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

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Upvoting extremism: Exploring a far-right ‘virtual community’ on Reddit

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-24
Abstract: 

Since the advent of the internet, right-wing extremists have been exploiting online platforms to build ‘virtual communities’ among like-minded peers. Research in this area has tended to focus on extremists’ use of internet platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Overlooked in these discussions, however, has been an exploration of the social news aggregation site: Reddit. In response to this gap, the current study explores the nature of right-wing extremism in user-submitted comments posted to r/The_Donald, a notorious subreddit community, through the lens of social movement theory. The results of the thematic analysis highlight that, on r/The_Donald, right-wing extremists use Reddit’s unique voting algorithm as a tool to mobilize like-minded members by promoting the community’s most extreme othering discourses against two prominent out-groups: Muslims and the Left. In particular, r/The_Donald’s ‘sense of community’ facilitates identity work among its members by creating an environment wherein members’ extreme views are continuously validated.

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

Unraveling the foster care effect: An examination of criminal outcomes

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-15
Abstract: 

Youth who are dually involved in both foster care and criminal justice systems represent a small minority of individuals with multi-problem risk profiles. Indeed, prior research has found that foster care youth are disproportionately more likely to continue a chronic level of offending in adulthood (Yang, McCuish, & Corrado, 2017). However, the nature of this relationship remains theoretically underexplored, and empirically underexamined. Extant research suggests that adverse childhood experiences have prevailing effects beyond the developmental period of childhood, and thus longitudinal research is required to further elucidate the effects of foster care on offending. The current thesis was guided by three theoretical frameworks under the developmental life-course criminology paradigm (propensity, developmental, and life-course theories). Using data from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study, the criminal offending trajectories of 678 incarcerated youth were examined. A history of foster care placement was predictive of a high rate chronic offending trajectory, and this relationship was independent of hypothesized moderating variables including gang involvement, negative self-identity, substance use versatility, and parental maltreatment. Findings suggest greater need for ongoing support for foster care youth in their transition to adulthood.

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

Risky places and criminogenic facilities: Understanding property crime at micro-spatial units

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-24
Abstract: 

Criminologists have long-known that spatial crime patterns vary across different geographic areas. Until recently, research has shown that crime is highly concentrated at a small number of micro-places. Subsequent studies have found that these spatial patterns are generalizable across different urban settings and are relatively stable over time. Although more scholars are beginning to recognize the importance of measuring crime at places, little is known about the explanatory factors of crime at the micro-spatial scale. Using police incident data and land-use information obtain from the Vancouver Open-Data catalogue, zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to understand the spatial patterns of various types of property crimes at street segments. The results demonstrate that certain facilities have a significant impact on these crime types at the micro-spatial level. Depending on the crime type, the strength of the relationship varies in magnitude and level of significance.

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

When survivors speak, what does Twitter say?: A multiple case study of #metoo

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-23
Abstract: 

On October 15th, 2017, actor Alyssa Milano tweeted “#metoo” in solidarity with women coming forward with allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, stating that she too had experienced sexual violence. Since then, #metoo has seen unprecedented numbers of people participating in discussions across the globe, challenging the culture of silence that often envelopes sexual violence. To provide insight into how society discusses sexual violence, this study uses a multiple case study design involving three prominent hearings in which women give a victim impact statement or testimony: the Larry Nassar sentencing hearing, the Bill Cosby sentencing hearing, and Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Through a content analysis of 2419 tweets, the findings reveal that the majority of Twitter discourse ties into larger discussions on privilege, provides survivors with support, condemns the accused or convicted, or critiques the #metoo movement and survivors of sexual violence.

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

Pathways to early mortality for serious and violent young offenders

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-15
Abstract: 

Early mortality is significantly more common among offenders compared to non-offenders but less is known about the specific mechanisms that increase this risk. To address this gap, Tremblay and Paré (2003) specified three pathways to early mortality in offender populations. The general-hazard model suggests that early mortality is driven by low self-control. The occupational-hazard model attributes early mortality to the hazards directly associated with offending. The strain-hazard model emphasizes the prevalence of self-inflicted deaths resulting from differential exposure to strain. Using self-report, official, and social network data from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study, the current study operationalized and tested these models. Findings from multinomial logistic regression analyses showed no support for the general-hazard model but identified several predictors of early mortality across the strain-hazard and occupational-hazard models, including negative self-identity, parental dysfunction, and youth offending. Social network findings showed partial support for the occupational-hazard model. Specifically, the accumulation of criminal social capital may protect against early mortality outcomes. Recommendations for policy and practice are made with reference to these findings.

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

A tale of two theories: Applying social disorganization theory and routine activities theory to Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-25
Abstract: 

Social disorganization theory and routine activities theory have been extensively applied separately as theoretical frameworks in the spatial analysis of crime, resulting in a large body of generally supportive literature. As hypothetical explanations for complex social phenomena, criminological theories can impact how studies are framed, and how the crime problem is approached. Thus, it is important to continuously evaluate theories in various geographical, as well as contemporary contexts. This study uses both theories in tandem to examine their ability to explain property crime in Vancouver, British Columbia, using 2016 census data. Both theories found weak to no support. Of particular note is that all of the variables designated as proxies for ethnic heterogeneity in social disorganization theory were not statistically significant and therefore not useful in the explanation of property crime. Of the statistically significant variables, five did not behave as theoretically expected; however, explanations for these theoretical contradictions make sense in the context of Vancouver.

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

Public parks and crimes of property: Get out there and enjoy the sunshine, lock your cars and hide your bike

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-05-23
Abstract: 

There is greater cause now for cities to promote for themselves the wider distribution of greenspaces across the length and width of their urbanized areas. These, apart from their offering practical solutions to environmental problems, render quality services to nearby human populations, too. Greenspaces are not, however, well-received in all quarters, and a particular category of greenspace, the public park, is regularly lamented for its unfortunate habit of concentrating crime. Generally speaking, this has been found true of parks, but specifically speaking, there has been little done that could corroborate for the many, particular parks in the city the impression made by general results. This study explores where and when parks are not generative of crime and finds that after accounting for the unique socio-economic and demographic circumstances of different city areas only very few parks, and all of a particular category, are connected with higher rates of property crime.

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

The emergence of the Cannabis Act: A case study

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-12
Abstract: 

This case study identifies the key factors that preceded the introduction of the Cannabis Act, using newspaper articles from the Globe and Mail between January 1, 2000 and April 14, 2017. It develops a chronology of cannabis-related events that influenced the social, political, or legal nature of cannabis, and categorizes other stories into five major themes: judicial decisions, medical regulations, commercial industry, international developments, and public opinion. Analysis reveals three key findings that set the stage for legalization, including the government’s failure to create a constitutionally sound cannabis access program, Colorado and Washington’s legal precedent, and a ballooning commercial industry. Law reform benefits, such as product quality, accessibility, and tax revenue are discussed and contrasted with several limitations of the Act, including consumption-related risks, criminal penalties, and ongoing stigma. Overall, the Act is a bold reform that marks a new era in Canadian drug policy.

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

Exploring the relationship between self-identity and future offending among a sample of serious and violent young offenders

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-17
Abstract: 

Cognitive transformation perspectives describe identity as an important aspect of an individual’s decision to involve themselves in criminal behavior. Pro-sociality is inconsistent with a criminal lifestyle, whereas negative and antisocial perceptions of oneself increases the likelihood of (a) overall offending trajectories and (b) involvement in desistance and/or recidivism behaviours. Due, in part, to a lack of validated measures of identity, it remains relatively unclear how different perspectives of self-identity impact continued involvement in offending. Drawing from a sample of incarcerated serious and violent young offenders (n = 211), the current study explores the relationship between self-identity profiles in adolescence (per Schneider’s Good Citizen’s Scale) and continued involvement in offending during emerging adulthood. The results are discussed within the context of the importance of identity for theories of desistance and with specific reference to identity as a key risk factor for criminal justice system practitioners to consider in developing intervention and treatment strategies for adjudicated youth.

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

The impact of bus stop locations on crime in Port Moody, British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-16
Abstract: 

The relationship between public transportation and crime has been the subject of study for decades. While the public’s concerns over safety on public transit has been justified through studies that have shown that transit users are more likely to be victimized than people who do not take public transit, however, the actual risk of victimization still remains very low. Nonetheless, concern for safety on transit has been shown to impact ridership, an important consideration because the provision of transportation services is a crucial element of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. The current study seeks to analyze socioeconomic data along with bus stop and crime data through the use of Poisson regression models to determine if bus stops or other social attributes are helpful in predicting crime in a small city such as Port Moody. The findings indicate that there is a positive predictive relationship between the presence of bus stops and criminal activity.

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