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Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology Sixth Edition. By Andrew Karmen Chapter Four: Violent Crimes: Murders and Robberies . Using UCR to Analyze Murders.

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Crime Victims: An Introduction to VictimologySixth Edition

By Andrew Karmen

Chapter Four:

Violent Crimes: Murders and Robberies

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Using UCR to Analyze Murders

  • Data comes from Supplemental Homicide Report (SHR)—age, sex, race of victim and age, sex, race, motive, weapon and relationship of accused

  • Homicide—Killing of one human being by another—Accidents, carelessness, suicides are NOT homicides

  • Justifiable Homicide—use of deadly force in self defense

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Using UCR to Analyze Murders

  • Capital Offenses (Death Penalty)—Premeditation, intent, killing certain people—state based law

  • Heat of Passion—results in second degree murder, manslaughter—voluntary or involuntary

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Using UCR to Analyze Murders

  • Profile or Statistical Portrait (2004)

    • Most Murders—Male on Male

    • 90% of Female Murders by Males

    • Most Murders Not Interracial—intraracial

    • 49% Victims were white

    • 48% Victims were black

    • Majority killed by use of firearms

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Using UCR to Analyze Murders

  • Relationships in Homicides (1990-2001)

    • Family—12-14%

    • Friend or Acquaintance—29-38%

    • Strangers—13-15%

    • Unknown or unsolved—35-45%

    • Victims killed by complete strangers most likely charged with most serious of charges—Capital Homicide

    • Those killed during an argument or by an acquaintance—less harsh charges

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Searching for Crime Waves

  • Trends refer to changes that occur over long period of time—not just one year

    Homicide Rate Trends—1900-2004: See Figure 4.1, Page 64

    Aggravated Assault Rate Trends important to review as involve attacks or threats with deadly weapon—Figure 4.2, Page 65

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Searching for Crime Waves

  • Trends in Robbery Rates—Figure 4.3, Page 67

  • Conclusion of Violent Crime Rates

    • Dramatically decreased from early 90s

    • Interpersonal violence NOT out of control

    • Future is unsure

    • Victims of interpersonal violence not growing as rapidly as 60s-80s

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Robberies Turn Into Homicides?

  • Your Money or Your Life

    • Table 4.1, Page 68 reflects murders where robbery was motive—decreased 4% from 1980 to 2004

    • 1/5 of 1% of those accosted are murdered

    • When armed offender declares, “Your money or your life”—statistics say, give him the money

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Differential Risks

  • How frequently murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults are committed against “average Americans,” and how often “typical households” suffer burglaries and motor vehicle thefts

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Differential Risks

  • Differential Risks of being Murdered in U.S. in 2004 was 5.5 per 100,000

  • Murder rates vary by geographical location

    • Highest in South and lowest in Northeast

  • Murder Rates by U.S. Cities: Figure 4.4, Page 70

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Murder Rate Data—2004

  • More than ¾ are males

  • Ten years of age, least likely

  • 25 years of age, most likely

  • African Americans most likely

  • Asian Americans least likely

  • Profile (Greatest Risk)—southerners, urban males, age 18-24 and African American

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International Comparisons

  • Two Main Sources of Data

    1. United Nations

    World Health Organization (WHO)—Tracks Homicides and Sets Standards for Reporting

    2. International Police Organization (INTERPOL)

    Provides Data—See Table 4.2, Page 72

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Assessing Comparative Risks

Criminal Event vs. Accident/Illness—See Table 4.4, Page 74


1. Leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, and stroke

2. More died from accidents than homicides

3. More people took their own life than lost life through lethal violence

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  • Robbery combines stealing with extortion or outright violence

  • Completed Robberies—face-to-face confrontations in which perpetrators take something of value directly from victims against their will by either force or by threats of violence

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  • Five stages of typical robbery

    • 1. Planning

    • 2. Establishing co-presence

    • 3. Developing co-orientation

    • 4. Transferring valuables

    • 5. Leaving

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Using NCVS to Analyze Robberies

  • More information available about victims and the events using NCVS

    • Primary motive is theft—38% of attempts unsuccessful

    • 62% complete strangers

    • 50% assailants unarmed

    • 38% likely to be wounded—1 of 8 seriously

    • 88% of victims attempted to resist

    • Forceful resistance reduced monetary loss but increased likelihood of more severe injury

    • Differential risks noted in Table 4.5, Page 79

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Projecting Cumulative Risks

  • Annual crime rates represent the “rare events” of crime to Americans

  • Cumulative risks represent the likelihood of occurrence over a lifetime or 60 years

    • At least one theft but more likely 3 or more

    • 8% of females raped—Black females 11%

    • 30% robbed

      See Table 4.6, Page 82

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Determinants of Differential Risks

  • Attractiveness

  • Proximity

  • Vulnerability

    • Routine Activities—interactions of three variables described above

    • Lifestyle—how and where people spend their time and money at work and leisure

    • Deviant place factor—exact locations where predators prowl for victims—Hot Spots

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Reducing Risks: How Safe is Safe Enough?

  • Balance between safety and risk is a personal decision—a value judgment

  • Cost-Benefit vs. Risk-Benefit Analysis

  • Ambivalence about risk-taking in U.S.

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From Crime Prevention to Victimization Prevention

  • Risk Reduction Activities

    • Avoidance strategies—actions taken to limit exposure to dangerous persons and frightening situations—don’t walk alone, carry a weapon

    • Target Hardening—using locks, fences, surveillance systems, using lights, trimming down bushes

    • Crime Conscious—personal responsibility to keep out of trouble

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From Crime Prevention to Victimization Prevention

  • Valve Theory of Crime Shifts—predicts that target hardening strategies will not reduce criminal events, only displace them to other locations

  • May decrease victimization rates for some while increasing victimization rates for others

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Criminals as Victims

  • Equivalent Group Explanations

    • Theory postulates that offenders select their victims from their own circles of adversaries, acquaintances, and even former friends

    • Victims who engage in certain high-risk deviant lifestyles viewed in a less-than-sympathetic light

      • Drug scene deaths

      • Drive-by shootings

      • Binge drinking situations

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Deterrence Theory Applied to Victims

  • Classical School of Free Will or Rational Choice Theory notes would-be offenders deterred by prospects of apprehension, conviction, and punishment

  • Does this same theory apply to victims?

  • Do 1st time victims learn their lesson?

  • More Research is needed to answer