Domestic disturbance

Kevin Lewis

November 10, 2017

Governing Through Police? Housing Market Reliance, Welfare Retrenchment, and Police Budgeting in an Era of Declining Crime
Brenden Beck & Adam Goldstein
Social Forces, forthcoming


The United States witnessed a dramatic expansion of the penal state from the 1970s to the Great Recession of 2008. One key puzzle is why penal state growth continued unabated long after crime levels peaked in the early 1990s. We focus on local policing and consider the relationship between growing city-level law enforcement expenditures and two shifts: first, the move toward an economy increasingly organized around residential real estate; and second, city-level welfare retrenchment. We argue that increasing economic reliance on housing price appreciation during the late 1990s and the 2000s heightened demand for expanded law enforcement even as actual risks of crime victimization fell. At the same time, cities increasingly addressed social problems through criminal justice — rather than social service — capacities. We assess these arguments using a dataset of 171 cities’ police expenditures between 1992 and 2010. Results of a dynamic panel model indicate that places with more pronounced reliance on housing price growth and mortgage investment exhibited correspondingly greater growth of local law enforcement, as did places with decreased social service spending.

Policing in a Largely Minority Jurisdiction: The Influence of Appearance Characteristics Associated with Contemporary Hip-Hop Culture on Police Decision-Making
Dean Dabney et al.
Justice Quarterly, October 2017, Pages 1310-1338


To date, the main lines of inquiry on the topic of policing bias have relied upon the operationalization of simple interracial/ethnic distinctions to determine if Black or Brown citizens receive disproportionately harsh treatment compared to Whites in a jurisdiction. Failing that, ecological models have been applied, built around the notion of territorial learning or “out-of-place” policing, meaning that the police more aggressively target racial minorities in areas where they are unexpected to be inhabitants. This study seeks to take the inquiry to a more refined level, examining the sorts of legal and extra-legal factors that account for within-race discretionary outcomes. Drawing upon ride-along data gathered in a largely African American metropolitan jurisdiction in the Southeast, we show that extralegal appearance factors associated with the contemporary hip-hop culture (i.e. dreadlocks, cornrows, afros, braids, gold teeth, saggy pants) are predictive of more severe formal outcomes imposed by officers than other relevant predictors. We ground this research in the police discretion and implicit bias literature to better inform theory and practice.

In-State and Interstate Associations Between Gun Shows and Firearm Deaths and Injuries: A Quasi-experimental Study
Ellicott Matthay et al.
Annals of Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Measurements: Gun shows in California and Nevada between 2005 and 2013 (n = 915 shows) and rates of firearm-related deaths, emergency department visits, and inpatient hospitalizations in California.

Results: Compared with the 2 weeks before, postshow firearm injury rates remained stable in regions near California gun shows but increased from 0.67 injuries (95% CI, 0.55 to 0.80 injuries) to 1.14 injuries (CI, 0.97 to 1.30 injuries) per 100 000 persons in regions near Nevada shows. After adjustment for seasonality and clustering, California shows were not associated with increases in local firearm injuries (rate ratio [RR], 0.99 [CI, 0.97 to 1.02]) but Nevada shows were associated with increased injuries in California (RR, 1.69 [CI, 1.16 to 2.45]). The pre–post difference was significantly higher for Nevada shows than California shows (ratio of RRs, 1.70 [CI, 1.17 to 2.47]). The Nevada association was driven by significant increases in firearm injuries from interpersonal violence (RR, 2.23 [CI, 1.01 to 4.89]) but corresponded to a small increase in absolute numbers. Nonfirearm injuries served as a negative control and were not associated with California or Nevada gun shows. Results were robust to sensitivity analyses.

Conclusion: Gun shows in Nevada, but not California, were associated with local, short-term increases in firearm injuries in California. Differing associations for California versus Nevada gun shows may be due to California's stricter firearm regulations.

The Effect of Indoor Prostitution on Sex Crime: Evidence from New York City
Riccardo Ciacci & María Micaela Sviatschi
Columbia University Working Paper, November 2016


We use a unique data set to study the effect of indoor prostitution establishments on sex crimes. We built a daily panel from January 1, 2004 to June 30, 2012 with the exact location of police stops for sex crimes and the day of opening and location of indoor prostitution establishments. We find that indoor prostitution decreases sex crime with no effect on other types of crime. We argue that the reduction is mostly driven by potential sex offenders that become customers of indoor prostitution establishments. We also rule out other mechanisms such as an increase in the number of police officers and a reduction of potential victims in areas where these businesses opened. In addition, results are robust to different data sources and measures of sex crimes apart from police stops.

General population estimates of the association between college experience and the odds of forced intercourse
William George Axinn, Maura Elaine Bardos & Brady Thomas West
Social Science Research, forthcoming


Sexual assault on college campuses is a pervasive problem, recently receiving increased scientific and policy attention. However, the high focus on college student experience ignores general population prevalence, trends, and differences between those with college experience and those without. We analyze measures from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to provide a general population view of experiences with forced intercourse. Forced intercourse is a common experience in the U.S. population, has remained stable in recent years, and varies greatly by gender, age and race. The odds of forced intercourse are also significantly higher among those with less than four years of college. This ubiquitous public health problem is not limited to college campuses. Measures from the NSFG are an important resource for understanding population rates of (and trends in) forced intercourse, providing information to guide interventions and better target scientific investigation.

Narcissism, Fame Seeking, and Mass Shootings
Brad Bushman
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming


For many years, the conventional wisdom was that most acts of aggression and violence stem from insecurities and low self-esteem. The possibility that some mass shooters have low self-esteem, low self-worth, or painful personal insecurities should not lead us to overlook another more likely possibility: that a significant number of mass shooters may have large egos and narcissistic tendencies. This article will (a) describe the psychological concepts of narcissism and narcissistic traits; (b) review previous research on links between narcissism, aggression, and violence; (c) review evidence that some mass shooters exhibit narcissistic traits; and (d) discuss the implications of narcissistic mass shooters for society and the media coverage of their shooting rampages.

Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime
Patrick Sharkey, Gerard Torrats-Espinosa & Delaram Takyar
American Sociological Review, forthcoming


Largely overlooked in the theoretical and empirical literature on the crime decline is a long tradition of research in criminology and urban sociology that considers how violence is regulated through informal sources of social control arising from residents and organizations internal to communities. In this article, we incorporate the “systemic” model of community life into debates on the U.S. crime drop, and we focus on the role that local nonprofit organizations played in the national decline of violence from the 1990s to the 2010s. Using longitudinal data and a strategy to account for the endogeneity of nonprofit formation, we estimate the causal effect on violent crime of nonprofits focused on reducing violence and building stronger communities. Drawing on a panel of 264 cities spanning more than 20 years, we estimate that every 10 additional organizations focusing on crime and community life in a city with 100,000 residents leads to a 9 percent reduction in the murder rate, a 6 percent reduction in the violent crime rate, and a 4 percent reduction in the property crime rate.

A field experiment of the impact of body-worn cameras (BWCs) on police officer behavior and perceptions
Andrea Headley, Rob Guerette & Auzeen Shariati
Journal of Criminal Justice, November 2017, Pages 102–109


Amidst the backdrop of considerable citizen unrest in the U.S. stemming from perceived injustices within police-citizen interactions in recent years, many government leaders have relied on the use of body-worn cameras as a means of improving citizen relations. The promise of body-worn cameras is that they might improve officer and citizen behavior given the possibility of retrospective and independent determinations of the appropriateness of behaviors which occur within police-citizen encounters. While the emerging evaluation evidence of their usefulness have been generally promising, overall determinations remain incomplete. Using a partial randomized experimental design, this study evaluated the impact of a test pilot program of body-worn camera use by the Hallandale Beach, Florida Police Department in the U.S. to determine their impact on police officer behavior and perceptions. Findings revealed that officers with BWCs 1) relied on less intrusive methods to resolve incidents, 2) continued to be active rather than abstaining from community contact, and 3) officer perceptions of the usefulness of BWCs remained pessimistic. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.

Fade-out versus persistence effects: The Rialto police body-worn camera experiment four years on
Alex Sutherland et al.
Journal of Criminal Justice, November 2017, Pages 110-116

Methods: This study reports the results from a three-year post-experimental follow-up from the world's first randomized controlled trial of police body-worn cameras.

Results: The results show that initial falls in rates of complaints against police and police use of force during arrest were sustained during the four years following the cameras being introduced.

The Results of CODIS-Hit Investigations in a Sample of Cases With Unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits
William Wells, Ashley Fansher & Bradley Campbell
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming


The use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence in criminal cases, especially exonerations, has received high levels of public and media attention. Studies show DNA evidence can have a significant effect on case outcomes, whereas other studies have found that police investigators rarely use DNA. Coupled with work in many cities to test large numbers of older sexual assault kits, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) holds great promise for holding offenders accountable. Despite the potential value of DNA evidence, few studies have measured case processing after forensic matches have been made. This study examines investigation outcomes following DNA testing and forensic matches in a sample of previously untested sexual assault kits in the Houston Police Department. Of 104 CODIS-hit cases, one case resulted in new charges.

Handgun waiting periods reduce gun deaths
Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra & Christopher Poliquin
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming


Handgun waiting periods are laws that impose a delay between the initiation of a purchase and final acquisition of a firearm. We show that waiting periods, which create a “cooling off” period among buyers, significantly reduce the incidence of gun violence. We estimate the impact of waiting periods on gun deaths, exploiting all changes to state-level policies in the Unites States since 1970. We find that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%. We provide further support for the causal impact of waiting periods on homicides by exploiting a natural experiment resulting from a federal law in 1994 that imposed a temporary waiting period on a subset of states.

Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States
Michael Siegel et al.
American Journal of Public Health, December 2017, Pages 1923-1929

Methods: We compared homicide rates in shall-issue and may-issue states and total, firearm, nonfirearm, handgun, and long-gun homicide rates in all 50 states during the 25-year period of 1991 to 2015. We included year and state fixed effects and numerous state-level factors in the analysis.

Results: Shall-issue laws were significantly associated with 6.5% higher total homicide rates, 8.6% higher firearm homicide rates, and 10.6% higher handgun homicide rates, but were not significantly associated with long-gun or nonfirearm homicide.

The weapons effect on wheels: Motorists drive more aggressively when there is a gun in the vehicle
Brad Bushman et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2017, Pages 82-85


In discussions about guns, one factor rarely considered is the fact that merely seeing a gun can increase aggression. This effect — called the “weapons effect” — was first demonstrated in a 1967 study, and has been replicated many times since then. The present experiment used a driving simulator to provide a novel test of the weapons effect. One of the most dangerous activities people engage in is driving a vehicle, and survey studies indicate that driving might be more dangerous if there is a gun in the vehicle. In this experiment, participants (N = 60) were randomly assigned to drive a frustrating driving scenario with a gun or a tennis racket in the vehicle's passenger seat. Participants drove more aggressively when there was a gun in the vehicle than when there was a tennis racket in the vehicle. These findings suggest that the mere presence of a gun can make drivers more aggressive.

Cognitive Decline as a Result of Incarceration and the Effects of a CBT/MT Intervention: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Rebecca Umbach, Adrian Raine & Noelle Leonard
Criminal Justice and Behavior, forthcoming


This study primarily tests whether incarceration negatively affects cognitive functioning; namely, emotion regulation, cognitive control, and emotion recognition. As a secondary interest, we test protective effects of a cognitive behavioral therapy/mindfulness training (CBT/MT) intervention. Dormitories containing 197 incarcerated males aged 16 to 18 years were randomly assigned to either a CBT/MT program or an active control condition. A cognitive task was administered pretreatment and again 4 months later, upon treatment completion. Performance on all outcome variables was significantly worse at follow-up compared with baseline. There were marginally significant group by time interactions. While the control group performance significantly declined in both cognitive control and emotion regulation, the CBT/MT group showed no significant decline in either outcome. This is the first study to probe the effects of incarceration on these three processes. Findings suggest that incarceration worsens a known risk factor for crime (cognitive functioning), and that a CBT/MT intervention may help buffer against declines.


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