Criminology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Homeless journeys: Understanding mobility of the homeless with respect to their survival strategies

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-17
Abstract: 

This study contributes to understanding homelessness in Vancouver by investigating homeless mobility and destinations, two topics that are germane to the motivation to remain unsheltered and travel to Vancouver while homeless. Altogether, 24 persons were interviewed for this study in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The primary finding is that among those interviewed, a majority were from out of town, not homeless when they first arrived in Vancouver, and have mobility concentrated in the DTES. The exception to this was five individuals who had been street homeless for over one consecutive year and had dispersed mobility all over the city, typically in response to opportunistic survival strategies and desire to sleep in isolated areas. Illegal survival strategies were uncommon, and housing was identified as easy to find though good housing was not. Shelters were universally distrusted. This paper concludes with recommendations for policy and a call to action for future research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Use of hyperspectral remote sensing to examine immature blow fly development

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-01
Abstract: 

Medico-legal entomology, the study and application of insect science to criminal investigations, is most notably used to estimate a minimum post-mortem interval (minPMI). Examining blow fly development to make this estimation provides the minimum time it takes to reach the oldest stage associated with the remains. Unfortunately, providing the time it takes to reach a stage may underestimate the age of the insects during the lengthier post feeding stage and intra-puparial period. Hyperspectral remote sensing is introduced as a means to solve this issue and to examine the potential for narrowing these lengthier stages into days within the stages. Hyperspectral remote sensing involves sensing, recording and processing reflected and emitted energy to produce point source measurements. Spectral measurements of both immature Protophormia terraenovae and Lucilia sericata were completed from second instar to adult emergence from the mid-section, anterior and posterior ends of developing immature blow flies. Functional regressions and coefficient functions were examined for model prediction and generalization to identify demarcations within stadia to age the immature blow flies. Aging P. terraenovae larvae was successful at wavelengths ranging from 400-1000nm, however, at that wavelength range, only the last day of the intra-puparial period could be distinguished from the first five days. Immature Lucilia sericata were examined at a wider range of wavelengths (350-2500nm) and model prediction and generalization for both pupae and larvae was possible. Similarities and differences were found between species and potential contributing factors were considered such as range of wavelengths analyzed, food substrate, significance of washing away surface contaminants before measuring, contributions of cuticular hydrocarbons, and potential surface bacteria, best region to measure the immature blow fly and replication experiments. Hyperspectral remote sensing not only allows an entomologist to incorporate more precision in their estimate but error rates are also introduced which is required of a forensic science according to the National Academy of Sciences.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gail Anderson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The Built Environment and Urban Crime Patterns: A spatial analysis of land use and property crime in Surrey, B.C.

Date created: 
2017-07-07
Abstract: 

As we grow our urban space, it is important to understand the influence of the built environment on criminal opportunity. Using a theoretical foundation that synthesizes routine activity theory and social disorganization theory, this study examines the spatial relationship between land use and property crime in a large metropolitan city. A series of spatial analyses were used to explore the geographic distribution of three types of property crime: residential break and enter, commercial break and enter, and theft of motor vehicle. Results found support not only for a spatial relationship between the built environment and property crime occurrences but also for the effect of the socio-economic variables of routine activity theory and social disorganization theory.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Andresen
Bryan Kinney
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Tor, what is it good for? How crime predicts domain failure on the darkweb

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-14
Abstract: 

Content analysis of the darkweb shows the volume of illicit domains which are speculated to facilitate criminal activity. Describing Tor serves a valuable purpose, however does not allow for broader speculations about the criminogenic nature of the environment and the dismantling of the hidden services. Examining how the criminal content leads to domain failures is a small step towards providing insight into any casual mechanisms on Tor. The current study analyzes how 774 categorized domains explain website failure using a Cox repeated events regression while controlling for structure, popularity and size. Tor domain failure was found to be a function of popularity and size rather than criminality. Some criminally focused domains, however did survive longer on average than legal websites. The visibility of the domains may lead to increased costs financially as well as socially. The lack of infrastructure paired with law enforcement interventions may explain domain failures on Tor.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Richard Frank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

CVE Programs and Initiatives through the Ages: A snapshot of the past, present, and future

Date created: 
2017-08-03
Abstract: 

We have now reached the stage where there are many countering violent extremism (CVE) programs and initiatives in existence. Each program leaves a unique imprint, making it possible to trace these efforts through the ages, as well as give some indication as to what is working and not working. An extensive literature review surveying academic publications and independent/government reports regarding radicalization theory, and more specifically, deradicalization, disengagement, rehabilitation, and prevention efforts is used to build the framework for this study’s database. A content analysis utilizing data triangulation is then conducted on 67 existing or previously existing CVE programs/initiatives. The Information drawn from these programs is used to develop a timeline of where CVE efforts have been, where they are now, and provides an idea of where they might be going. Some impressions made by these efforts have been marked – good and bad, lending pertinent information to the development of these types of programs. This study is intended to inform and improve the next generation of CVE programming.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Garth Davies
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Crime Prevention in Practice: An Analysis of Pharmacy Robberies

Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

This paper investigates the incidents of pharmacy robberies in British Columbia, Canada between 2001 and 2016. Using rational choice theory and situational crime prevention, this paper examines the sudden decrease in pharmacy robberies in fall 2015 and proposes theory-based implementations that may further reduce counts of pharmacy robbery throughout the province. This study also measures the effect of recent bylaw implementation enacted in September 2015, and the effect this may have had on reducing pharmacy robbery counts throughout British Columbia. Employing negative binomial regression models, counts of monthly pharmacy robberies are analyzed in four locations: Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Interior, and Vancouver Island. Statistically significant results are found to support the preventative measures enacted by the pharmacy bylaw implementations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

"Without trust, research is impossible": Administrative inertia in addressing legal threats to research confidentiality

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-18
Abstract: 

The last two decades have seen the development of formalized federal research ethics policies in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The focus of these policies has been researchers; comparatively little attention has been paid to the university administrations who provide the context in which those review bodies operate and whose resources are integral to protecting research participants when external threats arise. Far from being staunch defenders of academic freedom and protecting those who participate in research, university administrators in Canada have more commonly revelled in "edgy" research until the subpoena arrives, and then promptly thrown the researchers under the proverbial bus. In Canada, the federal ethics policy now requires university administrations to "support" their researchers when a legal threat arises, and "encourages" them to have policies in place that articulate how they will do so. Two years later, few policies exist. This thesis will review the record of administrative support for cases where research confidentiality is threatened, and present the results of a national survey of REB chairs, administrators, and REB staff, as to the current state of these policies and the impediments to their creation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ted Palys
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Identifying risky places for sexual violence: A spatiotemporal analysis of sexual crime and its stability over time

Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

Traditionally, scholars have taken an offender-centred approach to the understanding of sexual violence that has resulted in treatment practices and community management strategies that focus primarily on the person responsible for the crime irrespective of the other factors that may have played a role in the offence. There is, however, a small but growing literature within this field that has shifted the etiological focus from just that of the offender to the other actors involved in the offence, as well as the environment in which each event occurs. Although the importance of this latter factor is recognized in these studies, the utility it has for theory development and practical implications for sexual offences is still unclear due to the methodological approaches previously taken and the conceptual definitions used. In an effort to overcome these limitations, three interrelated empirical papers compose this thesis that draw from the field of environmental criminology, specifically the criminology of place, to investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of 2,260 sexual crimes that occurred within a large city in British Columbia between August 1, 2002 and July 31, 2006. The first study investigates where sexual crimes take place by examining their spatial distribution and its stability over time using four spatial scales of analysis. These findings set the stage for the second study that identifies the social and physical characteristics of those places that experience high counts of sexual violence. The final study determines when these crimes occur within this city, studying this phenomenon at both the seasonal and intraweek levels, as well as their temporal stability over this five-year period. The collective contributions from this thesis emphasize the applicability and utility of such an approach to the study of sexual violence that puts the unit of analysis on the place, rather than the offender. In doing so, theoretical, methodological, and practical suggestions are put forth that may better the understanding of sexual violence and complement current prevention strategies and sex offender management tools.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eric Beauregard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The role of time and space on the interaction between persons with serious mental illness and the police: A mixed methods study

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-04
Abstract: 

A sizable amount of research and governmental reports have been produced over the past several decades on police calls-for-service involving persons with severe mental illness (PwSMI). However, the narrative of these papers often has a narrow focus (e.g., small subgroups of high-risk offenders), which can result in difficulties for researchers and administrators to generalize their findings to other settings. Extending the existing knowledge-base to the population-level is likely to produce a more accurate understanding of the true nature of the intersection between police services and PwSMI. Through a mixed methods research design, the overall aim of this dissertation is to identify the pertinent static and dynamic factors that are associated with a variety of police contacts with the population of PwSMI. The first research study uses qualitative interviews and focus groups with a purposive sample of police officers from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia to explore factors associated with police interactions with PwSMI, along with decision-making practices. Results from this foundational study suggest that there may be underlying spatial and temporal factors that are related to calls-for-service with PwSMI. As a result, the second study explores the relationship between the environment and police calls-for-service with emotionally disturbed persons (EDP), a proxy for PwSMI. Results suggest that the majority of EDP-events fall under the British Columbia Mental Health Act (MHA), and that there are significant differences between where men and women have contact with police at the aggregate and micro spatial level. The third study explores the temporal patterning of events associated with the MHA. Study 3 considers varying degrees of temporal specificity to highlight when MHA calls-for-service are likely to occur. Results indicate that MHA calls appear to cluster in times that are different from crime events. The collective results from this work emphasize the importance of studying the intersection between PwSMI and the police at multiple levels of specificity in order to more accurately identify where and when police resources are likely to be required. This knowledge may be of great use for administrators and policy makers who want to reduce police contacts with PwSMI or otherwise improve overall service delivery.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Simon Verdun-Jones
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Extending a relative methodological perspective to sentencing outcome analysis

Date created: 
2017-07-21
Abstract: 

The mood and temper of the public in regard to any issue ought to be informed by up to date, comprehensive, valid, and reliable information. With respect to sentencing, the Canadian public has never been well-informed. This thesis suggests that introducing alternative methodological perspectives may hold the key to unlocking new findings in existing data sources. This is particularly true for descriptive comparison procedures where the goal is to identify meaningful patterns across factors related to the sentencing process. In order to supplement direct comparative procedures that have been used in previous research, this thesis uses a relative methodological perspective to develop new measurement techniques. A compilation of three studies employs the new techniques with existing data available in Canada to study critical areas of inquiry that have long plagued sentencing in the country. Study 1 introduces an analytic method to explore national patterns of sanction use across a series of offence categories. The new technique serves as an important supplement to conventional measures by uncovering patterns that had previously gone undetected. Study 2 uses the general approach proposed in Study 1 to advance a more complex analytic technique to detect jurisdictional consistency in sentencing outcomes. The technique is found to identify new forms of sentence consistency and disparity that had been neglected in previous research. Study 3 uses the strategy employed in Study 2, to study the sentencing patterns of Aboriginal offenders, specifically. By employing conventional measures alongside the newly developed technique, the study demonstrates that certain provinces and territories are disproportionately represented in their patterns of correctional program use with Aboriginal offenders. Collectively, the results of this thesis highlight the importance of adopting a relative perspective in sentencing outcome analysis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David MacAlister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.