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Unformatted text preview: Criminal Behavior Theories, Typologies, and Criminal Justice J.B. Helfgott Seattle University CHAPTER 10 The Influence Of Technology, Media, & Popular Culture The On Criminal Behavior: Copycat Crime & Cybercrime The Influence Of Technology, Media, & Popular Culture On Criminal Behavior: Copycat Crime & Cybercrime “Life is like a video game. Life Everybody’s got to die sometime.” Everybody’s -- 18 year-old Devin Moore Technology-Related Risk Factors for Criminal Behavior “Technology changes everything, crime included” (Clarke, 2004) Criminologists can no longer ignore the ways in which Criminologists media and computer technology shape criminal behavior. With the unprecedented exposure to and influence of behavior. 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 Technology reality, and provides a virtual realm that mediates conscience. This has important implications for the study of conscience criminal behavior. Technological advances have impacted criminal behavior in three ways: 1) Mass Communication Technology has transformed media Mass and popular culture into a powerful influence on offender behavior. 1) Computer Technology has created new avenues and Computer different opportunities for criminal behavior. 1) Investigative Technology has altered methods used by Investigative offenders and the types of crimes they engage in. Technology-Related Subtypes Copycat Crime Cybercrime • Copycat crime and cybercrime are likely to become a significant part of the crime landscape in the 21st 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 Electronic media because there is a larger at-risk pool of individuals who media can be criminally influenced (Surette, 1990) We live in a “Historically unprecedented context of hyperaestheticized mass-culture” (Black, 1991,p. 136). hyperaestheticized as an information source. This increases the probability that as Technologies have become more culturally dominant Technologies 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. system. 7 in 10 families with children own a computer and have a video-game 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 Pop cultural artifacts are criminogenic – criminogenic contribute to real-life crime. 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 The on the subject of copycat crime in recent years with the on 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 Cultural factors for criminal behavior. factors Relevance of the copycat phenomenon to all types the of criminal behavior should be revisited. Integrative theoretical models offer a foundation Integrative 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. To be a copycat, a crime “must must have been inspired by an earlier, publicized crime … there must be a pair of crimes linked by the media” (Surette, pair 1998, p. 137). Copycat phenomenon affects crime in two ways: 1) As a trigger – creating crime that wouldn’t otherwise occur trigger turning law abiding citizens into criminals. As a shaper – giving ideas to already active criminals, molding shaper rather than triggering crime. Copycat Crime Revisited It’s time to revisit and revive Surette and others’ work on It’s copycat crime to develop an integrated theoretical framework for empirical research examining the influence of the framework copycat effect on criminal behavior. representation of actual events. However, fiction Copycat crime is often thought of in terms of crimes that mimic news may be more powerful than reality in terms of its power to inspire copycat crimes (Black, 1990; Fister, 2005). crimes DEFINITION OF COPYCAT CRIME: DEFINITION A crime inspired by another crime that has been publicized in the news media or crime 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 wasn’t 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 Hinckley’s 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 Lennon’s 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 “France’s 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 woven into the defendant’s insanity defense. In at least two cases (Lynne Ansley in Ohio in 2002 and Vadim Mieseges San Francisco in 2003) the “matrix defense” resulted in a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity. GRAND THEFT AUTO VICE CITY (2002) –18 year-old Devin Moore allegedly played the game for hours before stealing a car and gunning down two police officers and a 911 dispatcher in 2003. When captured he said “Life is like a video game. Everybody’s got to die some time.” At trial, it was revealed that he was a compulsive violent video game player who suffered from childhood abuse-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Moore’s attorney’s argued the “GTA defense” -- that he lost touch with reality and was acting out the virtual violence in GTA. Despite his attorney’s efforts, the GTA defense was unsuccessful and Moore was sentenced to death in 2005. Cultural Artifacts Associated with Copycat Crime – Examples … Heathers (film) Taxi Driver (film) Catcher in the Rye (novel) The Secret Agent (novel) Ice T’s Cop Killer (music/lyrics) Dungeons & Dragons (role playing game) Slayer (heavy metal band) Beavis & Butthead (cartoon) Jack Ass (TV show/film) The Basketball Diaries (novel/film) Sopranos (TV show) Scream (film) Doom/Doom II (computer game) Grand Theft Auto (computer game) Thelma & Louise (film) Mapplethorpe (photographer) Gone in 60 Seconds (film) Money Train (film) Burning Bed (TV movie) Marilyn Manson (musician) Starsky & Hutch (TV show) Menace II Society (film) TV news and print news media Child’s Play 3 (film) Battle Royale (film) Empirical Research on Copycat Crime Surette (2002) surveyed 68 incarcerated male serious and violent juvenile offenders and found that 26% indicated they had committed a crime they had seen or heard about in the media. The most seen common copycat practice is borrowing media crime techniques. Peterson-Manz (2002) compared homicides from 1990-1994 (9,442 cases) with news reports of murder and found that the numbers of homicides were significantly greater in the two weeks following front page news articles covering homicide. Integrating Theoretical Models Surette (1998) – Copycat Crime Coleman (2002) – The Copycat Effect Black (1990) – The Aesthetics of Murder Ferrell (1999) – Cultural Criminology Ferrell & Hamm (1998) – Criminological Verstehen Bryant & Zillman (2002) – Media Effects Research Gerbner (1994) – Cultural Indicators Project Anderson et al (2000, 2003) – Media/Video game violence Harvey (2002) – Celebrity Obsession Manning (1998) – Media Loops Newman (1998) – Decoding Film Violence Jhally(1999); Katz (2006) – Gender, Violence, and Media Media Effects Research: Theoretical Mechanisms (Sparks & Sparks,2002) Catharsis Social Learning/ Arousal Desensitization Cultivation and Imitation Priming Fear Media effects research has shown that media violence Media produces short-term increases in aggression by triggering an automatic inclination toward imitation, enhancing autonomic arousal, and priming existing cognitive scripts (Anderson & Dill, 2000; Anderson et cognitive al, 2003) al, Factors that Influence Media Effects Individual Differences (Oliver, 2002) Media Source (Manning, 1998; Newman, 1998) Relationship to Media Source - Affinity between images and viewer (Black, 1990; Gerbner, 1994; Katz, 1999, 2006). Sanders, 1998; Newman, 1998) Cultural and Subcultural Factors (Ferrell & The Importance of Individual-Level Analysis from Multiple Perspectives “The precise psychological role media played [in The documented media-mediated crimes] is never clear – nor can it be, until we are able to map a brain like a computer hard drive” (Atkinson, 1999, ¶8). computer Critics of media violence watchdogs argue that many people consume violent media every day and do not mimic the violent media images they see. Cognitive scripts are individually-learned cultural products that serve as guides for future behavior (Anderson, et al, 2003). Cognitive scripts play an important role in determining who is and who is not influenced by specific stimuli including media images. Research from cognitive psychology coupled with phenomenological perspectives (e.g., Katz, 1989; Ferrell’s, 1999/ “Criminological Verstehen”) enable researchers to understand the meaning of behavior to a particular individual. Factors that Influence Copycat Crime Individual Criminogenic Factors Characteristics of Media Source Relationship to Media COPYCAT CRIME Demographic Factors Cultural Factors Continuum of Influence of Media and Popular Culture on Criminal Behavior LOW Minor influence (e.g., idea from film or news regarding minor aspect of modes operand, minor shaper) HIGH Major influence (e.g., Loss of boundary between fantasy and reality, severe psychopathology, major trigger ) The Criminogenic Effects of Computer Technology Computer technology has also had a major influence on criminal behavior. Computer technology, in particular the Internet, has created a virtual space to commit a new type of crime called cybercrime CYBERCRIME: Activities in which computers and other technological devices are used for illicit purposes.. 4 Elements of Cybercrime LOCATION – Where offender is in relation to crime. VICTIM – Target of offense – government, corporation, organization, individual OFFENDER – Who the offender is in terms of OFFENDER demographics, motivation, level of sophistication. ACTION – What is necessary to eliminate threat ACTION Features of Cybercrime Cybercrime is distinct in that: The offender is not present at the crime scene The primary victim is most often an institution Offender characteristics and motive are heterogeneous Control involves global, technologically sophisticated, and political and indirect strategies. Cybercrime is harder to detect than traditional crime and as a result most cybercriminals are never caught. What distinguishes cybercrime above and beyond other features is the intangible environment within which such offenses are committed which creates unlimited opportunities of offenders. Two Categories of Cybercrime COMPUTER AS TARGET: Theft of computer COMPUTER hardware and software copyright infringement. COMPUTER AS INSTRUMENT OR INCIDENTAL: COMPUTER Computer used as means to commit crime or for storage for crime-related activities that involve technology only to the extent that information is digitalized and contained within a computer. Crimes of the Future – How Technology Shapes Criminal Behavior Technology has changed the modus operandi of criminal elements throughout history and current technological advances have changed the physical environment in which crime occurs. Media and computer technology have changed the nature of social life in such profound ways that no behavior is immune to its influence. Technology shapes M.O. behavior, exacerbates some Technology types of offenses, and creates entirely new motivational influences and categories of criminal behavior. Challenges Identify the risk factors for copycat crime and cybercrime and the types of crimes and criminals cybercrime most influenced by media and pop culture. Understand the nature and dynamics of medianature mediamediated crime and cybercrime. Sort out the constructive and destructive media characteristics that mediate or exacerbate characteristics copycat crime. Important Questions Left Unanswered How does technology specifically alter, minimize, or How exacerbate the potential for mimetic crime? As computer technology exacerbate becomes more sophisticated and video and other virtual reality games more realistic, is there more/less potential for cathartic versus criminogenic effects of virtual violence? Does the technological sophistication of today’s and future Does youth increase or decrease the likelihood of mimetic crime and violence? Are children who are born and grow up with mass media technology more and or less likely to be criminogenically influenced by it? What individual, social, cultural, phenomenological factors What determine level of severity along the continuum of pop culture and media influence? Is there an empirically identifiable cluster of factors that Is the pop culture-crime relationship at individual and aggregate levels? constitute an individual, culture, or context at high risk for copycat crime? How can quantitative and qualitative methods be combined to examine copycat Suggestions for Future Empirical Research See Lloyd, B.T. (2002). A conceptual framework for examining adolescent identity, media influence, and social development. Review of General Psychology, 6 (1), 73-91. Psychometrically sound instruments that quantify media Psychometrically influences. Measures should assess range of media technology (e.g., influences. film, music videos, Internet) to assess nature/extent of influence. Identification of individual and ecological variables Identification predictive of consumption patterns and differential views of media. Individual factors (e.g., gender, age, ethnicity) and ecological factors of (e.g., peer culture) likely play a key role in the perception of media images and their integration into an individual’s personal identity. Increased precision in conceptualizing media influences Increased on specific developmental tasks and behaviors (such as risk on taking behavior, maladaptive cognitive processing, criminal aggression). Examination of individuals who identify with prosocial Examination media messages to understand the range of positive and negative outcomes. media Summary Technology, media, and popular culture shape offender motivation, modus operandi, and play a role in neutralizing guilt and providing justification for offenders’ actions. It is important to consider technology as a potential risk factor for criminal behavior for some individuals. Technological influences on criminal behavior exist along a continuum. Copycat crime and cybercrime as two distinct subtypes of criminal behavior that involve technological influence. Technology will play an increasingly salient role in influencing offender motivation and modus operandi in a segment of offenses and it is important that criminological theory and research examine technology as a risk factor for criminal behavior.. Discussion Questions Explain how technology influences criminal behavior and discuss whether Explain or not you agree/disagree that it is important for criminologists to focus st attention to the role of technology in shaping crime in the 21 century. attention Are copycat crime and cyber crime meaningful (and homogeneous) crime Are categories? Are these types of crime best viewed theoretically as subtypes or supertypes of criminal behavior? Review the different cultural artifacts that have been linked to copycat cases in Box 10.1. What, if any conclusions can be drawn from examining this list of anecdotal evidence? If you were asked to design an empirical study to examine the copycat phenomenon, how would you design such a study? In other words, how can criminologists move beyond anecdotal accounts of copycat crime to study the phenomenon empirically? accounts Discussion Questions Continued One interesting question to consider is whether or not children who are One st born and grow up with mass media technology in the 21 century are born more or less likely to be negatively-criminogenically influenced by it. Do you think children who grow in a world where media technology is a normal part of everyday life have a healthier relationship to media than th individuals who grew up in the 20 century (e.g., such as such as John individuals Hinckley who committed his copycat offense what Joel Black has referred to as the 1980s “aesthetic age of hyperreality”)? Discuss. referred As computer technology becomes more sophisticated and video and As other virtual reality games more realistic, do you think there will be more/less potential for cathartic versus criminogenic effects of virtual violence? Discuss. violence? ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/10/2011 for the course STATS 202 taught by Professor Emil during the Spring '11 term at Aberystwyth University.

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