Text of Criminal Behavior Theories, Typologies, and Criminal Justice J.B. Helfgott Seattle University...
Criminal Behavior Theories, Typologies, and Criminal Justice J.B. Helfgott Seattle University CHAPTER 10 The Influence Of Technology, Media, & Popular Culture On Criminal Behavior: Copycat Crime & Cybercrime
Life is like a video game. Everybodys got to die sometime. Life is like a video game. Everybodys got to die sometime. -- 18 year-old Devin Moore The Influence Of Technology, Media, & Popular Culture On Criminal Behavior: Copycat Crime & Cybercrime
Technology-Related Risk Factors for Criminal Behavior Criminologists can no longer ignore the ways in which media and computer technology shape criminal behavior. Criminologists can no longer ignore the ways in which media and computer technology shape criminal behavior. With the unprecedented exposure to and influence of media and popular culture it is increasingly important to examine the unique role that technology-related factors play in motivating and shaping criminal behavior. Technology breeds false familiarity, blurs fantasy and reality, and provides a virtual realm that mediates conscience. Technology breeds false familiarity, blurs fantasy and reality, and provides a virtual realm that mediates conscience. This has important implications for the study of criminal behavior. Technology changes everything, crime included (Clarke, 2004)
Technological advances have impacted criminal behavior in three ways: 1) Mass Communication Technology 1) Mass Communication Technology has transformed media and popular culture into a powerful influence on offender behavior. 2) Computer Technology 2) Computer Technology has created new avenues and different opportunities for criminal behavior. 3) Investigative Technology 3) Investigative Technology has altered methods used by offenders and the types of crimes they engage in.
Technology-Related Subtypes Copycat Crime Copycat Crime Cybercrime Cybercrime Copycat crime and cybercrime are likely to become a significant part of the crime landscape in the 21 st century. Copycat crime and cybercrime are subtypes that can cut across all of the major crime categories while maintaining distinct features. In some respects, copycat and cybercrime represent more the process by which criminal behavior occurs rather than a type of crime. Both copycat and cybercrime can be violent, sex, economic, public order, or political crimes. Copycat and cyber crime are unique in that technology shapes their nature and presentation.
The Criminogenic Effects of Mass Media Technology Electronic media presents greater concerns than print media Electronic media presents greater concerns than print media because there is a larger at-risk pool of individuals who can be criminally influenced (Surette, 1990) Historically unprecedented context of hyperaestheticized mass-culture We live in a Historically unprecedented context of hyperaestheticized mass-culture (Black, 1991,p. 136). Technologies have become more culturally dominant as an information source. Technologies have become more culturally dominant as an information source. This increases the probability that people (particularly adolescents) will use this information as a tool to understand themselves and others (Lloyd, 2002).
National Survey Findings on Media Consumption (Anderson et al, 2003) Virtually all families with children have a TV with at least one VCR or DVD player, and most (approx 75%) subscribe to cable or satellite TV. 7 in 10 families with children own a computer and have a video-game system. In their bedrooms, the majority of American children have a TV (30% of children age 0-3), 33-39% age 2-17 have a video-game player, 30% have a VCR, and 6-11% have Internet access. Children spend more time consuming entertainment media than engaging in any other activity besides sleeping and school (avg. 4 hrs per day in front of a TV or computer screen). 25% of 6th graders watch more than 40 hours of TV per week. On any given Saturday morning at 10 a.m., 60% of American 6-11 year- olds are watching TV.
Hypotheses in the Research Literature on the Influence of Mass Media on Criminal Behavior criminogenic Pop cultural artifacts are criminogenic contribute to real-life crime. cathartic Pop cultural artifacts are cathartic offer an outlet for natural aggressive impulses.
Previous Work on Copycat Crime Early references to the copycat phenomenon appeared in the 1800s involving behaviors thought to be inspired by books. Sociologists in the 1970s examined the copycat phenomenon with respect to suicide suggesting that the suicide rate increases with the level of media coverage of suicide committed by a famous person. The criminological literature has been surprisingly silent on the subject of copycat crime in recent years The criminological literature has been surprisingly silent on the subject of copycat crime in recent years with the bulk of the writing and research on the subject by Surette (1990, 1998, 2002) and a handful of others (Black, 1990; Coleman, 2002; Fister, 2005; Peterson-Manz, 2002).
The Copycat Phenomenon and Criminal Behavior Cultural technological changes may be risk factors for criminal behavior. Cultural technological changes may be risk factors for criminal behavior. Relevance of the copycat phenomenon Relevance of the copycat phenomenon to all types of criminal behavior should be revisited. Integrative theoretical models offer a foundation for empirical investigation of copycat crime. Integrative theoretical models offer a foundation for empirical investigation of copycat crime. Research from multiple fields must be integrated to more fully understand the role the copycat effect has on criminal behavior.
Surette on Copycat Crime See Surette, R. (1998). Media, crime, and criminal justice: Images and realities. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. must have been inspired by an earlier, publicized crime there must be a pair of crimes linked by the media To be a copycat, a crime must have been inspired by an earlier, publicized crime there must be a pair of crimes linked by the media (Surette, 1998, p. 137). Copycat phenomenon affects crime in two ways: trigger 1) As a trigger creating crime that wouldnt otherwise occur turning law abiding citizens into criminals. shaper As a shaper giving ideas to already active criminals, molding rather than triggering crime.
Copycat Crime Revisited Its time to revisit and revive Surette and others work on copycat crime to develop an integrated theoretical framework for empirical research Its time to revisit and revive Surette and others work on copycat crime to develop an integrated theoretical framework for empirical research examining the influence of the copycat effect on criminal behavior. fiction may be more powerful than reality in terms of its power to inspire copycat crimes Copycat crime is often thought of in terms of crimes that mimic news representation of actual events. However, fiction may be more powerful than reality in terms of its power to inspire copycat crimes (Black, 1990; Fister, 2005). DEFINITION OF COPYCAT CRIME: A crime inspired by another crime that has been publicized in the news media or fictionally or artistically represented whereby the offender incorporates aspects of the original offense into a new crime.
Anecdotal Evidence of Copycat Crime CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) film associated with rape of a 17 year-old girl by male youths singing singing in the rain and string of brutal rapes and murders in Britain by men dressed similarly to the characters attributed to either the film or the book. Kubrick pulled the film in Britain in 1972 and it wasnt re-released there until 2000. CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951) - Mark David Chapman believed himself to be Holden Caulfield the main character in the book. He murdered John Lennon in 1980 after years of fixation on both Lennon and Caulfield. He is believed to have murdered Lennon because he viewed him as a phony, a term Caulfield used to refer to people. TAXI DRIVER (1976) John Hinckleys 1981 assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan was associated with the film. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after his attorneys argued he was fixated on the film, its characters, and actors (Jodi Foster), and that his obsession with the film was evidence that he had lost the distinction between reality and fiction. Hinckley was said to have used Taxi Driver as a primary script and John Lennons murder by Mark David Chapman as a secondary script in his assassination attempt. The film was played for jurors at his trial.
Anecdotal Evidence of Copycat Crime NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) - linked to a dozen murders in the U.S, Canada, and Europe and to school shooter cases including Columbine. Three copycats involved male/female pairs who went on murder sprees including the 1995 robbery/murder spree of 18 year-old Benjamin Darras and Sarah Edmondson that led to a civil suit against NBK director Oliver Stone that went to the U.S. Supreme court before it was dismissed in 2001; Four murders committed by 19 year-old Florence Rey and 22 year-old boyfriend Audry Maupin dubbed Frances Natural Born Killers"; and 1998 case involving Veronique Herbert and Sebastien Paindavoine who murdered a 16 year-old boy in a sex set-up right out of the film. THE MATRIX (1999, 2003) - Associated with a half a dozen murders. In several of the offenders trials (including D.C. Sniper shooter John Malvo), the Matrix was