American offenders. Furthermore, we conceptualized psychopathy using both a unitary and a two-factor model, and we assessed the constructs with both interview-based and self-report measures. Regardless of assessment strategy, results provided no evidence that psychopathy relates to fear deficits in African American offenders. Further research is needed to clarify whether the emotion deficits associated with psychopathy in European American offenders are applicable to African American offenders.

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What gives victims satisfaction when they seek revenge?

Mario Gollwitzer, Milena Meder & Manfred Schmitt
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present paper aims to elucidate under what conditions victims of injustice who seek revenge feel satisfied and perceive that everybody got what he or she deserved. Two hypotheses are discussed: The comparative suffering hypothesis states that seeing the offender suffer from fate is sufficient for evoking satisfaction and perceptions of deservingness among victims. The understanding hypothesis states that revenge can only be satisfactory when the offender understands it as a response to his or her prior behavior. These hypotheses were tested in three experimental studies. The comparative suffering hypothesis received only weak support. The understanding hypothesis, on the other hand, received much stronger support: When the offender understood revenge as punishment, revenge led to satisfaction and deservingness among victims. These findings are discussed with regard to the question why people take revenge.

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Media depictions of physical and relational aggression: Connections with aggression in young adults' romantic relationships

Sarah Coyne, David Nelson, Nicola Graham-Kevan, Emily Tew, Nathan Meng & Joseph Olsen
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Various studies have found that viewing physical or relational aggression in the media can impact subsequent engagement in aggressive behavior. However, this has rarely been examined in the context of relationships. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to examine the connection between viewing various types of aggression in the media and perpetration of aggression against a romantic partner. A total of 369 young adults completed a variety of questionnaires asking for their perpetration of various forms of relationship aggression. Participants' exposure to both physical and relational aggression in the media was also assessed. As a whole, we found a relationship between viewing aggression in the media and perpetration of aggression; however, this depended on the sex of the participant and the type of aggression measured. Specifically, exposure to physical violence in the media was related to engagement in physical aggression against their partner only for men. However, exposure to relational aggression in the media was related to romantic relational aggression for both men and women.


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