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

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The isolated post: A qualitative analysis of the challenges of Northern policing

Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

This study provides an understanding of the opinions and experiences of officers who are posted in Northern and remote rural communities across Canada. This area has often been neglected by research. Key findings include a discussion of challenges associated to living in remote areas, the duration of postings, the relationship with the community, the relocation of family, the multifaceted role, crime and social disorder, the lack of anonymity, and detachment sizes. This study provides strong support that remote postings present many unique challenges unknown to their urban counterparts.

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

A profile of medical cannabis users residing in Canada and the United Kingdom: Accounting for policy and experience

Date created: 
2018-03-21
Abstract: 

Cannabis remains among the most widely used, researched, and discussed drugs in the world. The science buttressing its use as a treatment for a variety of symptoms and medical conditions has evolved considerably since the 1960s; yet, the most common uses reported by patients are not recognized by the medical community. Despite this lack of accord, several countries have liberalized domestic policy in recent years to give eligible patients access to regulated suppliers and protection from legal repercussion. Alternatively, patients residing in countries without a medical exception continue to risk facing social stigmatization and other legal barriers created by prohibition. This study considers whether the profile of self-described medical users from two countries with very different policies is shaped by external forces, such as domestic policy, or unique features of the “cannabis career.” Data obtained from an online survey of self-described medical users residing primarily in Canada and the United Kingdom (n = 359) is used to better understand this drug-using population. The study describes the sample “profile” using information about respondents’ demographics, patterns of use, medical conditions and symptoms, healthcare involvement, reasons for use, and experience using cannabis. Cannabis career typologies are constructed with k-means cluster analysis and distinctions are drawn between Canadian and British respondents using descriptive and comparative statistical analyses. Respondents’ sociability and resourcefulness are investigated with a “sociability scale” and a descriptive account of their “cannabis network.” Finally, logistic regression is used to identify which factors are associated with elevated odds of encountering social, legal and supply-side barriers. Four models (“cannabis career,” “needs-based,” “resource-based,” and “risk-based”) are used to determine whether unique features of the user-profile can explain who encounters barriers beyond nationality/residency alone. Additionally, the study considers separately the subpopulation of users that grow their own as a means of overcoming the access barrier. With few exceptions, the profile of users is the same for Canadians and Britons; however, when it comes to the barriers, the notable distinctions are country-specific and largely stem from policy. The study describes the major similarities and differences between the two populations and considers their policy and research implications.

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

"They don't have a platform here": Exploring police perceptions of the Black Lives Matter movement in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-17
Abstract: 

Recent high-profile lethal use of force incidents in the United States involving White police officers and Black males have cast unfavorable international attention on the policing profession. Research indicates that Black people are disproportionately represented at all levels of the criminal justice system within Canada and the United States; their relationship with the police in particular has been adverse throughout history (Warde, 2012; Kahn & Martin, 2016). The current qualitative analysis explored the thoughts, perceptions and experiences of municipal police officers in the GVR and examined the following research questions: (1) To what degree, if any, has the recent BLM movement affected municipal policing in the GVR? and; (2) What can municipal policing agencies in the Vancouver area do to distance themselves from the BLM movement and anti-police rhetoric that is occurring in many parts of the United States? The BLM movement is present in Canada, but the anti-police rhetoric currently spreading throughout the United States is not. Officers described a positive relationship with community members in the GVR further stating that interactions between themselves and the community have not changed since the emergence of the BLM movement. These findings indicate that the BLM movement is not a “one-size fits all” movement. The overall positive nature of community-police relations in this region exist regardless of the community’s exposure to an increase in controversial police behaviour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Rick Parent
Curt Griffiths
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Crude Crime: An analysis of energy prices and crime in Alberta

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-10
Abstract: 

The relationship between energy prices and levels of crime in Canada is under-researched, despite Canada’s dependency on its natural resources. There have been numerous media reports on the high level of crime and revenue from resource-based communities, such as Fort McMurray. However, these conclusions have not been substantiated by research. In this thesis, social disorganization theory and routine activity theory are used to examine crime patterns in Alberta. The current study explores the relationship between fluctuations in energy prices and crime rates in Alberta between the years 1998 to 2006. A fixed effects linear regression analysis is used to determine the association between crime rates and changes in both oil and natural gas prices while accounting for a number of variables. A statistically significant negative relationship was found between energy prices and break and enter, as well as theft from auto. In light of these findings, implications for future research and theoretical development are discussed.

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

An examination of the bedroom rapist

Date created: 
2017-09-22
Abstract: 

Research has found that sexual offenders are rational and consistent in their crime site selection strategies. However, one crime site location that has been largely understudied in sexual offending research is the ‘bedroom rape’ attack. Bedroom rapes are described as sexual assaults that occur within a victim’s own residence. This study uses Generalized Estimating Equations to examine data from a sample of 347 sexual assault events to determine which offender modus operandi and temporal variables are significant predictors of bedroom rape events. Findings indicate that a number of modus operandi and temporal variables are significant predictors. For instance, bedroom rape events are more likely to involve premeditation, coercion and an offender who commits a burglary in addition to the sexual offence. Conclusions on why offenders may choose this type of crime attack location are drawn and implications for situational crime prevention measures are discussed.

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

Fear and loathing on public transportation: Applying a spatial framework to crime patterns on Vancouver's Canada Line SkyTrain System

Date created: 
2017-09-25
Abstract: 

The expansion of mass forms of public transportation systems have often been resisted due to fears and concerns over an increased level of crime. The following study seeks to determine whether the SkyTrain’s Canada Line has increased levels of reported crime in six criminal offence categories: commercial burglary, residential burglary, mischief, theft, theft from vehicle, and theft of vehicle between January 2003 and December 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Time series regression, panel data analysis, and spatial point pattern tests are applied to determine whether such concerns should be merited or disregarded in the study of crime and transportation. Results demonstrate that census tracts that host a Canada Line SkyTrain station do not increase levels of crime. Rather, census tracts that host multiple SkyTrain stations and/or are situated in socially disorganized neighbourhoods are at a higher level of risk for criminal victimization. These findings are critical in removing the negative stigma surrounding mass forms of public transportation systems. Additionally, these results assist local police, transit authorities, and urban planners to create appropriate crime prevention strategies to prevent crime while restructuring public discourse about the potential criminogenic effects from public transportation systems.

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

Understanding the collective identity of the radical right online: A mixed-methods approach

Date created: 
2017-09-07
Abstract: 

Criminologists have generally agreed that the Internet is not only a tool or resource for right-wing extremists to disseminate ideas and products, but also a site of important identity work, accomplished interactively through the exchange of radical ideas. Online discussion forums, amongst other interactive corners of the Web, have become an essential conduit for the radical right to air their grievances and bond around their “common enemy.” Yet overlooked in this discussion has been a macro-level understanding of the radical discussions that contribute to the broader collective identity of the extreme right online, as well as what constitutes “radical posting behaviour” within this context. Drawing from criminal career measures to facilitate this type of analysis, data was extracted from a sub-forum of the most notorious white supremacy forum online, Stormfront, which included 141,763 posts made by 7,014 authors over approximately 15 years. In study one of this dissertation, Sentiment-based Identification of Radical Authors (SIRA), a sentiment analysis-based algorithm that draws from traditional criminal career measures to evaluate authors’ opinions, was used to identify and, by extension, assess forum authors’ radical posting behaviours using a mixed-methods approach. Study two extended on study one by using SIRA to quantify authors’ group-level sentiment about their common enemies: Jews, Blacks, and LGBTQs. Study three further extended on studies one and two by analyzing authors’ radical posting trajectories with semi-parametric group-based modeling. Results highlighted the applicability of criminal career measures to study radical discussions online. Not only did this mixed-methods approach provide theoretical insight into what constitutes radical posting behaviour in a white supremacy forum, it also shed light on the communication patterns that contribute to the broader collective identity of the extreme right online.

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

Exploring the Rise and Decline of Anti- State Terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): A multi-sphere based explanation

Date created: 
2017-08-02
Abstract: 

The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has become a main hub for global, as well as domestic, terrorist activity. Many of the groups committing terrorist attacks originate from, andare situated in, this region. Thus, it is essential to understand the particular social, economic, political, structural and historic factors predominant in the region that create such fertile groundfor the establishment and survival of terrorist movements. In this longitudinal study, a comprehensive anti- state terrorism model was utilized to examine the relationship between the rise and decline of terrorist activity and social, economic, political, structural, as well as historic factors. Furthermore, an interrupted time series design was applied to explore the region’ssusceptibility to global, as well as regional, change. The results of this study provide an in-depth understanding of the specific factors contributing to the rise and decline of anti-state terrorism inthe MENA region, as well as suggest policy recommendations on effective ways to respond to the terrorist threat.

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

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.