Causes and correlates of crime by hilen

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									  Causes and Correlates of Crime
• Classical theory
    – Hobbes and Free Will
    – Beccaria and deterent (specific and general)
    – Bentham and the hedonistic calculus
• Positivist theory
    –   Francis Bacon
    –   Attempts to discover root causes of crime
    –   Thus is deterministic---no free will
    –   Biological, sociological and (to lesser extent) psychological
• Positivist approaches have generally failed to determine causes of
• Have noted some “risk factors” however
              Biological Positivism
• Implies some biological factor forces individuals to engage in crime
• Criminals may think they are choosing to engage in crime, but free will
  is an illusion
    – If it is an illusion why does it exist?
• Most theories tend to focus on:
    – Genetics
    – Hormones
    – Neurotransmitters and brain function

• However, to date, no biological cause for crime has conclusively been
  empirically validated to explain all crime
• C. Lombroso (late 1800s) suggests criminals are
  less evolved
   – both male and female criminals have “ape-like”
     physical characteristics
   – not empirically valid, but still influencial
• Many people think they can still “spot” a criminal.
   – Elevator studies
• Children‟s play behavior and testosterone (Auyeung et al., 2009)
• Does testosterone in males (or females for that matter) cause crime.
    –   Makes sense given lower female crime
    –   Men in prison have higher testosterone levels
    –   hockey players
    –   BUT, they also have higher adrenaline and cortisol levels
         • Do adrenaline and cortisol cause crime---no.
    – Is is quite possible (and I argue more likely) that Crime causes increases
      in testosterone levels, much as it does with adrenaline or cortisol.
         • Physical functions and stress
• However:
    –   Most men are not criminals
    –   A good percentage (15%+) of violent criminals are females
    –   Depo-Provera for sex-offenders
    –   Generally not believed that testosterone causes crime, per se
• Jacob‟s Syndrome: A genetic disorder which
  pretty much has no symptoms.
• Was once thought was linked with crime.
• Richard Speck
• However, most criminals do not have XYY (not
  even at a higher % than general population).
• This theory has been discredited
                       Richard Speck
• July 14, 1966 8 nurses raped and killed
    – Forces his way in while 5 are home at gunpoint
    – 1 returns from drinking
    – ties them up, takes them 1 by 1
• 2 nurses return home--these find him raping Pamela Wilkening
    – stabs and strangles them
         • Suzanne Farris stabbed 18 times
         • Mary Ann Jordon stabbed in chest, neck and eye
    – Finishes Wilkening with a stab to the heart
• Nina Schmael is next
    – Her neck is broken, and stabbed rituatlistically
• Valentina Pasion
    – Slits her throat through the voicebox
         Richard Speck continued
• Merlita Gargullo
    – raped for 30 mins, then stabbed and strangled
• Pat Matusek
    – takes her to the bathroom + asks “Are you the girl in the yellow dress?”
    – ruptures liver + strangles her
• Cora Amurao--has been hiding + is a witness
• Gloria Davey, raped while unconscious
• With Amurao‟s testimony Speck is convicted + sentences to life
    – 1 appeal involves the XYY defense
• hormone treatment
                Biology and Women
• Alternate theories have argued that women are essentially irrational
  and thus not able to be held responsible for their behavior during:
     –   PMS (Dalton)
     –   Puberty
     –   Menopause
     –   Post-Partum
• All of these theories have been discredited empirically:
     – Ex. Overpeck and Post-Partum
•   Hormones can influence some motivations (ex. Testosterone and sex drive)
• Do hormones force us to behave in a particular manner?
     – That‟s probably going too far, but it is a convenient rationalization
     – also expectancy effects
        Brain Function and Crime
• Brain function is a more reasonable hypothetical link with crime than
  is hormones
• Robert Hare
• Brain tumors
• Charles Whitman
    – 16/30
    – brain tumor in hypothalamus
• But most criminals do not have brain tumors
• Unlikely any general brain chem cause
                  IQ and crime
• Do the less intelligent commit more crimes
• What IS intelligence?
• Influence of Lombroso
• Bell Curve (Herrnstein & Murray)
   – Criminals have average IQ of 92
   – However, other studies suggest psychopaths have high
• Could be that low IQ criminals more likely to get caught
              Sociology and Crime
• Sociological theories generally suggest that society is the cause of
• Thus criminals are “normal people in an abnormal world”
    – This contradicts a wealth of empirical evidence
• Strain Theory
    – goals
    – frustration
    – crime
• However, American “poor” are not that poor
    – poor in other countries
• Most crime is within class
• White collar crime
             Economics and Crime
• Economic deprivation linked with crime
    – correlation between crime and US economy
    – general trend across nations
• However, this does not explain difference between countries
    – ex. England and US
• Opportunities and crime
    – people with low opportunities at greater risk
    – however “opportunity” programs don‟t work
• Racial Disparity
• Freakonomics
• Does pornography lead to violence
   – Dworkin suggests pornography leads to violence against women
   – most research suggests that depictions of consensual sex does not
   – Violent (rape) pornography--weak temporary effects
       • Effects less consistent than some scholars have claimed
           – e.g. Malamuth & Ceniti, 1986

• Unlikely pornography causes violence
   – No surprise that sex criminals enjoy violent pornography
   – Does pornography reduce rape? (Diamond & Uchiyama, 1999)
• But we seem to favor external attributions for crime
• Also provides convenient rationalization
• Ex. Ted Bundy
                     Ted Bundy
•   Perhaps most famous American serial killer
•   Mom/Grandparents charade
•   1967 Stephanie Brooks
•   1973 Kathy Devine/ Joni Lenz --strangled, sodomized,
    throat cut
•   Jan 1974 Lynda Healy---vanishes, bloody mattress
•   7 more girls go missing--books/cast trick
•   August „74--pieces of Janis Ott and Denise Nashlund are
•   Oct 31--Laura Aime disappears…beaten in face w/
                      Bundy con‟t
•   Moves from Washington to Oregon to Utah
•   Nov „74 Carol DaRonch escapes “security officer”
•   Debbie Kent disappears that same night---find handcuff key
•   Jan „75 Caryn Campbell disappears from CO. Found a month later,
    nude skull crushed.
•   Upwards of 20 women disappear between 4 states
•   Bundy apprehended for speeding---evidence in car
•   Feb „76 first trial (for kidnapping of Carol DaRonch)
•   Convicted---sentenced to 15 years
•   April 1977, tried for murder, takes over his own defense
•   is allowed unsupervised time in the courthouse.
                              Bundy 3
• Escapes from courthouse
• Is captured, but escapes again 7 months later
• Chi Omega House at FSU
    – 2 women beaten about the skull‟
    – Lisa Levy, beaten with log, bitten, raped with hairspray bottle
    – Margaret Bowman, skull split and brain exposed
• Kimberly Leach (12 y.o.) last victim, decomposed body found 2
  months later
• Bundy apprehended in stolen VW.
• 1978 tried for murder of Kim Leach
• Perhaps as many as 36 victims in total
                         Bundy 4
•   Convicted on eyewitness testimony and bite marks
•   Sentenced to death
•   Body count attempts
•   Pornography “defence”
•   Marriage
•   Executed 1989
•   What role does pornography play in violent crime?
     – Non-violent porn
     – Violent porn and slasher films (Fisher & Grenier, 1994)
          Mental Illness and Crime
• Do the Mentally Ill commit more crimes?
     – Nuisance crimes
     – violence
• Insanity Vs. Mental Illnesses
     – Most Mental illnesses do not imply loss of rational thought
     – M‟Naughton rule
•   However mental illness accounts for a small % of crime
•   Schizophrenia
•   Delusional Disorder
•   Substance Abuse (not a causal relationship)
•   “Compulsion” to commit violence
       Substance Abuse & Crime
• Substance abuse (particularly alcohol, cocaine, heroin, & PCP) linked
  with crime
• A good percentage of criminals intoxicated during their crimes:
    – property felons
    – spousal murder
• Does substance abuse cause crime: Probably not.
• Acts as a rationalization for many criminals (expectancies)
              No EtOH                  No EtOH
              thinks no EtOH        Thinks EtOH

              EtOH                 EtOH
              Thinks no ETOH Thinks EtOH
• Significant disturbance in perceptions, mood and rational cognitions
    – hallucinations and delusions
• contrary to what you might hear schizophrenics do tend to be more
• However, this is often in keeping with paranoid delusions
• Crimes tend to be “disorganized”
    –   spontaneous
    –   poorly planned and executed (messy, much evidence)
    –   little attempt to “hide” crime
    –   Blitz attackes
                Delusional disorder
• 1* symptom is “non-bizarre” delusion
    – erotomanic
    – paranoid
    – jealous
• Erotomanics and stalking
    – Sarah MacLaughlan
    – Rebecca Shaffer
    – John Hinkley
• Paranoids and terrorism
    – Militia
• Jealous and domestic murder
           Bipolar and Depression
• Bipolar sometimes hypothesized as link with crime, however:
    – correlations are weak
    – perhaps misdiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder
    – more likely to engage in self-damaging behaviors
• Depression and crime
    – Criminals are typically not happy campers
    – However depression does not cause crime
    – Stress and depression may help trigger incidents of crime in those who are
      already predisposed (ex. Antisocials and borderlines)
    – social support, suicide and homicide
• Insanity defenses typically not accepted by juries…usually for good
    – Used in less than 1% of cases, only 25% successful when used
• Females more likely to be acquitted for reasons of mental defect
Role of the Forensic Psychologist
• Evaluation
  – NGI (Culpability)
  – IST
  – Risk Assessment
     •   HCR-20
     •   VRAGS
     •   Very tough to do
     •   Prosenjit Poddar and Tatiana Tarasoff

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