Criminology, School of

Receive updates for this collection

A Robust Measure to Uncover Collective Brokers in Illicit Networks

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2022-06-18
Abstract: 

Objectives Brokers are said to be the oiling chain of illicit networks, facilitating the efficient flow of illicit products to destination. Yet, most of the available brokerage measures focus on local or individual networks, missing the brokers who connect others across communities, such as market levels. This study introduces a robust measure that uncovers, scores, and positions these community brokers.

Methods We used network data aggregated from numerous investigations related to 1,800 criminal entrepreneurs operating in Western Canada. After uncovering the communities using the Leiden algorithm, we developed a community brokerage score that assesses individual potential reach and control at the meso level, and that accounts for individual position changes due to different community structures. We examined how the score relates to brokerage and structural hole measures as well as seriousness of involvement in criminality.

Results We found that the illicit network studied has a strong and stable community structure, and community brokers form about 9% of the population. The score developed is statistically robust and is not strongly related to network and structural hole measures, which confirms the need for a novel measure that captures this strategic position in illicit and other networks.

Conclusions Community brokers are especially important in illicit networks where large-scale covert coordination among criminal entrepreneurs is risky. The measure we propose is not overlapping with currently existing brokerage measures and has the potential to contribute to our understanding of how products and information flow beyond local networks, in criminology and other fields.

Document type: 
Article

The Intangible Benefits of Criminal Mentorship

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2022-04-16
Abstract: 

Individuals who report having had a mentor also tend to report higher levels of criminal achievement. However, prior studies focused on indirect yet tangible outcomes of mentorship, telling us little about the direct – though potentially intangible – benefits of these relationships to the mentee. In this study, we analyze the content of 28 life story narratives of offenders to examine the effects of mentor-mentee relationships. Half of the participants reported having had a mentor, but many did not meet our definition of mentorship that emphasized direct support in the context of criminal activities. Instead, participants described many intangible benefits of mentorship that we classified in two general categories: benefits to one's criminal capital (high-level career advice, practical skills), and benefits to one's social capital, in the form of either criminal partnership, an enhancement to one's reputation or protection, or providing mentees with the independence necessary to succeed on their own.

Document type: 
Article

Inside the Criminology of Carlo Morselli

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2022-02-01
Abstract: 

Dr. Carlo Morselli’s research inspired numerous scholars around the world to integrate criminal achievement indicators and social network data into their research program. As a Professor of Criminology for over 20 years at Université de Montréal, Carlo’s contributions was part of a generation of scholars who act as brokers between Canada’s two official languages. This volume of the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice brings together research inspired by his legacy. Carlo’s interests were diverse; we selected manuscripts revolving around two major themes in Carlo’s career: the development of criminal achievement as a conceptual and empirical framework, and the innovative use of social network data in new contexts of criminological interest, such as the role of social networks in individuals’ relative optimism towards desistance, or in future victimization.

Document type: 
Article

A Network Approach to Understanding the Structure of Core Symptoms of Psychopathic Personality Disturbance in Adolescent Offenders

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-03-19
Abstract: 

A central aim of research on psychopathic personality disturbance (PPD) involves identifying core features of the construct. This has been addressed primarily through prototypicality studies and research using item-response theory. More recently, the logic of social network analysis was extended to psychopathology research to examine which symptoms were most central to PPD networks. Such studies identified affective symptoms of the disorder as especially central among adult offenders. To build upon this prior research, the current study used data on male offenders from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study to examine the network structure of the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality – Institutional Rating Scale (CAPP-IRS; n = 224) and Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV; n = 445). Using multiple measures of PPD helped avoid equating measures with constructs. In both the CAPP-IRS and PCL:YV networks, in line with prior studies, attachment/affective features of the disorder were most central. Several recommendations are made for future research, including the need to study the longitudinal development of PPD using a network approach.

Document type: 
Article

Re-Assessing Measurement Error in Police Calls for Service: Classifications of Events by Dispatchers and Officers

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-12-08
Abstract: 

Police calls for service are an important conduit by which officers and researchers can obtain insight into public requests for police service. Questions remain, however, about the quality of these data, and, particularly, the prevalence of measurement error in the classifications of events. As part of the present research, we assess the accuracy of call-types used by police dispatchers to describe events that are responded to by police officers. Drawing upon a sample of 515,155 calls for police service, we explore the differences among initial call-types, cleared call-types, and crime-types as documented in crime reports. Our analyses reveal that although the majority of calls for service exhibit overlap in their classifications, many still exhibit evidence of misclassification. Our analyses also reveal that such patterns vary as a function of call- and crime-type categories. We discuss our findings in light of the challenges of the classification process and the associated implications.

Document type: 
Article

Assessing the Predictability of Existing Water-to-Enamel Geolocation Models Against Known Human Teeth

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-08-02
Abstract: 

Stable isotope analysis of human tissues has become a valuable tool for mapping human geolocation. This study adds to the existing knowledge of the relationship between oxygen stable isotopes in human enamel and drinking water by presenting enamel oxygen values in clinic-extracted human dental enamel with known provenance. The results from this study indicate that the theoretical isotopic relationship between enamel and drinking water oxygen is weak at the city and country-level. Differences of up to 15‰ were observed between predicted drinking water oxygen values using existing models and observed values, highlighting the complexity of using water/enamel conversion equations. The lower isotopic boundary of enamel oxygen values is now understood for Metro Vancouver at δ18Oc(VPDB) = – 11.0‰ and presents the possibility of using stable isotope analysis as an exclusionary tool where individuals falling below threshold value can be identified as non-local. Overall, this study’s results support the development of geographical reference maps for human enamel oxygen.

Document type: 
Article

Organizational Support for Frontline Harm Reduction and Systems Navigation Work among Workers with Living and Lived Experience: Qualitative Findings from British Columbia, Canada

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-06-05
Abstract: 

Background

The inclusion of people with lived and living experience of substance use is essential to effective and client-centered harm reduction services and strategies. The aim of this study is to critically examine and characterize peer worker roles and the definition, recognition, and support for these roles within harm reduction organizations.

Methods

Fifteen interviews were conducted with peer workers—people with lived and living experience of substance use engaged in harm reduction service delivery—in British Columbia, Canada. An interpretive descriptive approach to data analysis was used to generate themes that best illustrated the roles of peer workers.

Findings

Two interrelated and overarching themes are presented: (1) peer work in practice; (2) organizational support. Our findings illustrate that peer work is incredibly complex and demanding, requiring peers to be at the forefront of support within their communities while simultaneously navigating the oppressive structures within which they work. While peer workers found a high degree of purpose and meaning in their day-to-day work, their roles lacked definition within organizations, which produced feelings of ineffectiveness and being undervalued. A lack of organizational understanding and recognition of their roles was evident from unclear "peer" role titles, a lack of role communication and expectations, the representation of experiential knowledge, and a lack of role support and training.

Conclusions

These findings may help harm reduction organizations understand peer work and worker roles which may inform and promote equity in future harm reduction initiatives that include people with living and lived experience of substance use.

Document type: 
Article

Crime Generators and Crime Attractors: Updates to Research

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2021-01-26
Abstract: 

Crime Attractor and Crime Generator research is advancing rapidly. Research explores the context of criminal events by looking at the awareness space of offenders and victims and location of targets and explores how mobility in an urban environment and the mosaic of the urban landscape influences safety, perceived safety, human agency and decision making. Research finds a heavy concentration of crime at major attractor nodes, primary pathways to these nodes and along sharp edges separating neighborhood.

Document type: 
Other

The Relationship between Age and Suicidal Thoughts and Attempted Suicide among Prisoners

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-06-22
Abstract: 

Background

Suicide is a major problem across the lifespan, yet rates are highest among middle-aged and older adults; a trend which remains relatively stable across varying sociological settings, including prisons. Despite this understanding, there is limited knowledge on the nature of suicidal thoughts and attempts among older prisoners, especially with respect to how they compare to younger counterparts. The present study aimed to increase insight into the relationship between age and suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide among prisoners, with particular focus on factors that may explain age-based variability.

Results

Cross-sectional data were drawn from a nationally representative sample of 18,185 prisoners housed within 326 prisons across the United States. In general, analyses revealed that: (a) attempted suicide was more commonly reported among younger prisoners, while suicidal ideation was more commonly reported among older prisoners; (b) the relationship between age and probability of reporting suicidal thoughts and behavior is curvilinear; (c) younger and older prisoners exhibit somewhat differing predictive patterns of suicidal thoughts and behavior (e.g., physical illness is directly associated with suicidal history for younger prisoners, whereas the effect of physical illness on suicidal history for older prisoners is mediated by depression).

Conclusions

There is evidence to suggest that suicidal thoughts and behavior may manifest differently for younger and older prisoners, with differing patterns of risk. More research is needed on age-based variability in suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide among prisoners, as well as those factors that might explain this variability. Importantly, future research must continue to investigate the nature of suicidal thoughts and behavior among older prisoners.

Document type: 
Article

Impact of Confinement in Vehicle Trunks on Decomposition and Entomological Colonization of Carcasses

File(s): 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

In order to investigate the impact of confinement in a car trunk on decomposition and insect colonization of carcasses, three freshly killed pig (Sus scrofa domesticus Erxleben) carcasses were placed individually in the trunks of older model cars and deployed in a forested area in the southwestern region of British Columbia, Canada, together with three freshly killed carcasses which were exposed in insect-accessible protective cages in the same forest. Decomposition rate and insect colonization of all carcasses were examined twice a week for four weeks. The exposed carcasses were colonized immediately by Calliphora latifrons Hough and Calliphora vomitoria (L.) followed by Lucilia illustris (Meigen), Phormia regina (Meigen) and Protophormia terraenovae (R.-D.) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). There was a delay of three to six days before the confined carcasses were colonized, first by Pregina, followed by Prterraenovae. These species represented the vast majority of blow fly species on the confined carcasses. Despite the delay in colonization, decomposition progressed much more rapidly in two of the confined carcasses in comparison with the exposed carcasses due to the greatly increased temperatures inside the vehicles, with the complete skeletonization of two of the confined carcasses ocurring between nine and 13 days after death. One confined carcass was an anomaly, attracting much fewer insects, supporting fewer larval calliphorids and decomposing much more slowly than other carcasses, despite similarly increased temperatures. It was later discovered that the vehicle in which this carcass was confined had a solid metal fire wall between the passenger area and the trunk, which served to reduce insect access and release of odors. These data may be extremely valuable when analyzing cadavers found inside vehicle trunks.

Document type: 
Article