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

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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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A crime scene approach to distinguishing sexual murderers

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-25
Abstract: 

Previous studies have identified two main types of sexual murderers: ‘angry’ and ‘sadistic’. Similar to the ‘organized murderer’ of the FBI, the sadistic sexual murderer has been described as likely to inflict mutilation, use restraints, humiliate, and force anal sex on the victim. All four behaviours are found on several sadism scales developed to measure sadism in sex offenders. This study compares crime-scene characteristics for sexual murderers who have used these four behaviours associated to sexual sadism. Using a sample of 85 Canadian sexual murderers, logistic regression models were created to identify potential differences between sexual murderers who adopted such “sadistic” behaviours and those who did not. Findings, for example, show sexual murderers who have inflicted mutilation on the victim are more likely to pre-select and pre-meditate the crimes. Findings will be discussed in light of the literature on sexual sadism and the implications for the investigation of these crimes.

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

Experimental lacustrine taphonomy: Decompositional changes in freshwater lake submerged Ovis aries skeletal remains within the Pacific Coastal Western Hemlock Zone

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-10
Abstract: 

This aquatic field experiment examined the effect of freshwater submergence on sectioned sub-adult Ovis aries (domestic sheep) femoral cortical bone discs. As a proxy for skeletonized human remains, samples (n = 130) were deployed across ten sites at Marion Lake, B.C., Canada. Specimens were recovered consecutively over a 16-month period and analyzed macroscopically and microscopically for structural (artefact, abrasion, cracking, bioerosion) and colour change. Atmospheric, lake surface, and core temperature were also monitored, along with precipitation, water pH, cage movement, and elemental analysis of silt composition. Bivariate analyses show a significant relationship between taphonomic signifiers and the location of submergence, elapsed time of submergence, and findings suggest that seasonality may impact the rate of decomposition. The location of the cages was linked to the appearance of periosteal abrasion and encrustation, and the loss of pre-deployment artefacts also suggests that intentional human-induced disarticulation of bones might be obscured over time.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lynne Bell
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The prison experience from the prisoners' perspectives: Trauma healing within the correctional setting

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-13
Abstract: 

Childhood psychological trauma (CPT) has been identified as underlying generally accepted criminal risk factors and its role in the generation of criminal behaviours is profound. While psychological and behavioural impacts of unresolved CPT may continue throughout the lifetime, healing CPT is recognized as essential to rehabilitation and is possible throughout the lifetime. This dissertation examines the experiences of former prisoners of Canadian federal correctional institutions to gain an in-depth understanding of healing from CPT while in prison and during community re-entry, from their perspectives. A series of three in-depth interviews was held with 17 former prisoners who self-identified as having experienced CPT. Their experiences of CPT impacts prior to prison and their experiences of healing during incarceration and community re-entry were explored. Five primary results of this study emerged. (1) CPT impacts included chronic hyperarousal, automatic fight or flight responses, stress addiction and trauma-bonds. Prior to prison, men’s physical and psychological survival depended on their creation of autonomy and safety through threat-resistance, limited emotionality, revenge and violence, and a veneer of mask-ulinity. (2) In prison, inter-prisoner physical brutality extended pre-prison trauma; survival required hyper-mask-ulinity, which included maintaining a reputation of domination-violence, independence-power, limited emotionality and strategic relationship formation. (3) Correctional staff-prisoner interactions, based on a correctional culture of hyper-mask-ulinity, included domination, violence, emotional detachment and correctional officer solidarity that required physical and psychological brutality of prisoners. Prisoner survival depended on employment of resistance strategies, strategic relationship formation, and further emotional constriction. A correctional staff-prisoner Hyper-mask-ulinity Stand-off compounded CPT. (4) Peer-relationships and prisoner-created initiatives provided psychological and physical support consistent with factors of trauma healing, however these were experienced as ‘removal activities’ and constituted survival, and trauma-mitigating mechanisms. (5) Trauma-informed, gender responsive healing factors were experienced through relationships with community members, community-run initiatives, and experiences at Kwikwexwelhp Healing Lodge. Providing turning points in the life trajectory, these experiences facilitated initial stages of recovery from CPT, initiated growth, and enhanced rehabilitation. Consequential to the pervasive threatening environment few participants moved past Stage I of trauma recovery. Implementation of trauma-informed correctional care is recommended in Canadian federal prisons to facilitate CPT healing and enhance rehabilitation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nicole M. Myers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Cell towers and the ambient population: A spatial analysis of disaggregated property crime in Vancouver, BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-10
Abstract: 

The current study employs a new measure of the ambient population, constructed using cell tower location data from OpenCellID, to compare residential and ambient population-based crime rates in Vancouver, BC. Five disaggregated property crime types are examined at the dissemination area level. Findings demonstrate striking differences in the spatial patterns of crime rates constructed using these two different measures of the population at risk. Multivariate results from spatial error models also highlight the substantial impact that the use of a theoretically-informed crime rate denominator can have on Pseudo R2 values, variable retention, and trends in significant relationships. Implications for theory testing and policy are discussed.

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

Canada and the ‘Five Eyes’ Alliance: Current directions in domestic national security policies

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-11-13
Abstract: 

On June 18, 2015, the Canadian government passed the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA) with the purpose of enhancing Canada’s national security strategy. The ATA has faced extensive criticism with many questioning the legality and necessity of the government’s approach to domestic national security. However, little attention has focused on how Canada’s national security measures compare to strategies implemented by other democratic nations. A comparative policy analysis is utilized to systematically examine some of the most controversial measures contained within the ATA in comparison to equivalent legislation existing among member-states of the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance. Relevant insights into the development of national security policies and practices are generated along with recommendations to improve Canada’s current national security framework.

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

Making meaning out of social harm in videogames

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-09-14
Abstract: 

A literature review demonstrates that videogame research has theoretical and empirical relevance to criminology. This thesis explores the construction of meaning around representations of social harm in videogames by answering two research questions: 1) How is social harm represented in videogames? 2) How do players construct meaning around videogame content relating to social harm? Study 1 is a qualitative content analysis of representations of social harm in the popular videogame Skyrim. Themes included crime and punishment, money and power, extrajudicial crime control, legitimacy of violence, and criminalization of race. These findings are contextualized against analogous real-world cultural constructs. Study 2 consists of 18 interviews with players about their experiences interpreting and responding to social harm representations in videogames. Players’ construction of meaning depended on factors including player-character relationship, playstyle, game genre, and play context. Preliminary metrics for measuring these factors are proposed, and implications for future research are discussed.

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