Sara K. Thompson
Most criminological theory and research on the black homicide victimization is grounded in the American context, which raises important generalizability issues given the exceptional level of lethal violence that is used as the standard in this inquiry. This case study examines the social and spatial distribution of black homicide victimization in Toronto, Ontario, Canada between 1988 and 2003. Results suggest that, as in American cities, blacks in Toronto are over-represented as homicide victims and offenders, but there are important differences in the spatial distribution and ecological correlates of this violence. These findings highlight the importance of cross-national research when investigating the generalizability of findings from U.S.-based research on racially disaggregated homicide rates.
This article discusses key methodological issues that are germane to understanding some of the parameters for developing a sound knowledge base on temporal crime patterns. It then surveys the landscape of what we currently know, focusing initially on the description and explanation of crime trends in the United States and elsewhere through the late 1950s, then addressing comparable themes since that time, which are labeled as the “contemporary period”. The concluding section outlines directions for future research.
Jacob Stowell and Stephanie DiPietro
Despite a substantial increase in scholarly attention to immigration and crime at both individual and aggregate levels, important gaps in knowledge remain. Much work has focused on the criminal behavior of immigrants, and comparatively little on their victimization. Given political controversies about immigration law reform, the dearth of research on immigrants as crime victims is a critical omission. A comprehensive review of the literature shows no association between increases in the size of the foreign-born population and increased risks to public safety. Analyses of the comparative homicide risks for foreign-born people compared with the American population generally, and for immigrant groups of different national origins, for 1994–2004, a period of exponential growth in the foreign-born population, reveal a number of interesting patterns with respect to immigrant homicide victimization patterns, both between groups and over time.
Exploring the methods behind sexual violence estimates: The Composition and Findings from National and International Surveys
Bonnie S. Fisher and Heidi L. Scherer
This essay documents the innovations that have been made to improve measuring the scope and dimensions of sexual violence over the last four decades. How sexual violence has been defined and operationalized and methodological factors (e.g., context, two-stage measurement process, question wording, reference period, and mode of administration) are compared and contrasted for several national-level victimization data sources. This essay explores the development of a number of national and international surveys designed to estimate the scope and dimensions of different types of sexual violence. This essay also includes a cross-national examination of sexual violence rates focusing on both differences and similarities across countries, concluding with a discussion of unresolved measurement issues. It also provides thoughts on future directions in measuring sexual violence.
Alex R. Piquero and Douglas B. Weiss
This article gives an overview of the heterogeneity observed in delinquency and criminal careers. It begins with a discussion of the classic age–crime relationship, which has formed the basis for much of the theoretical, empirical, and policy discussion regarding crime and criminals. Following this, it discusses the criminal career framework that parcels the longitudinal patterning of criminal offending into different dimensions, and overviews the theories it helped to generate. Furthermore, the article reviews some of the key empirical investigations that have assessed hypotheses emerging from these theories. It then highlights several promising future research directions that are anticipated to help fill some of the gaps in understanding the heterogeneity among offenders. It concludes with a brief discussion about the policy implications emerging from theoretical and empirical literature surrounding offender heterogeneity.
Luca Berardi and Sandra Bucerius
The literature on generational differences in crime and victimization in the United States and Western Europe reveals striking variations in patterns within and across racial and ethnic groups. By the turn of the twentieth century, scholars had already begun to disaggregate offending patterns across immigrant generations. Findings can be disaggregated by crime (e.g., homicide, violent crime, delinquency, and substance abuse) and types of victimization (e.g., nonfatal and fatal). Among the challenges in measuring generational differences in crime among immigrant populations are a shortage of available data that accounts for generational status, definitional issues with key terms such as “immigrant” and “native-born,” and both the need to and difficulties in disaggregating data by race, ethnicity, and types of crime.
Juvenile Delinquents and Juvenile Justice Clientele: Trends and Patterns in Crime and Justice System Response
Howard N. Snyder
This article presents an empirically based profile of the law violating behavior of youth and the juvenile justice system's response to such behaviors over the last generation. It begins with documenting trends in juvenile violent crime and drug abuse behavior using reports on or by victims and juvenile offender self-reports. Following this, it discusses trends in juvenile law-violating behaviors known to law enforcement using arrest statistics. The juvenile justice system's response to law-violating behavior is not a mechanical process. The article also explores trends in the juvenile justice system's responses to these officially recognized behaviors. The statistical resources used to build this picture have unique characteristics that need to be understood to interpret the findings properly. Finally, it mentions the decision makers that play a role in deciding whether or not juvenile crime trends mirror juvenile arrest, juvenile court referral, and juvenile out-of-home placement trends.
Ramiro Martinez and Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco
Recent population changes, public anxieties, and political concerns about foreign-born newcomers have brought studies of immigration and crime to the forefront of criminological theory, policy, and research. A burgeoning body of research examines the effects of immigration on crime and patterned differences in criminality between immigrants and the native-born. A number of influential theoretical frameworks can be drawn upon to formulate predictions that immigrants are likely to commit a disproportionate amount of crime. The specialized literature provides data that supports the opposite conclusions—that immigration does not increase crime and that new immigrants have lower crime rates than native-born residents. More research examining the indirect effects of immigration is needed. However, immigrants rarely commit a disproportionate amount of crime. Politicians’ claims that immigration exacerbates crime problems lack empirically basis.
Louise Grove and Graham Farrell
This article introduces the concept of repeat victimization, which is defined as the repeated criminal victimization of a person, business, place, vehicle, household, etc. Four decades worth of research determine that most crimes are repeats of some kind, and that crime is not randomly distributed. It states that the evidence strongly suggests that avoiding repeat victimization can be an effective crime-prevention strategy. It then considers the effectiveness of former efforts to prevent repeat victimization and looks at how prevention efforts were developed and subsequently implemented.
Despite the serious policy implications of research on the influence of race and ethnicity on crime, definitions and measurements of these constructs vary across the major sources of crime data. Important generalizations can nonetheless be drawn. Overall, Native Americans, blacks, and Latinos are more likely to be affected by crime than are whites and Asians. There is much scholarly debate on the causes of these differences, partly centering on methodological differences between data sources. Two central issues—definitions and measurements of race and ethnicity in major crime data sources and the lasting effect of these methodological variations on theoretical explanations aimed at understanding their connection—need to be much better understood.