Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • IS BURGLARY A VIOLENT CRIME? AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF CLASSIFYING BURGLARY AS A VIOLENT FELONY AND ITS STATUTORY IMPLICATIONS

    Author:
    Phillip Kopp
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Jon Shane
    Abstract:

    Under the common law, burglary is defined as a crime committed against the property of another, and is listed as a property offense for purposes of statistical description by the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). However, burglary is prosecuted and sentenced as a violent crime under habitual offender laws at the federal level, and can be regarded as violent in state law, depending on varied circumstances. Using a mixed methods approach, the current study compared state and federal burglary and habitual offender statutes to an empirical description of the offense. First, a comprehensive content analysis of the provisions of state burglary and habitual offender statutes showed that burglary is often treated as a violent crime, instead of prosecuting and punishing it as a property crime and then separately charging and punishing any violent acts that occasionally co-occur with it. Second, using data from the period1998-2007 from the NCVS and the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), results showed that in contrast to its statutory classification, burglary is overwhelmingly a non-violent offense. The reported incidence of actual violence or threats of violence during a burglary ranged from a low of 0.9% in rural and suburban areas, to a high of 7.6% in highly urban areas. Additionally, a victim was present during only 26% of all burglaries. These findings led the present study to recommend reform for state and federal burglary and habitual offender statutes to comport with the empirical description of the burglary characteristics provided. Furthermore, it is suggested that federal law should be amended to remove non-violent burglaries as a violent felony under habitual offender statutes, and instead, that burglary should be prosecuted and punished at a level equal with other non-violent property crimes, unless actual violence occurred during the offense.

  • Evaluation of the Effects of Shift work Assignment: A Survey of Motivation in Police Officers

    Author:
    Rainer Kroll
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    The detrimental health effects of a varied shift schedule on personnel were researched extensively. In fact, the culmination of this work was substantive policy changes, especially within the law enforcement field. While these policy changes were sound in principal, the implementation of invariable shift assignments to meet organizational requirements and the subsequent impact on personnel was documented less frequently. There was little research on employee motivation as a consequence of shift assignments. Partly a consequence of the implementation of organizational mandates with little regard for employee welfare, it was this employee/organization nexus that was inherently important to personal and organizational success. This relationship between employee motivation and shift assignments needed to be researched, and was the focus of this proposal. A Motivation Index, comprised of the various survey questions grouped together according to a specific factor, was created to allow analysis of specific effects of shift assignments on the employee's motivation. These factors were based on external-personal and internal-institutional variables. The analysis began with descriptive statistics of the data--mean, median, mode, range, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, bar chart, histogram, and significant correlations were presented. Additional analysis was conducted using principal components analysis, used to help reduce the data to outline patterns of relationships between the survey questions. These results were used to identify which clusters of variables shared variance and were considered most important to the survey respondent. The purpose of the analysis was twofold--to identify which factors were most meaningful to the survey respondent, and to incorporate these results into policy development in organizational behavior, specifically within the law enforcement community.

  • Evaluation of the Effects of Shift work Assignment: A Survey of Motivation in Police Officers

    Author:
    Rainer Kroll
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    The detrimental health effects of a varied shift schedule on personnel were researched extensively. In fact, the culmination of this work was substantive policy changes, especially within the law enforcement field. While these policy changes were sound in principal, the implementation of invariable shift assignments to meet organizational requirements and the subsequent impact on personnel was documented less frequently. There was little research on employee motivation as a consequence of shift assignments. Partly a consequence of the implementation of organizational mandates with little regard for employee welfare, it was this employee/organization nexus that was inherently important to personal and organizational success. This relationship between employee motivation and shift assignments needed to be researched, and was the focus of this proposal. A Motivation Index, comprised of the various survey questions grouped together according to a specific factor, was created to allow analysis of specific effects of shift assignments on the employee's motivation. These factors were based on external-personal and internal-institutional variables. The analysis began with descriptive statistics of the data--mean, median, mode, range, minimum, maximum, standard deviation, bar chart, histogram, and significant correlations were presented. Additional analysis was conducted using principal components analysis, used to help reduce the data to outline patterns of relationships between the survey questions. These results were used to identify which clusters of variables shared variance and were considered most important to the survey respondent. The purpose of the analysis was twofold--to identify which factors were most meaningful to the survey respondent, and to incorporate these results into policy development in organizational behavior, specifically within the law enforcement community.

  • A meta-analysis of the prediction of violence among adults with mental disorders

    Author:
    Hing Po Lam
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Karen Terry
    Abstract:

    The study of the risk for violence among persons with mental disorders has received substantial scientific attention over the past few decades; however, many uncertainties and controversies remain due to the wide disparities in the reported results. Using the state-of-the-art perspective of public health, a meta-analysis was conducted to clarify the ambiguities by synthesizing quantitative findings from 85 research reports (completed between January 1970 and May 2010) on violence risk assessment among mentally disordered adults. Results of this meta-analytic study revealed that the estimates of the prevalence of violence among the psychiatric population varied considerably from 1.1% to 78.4% with a combined mean rate of 19.3% (95% CI = 15.7-23.5%, k = 68, N = 160,206). Additionally, a total of 290 effect sizes were computed for 36 risk factors of interest and their relative strength in relation to violence was compared. Most importantly, this review demonstrated that mentally disordered patients were no more likely than their non-mentally disordered counterparts to commit violent acts. Overall, the findings have significant implications for clinicians, policy makers, researchers, and the general public, including the psychiatric patients. Lastly, a "Global Public Health-Comprehensive Meta-Analysis" (GPH-CMA) approach is proposed as a new direction for risk assessment and management.

  • Offending in Karachi's neighborhoods: An empirical test of the systemic model of social disorganization

    Author:
    Zainab Latif
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Amy Adamczyk
    Abstract:

    The systemic model of social disorganization posits that structural challenges impede the development of neighborhood networks responsible for informal social control, and thereby increase residents' involvement in crime. However recent studies suggest that in severely disadvantaged and isolated communities, even well-functioning networks may be unable to prevent offending, as a result of cultural and political economy factors such as legal cynicism and the legitimization of violence. This research examines the utility of the ecological framework in Karachi, and assesses the impact of key social disorganization indicators - ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility and concentrated poverty - on offending. It also examines the extent to which these impacts are mediated by variation in state legitimacy across Karachi's neighborhoods. The project draws on three sources of secondary data: census of Pakistan, election data, and jail admission records. The sample consists of 453 of Karachi's census tracts. Analyses include descriptive techniques to assess the utility of the ecological framework, multivariate regressions to examine direct and mediation effects, and structural equation models to test the significance of the entire complex models. Results display considerable variation across neighborhoods in offending, voting behavior and other sociological indicators. Two social disorganization factors - concentrated disadvantage and ethnic heterogeneity - as well as legitimacy, are each seen to have significant, positive, direct effects on total offending, violent offending and robbery. Results further suggest that concentrated disadvantage and mobility contribute to voting behaviors. These results have important implications for the application of ecological theories in general, and social disorganization in particular, in Karachi. The study also points to the importance of macro-social indicators such as voting behavior in explaining offending. Finally, results speak to the need for careful selection of multivariate regression models and the benefits of supplementing these techniques with SEM. However, it is suggested that further investigation into the nature of the micro-social processes underlying social disorganization, and a more rigorous understanding of the determinants of voting behavior and its ability to adequately represent attitudes toward state legitimacy will allow for more accurate application of these findings to the systemic model.

  • Counterfeiting: A Challenge to Forensic Science, the Criminal Justice System, and Its Impact on Pharmaceutical Innovation

    Author:
    Pauline Leary
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    John Reffner, Ph.D.
    Abstract:

    Counterfeit drugs threaten public health and present unique and complex challenges to the criminal justice system and the field of forensic science. Theft of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry has caused sickness and death, and it is necessary that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice. In some cases, threats to health and safety are short term; in others they are long term. This research describes these threats in detail. The problem is complex, and there are many important factors that need to be considered to successfully address the problem. Public-health challenges, drug-development challenges, legal challenges, issues of public policy, and financial considerations are all important aspects of the problem that need to be understood. This research describes these details so that appropriate solutions can be proposed. The field of forensic science struggles to establish analytical methods to identity composition and establish provenance of counterfeit goods. No method has been shown to be universally applied to achieve this goal. The use of field-portable instruments to detect and identify counterfeits in the field is important emerging technology. These instruments must work quickly and accurately. This research defines the challenges faced by the field of forensic science and proposes methods that may be used to address these challenges. This will enable forensic scientists to provide support to law enforcement and other members of the criminal justice and legal systems to successfully investigate and adjudicate these crimes.

  • Memorial Laws: Social and Media Construction of Personalized Legislation, 1994 -2005

    Author:
    Faith Leibman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Warren Benton
    Abstract:

    The purpose of the present study is to conduct an in-depth qualitative evaluation of the sociological traits of victims and the crime variables that appeared to be associated in some manner with the adoption of Memorial Laws in various states. The present study represents a first attempt to investigate Memorial Laws as a phenomenon.The study presents several important factors that it hypothesizes to be related to Memorial Law passage. These factors include socio-cultural conditions (e.g., fear of crime, publicity about victims and attention given by the media to victim attributes) and political activities (e.g., the dominant political ideology statewide, the political culture of a state), among others. The data used in this study consists of all Memorial laws enacted in state legislatures between 1994 and 2005. By examining a number of social, demographic, and political factors associated with Memorial Law enactment, this study seeks to increase our understanding of Memorial Laws.

  • Snitch or Good Samaritan: An Analysis of the Factors Influencing An Individual's Willingness to Share Information with Security Services

    Author:
    Lauren Leighton
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria (Maki) Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    As the ten year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks has now passed, it is evident that terrorism is still a legitimate threat and preeminent topic in popular discourse. The significance of the attacks has, in the years since, continued to shape and dictate the security portfolios of federal law enforcement agencies and intelligence services in the Western world. Traditionally, literature on terrorism has focused on the extremist act itself, the perpetrator(s), and to a lesser extent the victims. However, there is a lack of research looking at the role of the community in counterterrorism efforts. In order for security services to effectively combat terrorist activity occurring domestically, within Canada and the United States, procuring actionable intelligence is imperative. One of the best sources of actionable intelligence, pertaining to terrorist activity, is the community. Existing literature suggests that individuals are willing to contact the authorities with information pertaining to traditional criminal activity. An individual's likelihood of contacting the police and providing them with information has been found to be influenced by specific factors such as; race, age, and gender etc. However, in the post 9/11 world there is very little research on the likelihood of an individual reporting terrorist activity to the authorities. The aim of this exploratory study is to gain a better understanding of the factors (demographic, social network and/or community) that associate with an individual's willingness to contact the authorities (law enforcement, intelligence agencies) and share information with them pertaining to perceived or actual terrorist activity. Through an original survey comprised of hypothetical vignettes, depicting a variety of terrorist activity, insight will be garnered on the reporting tendencies of regular citizens when faced with extremist activity.

  • Community Policing & Counter Terrorism: Community Policing Philosophy as a Tool for Local LAw Enforcement to Counter Terrorist Activities

    Author:
    Charles Lieberman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    The phenomenon of terrorism has become an issue of great concern to society and the response of governments has varied throughout the world. For the purpose of this study, an act of terrorism will be operationalized as the use of force by non-state actors against a civilian population in an attempt to coerce a target audience to implement a political, economic, religious or ideological change. The United States (US) government has utilized a number of federal organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency, to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism both domestically and internationally. Although many local law enforcement agencies have received increased funding to address the phenomenon of terrorism, there has been limited research conducted to ascertain the changes implemented and the effectiveness of new programs and training. The state of preparedness of local law enforcement agencies in their proactive efforts to counter terrorism is shrouded in the dark. There has been practically no research in the area of mobilization of local communities in intelligence gathering and other proactive tools to counter terrorist activities. The local law enforcement response to the phenomenon of terrorism remains unknown for an overwhelming majority of departments in the US. The goal of this research study is to assess the feasibility of implementation of some of the most basic tenets of the community oriented policing philosophy in mobilization of the communities by local law enforcement agencies in their effort to become proactive in the fight against local and global terrorist threat. Through utilization of a number of focus groups in the Northeast region of the US the researcher measures and assesses the attitudes and perspectives of both law enforcement and non-law enforcement towards the possibility of engagement of community members in a proactive effort to counter terrorism on a local level. The focus on the local level is supported in part by recent academic studies that have found, in the case of actors involved with the commission of terrorist attacks in the US, the existence of spatial relationships among residence of actor, preparatory activities, and target selection. The research found support for community policing in proactive counter-terrorism.

  • Community Policing & Counter Terrorism: Community Policing Philosophy as a Tool for Local LAw Enforcement to Counter Terrorist Activities

    Author:
    Charles Lieberman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    The phenomenon of terrorism has become an issue of great concern to society and the response of governments has varied throughout the world. For the purpose of this study, an act of terrorism will be operationalized as the use of force by non-state actors against a civilian population in an attempt to coerce a target audience to implement a political, economic, religious or ideological change. The United States (US) government has utilized a number of federal organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency, to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism both domestically and internationally. Although many local law enforcement agencies have received increased funding to address the phenomenon of terrorism, there has been limited research conducted to ascertain the changes implemented and the effectiveness of new programs and training. The state of preparedness of local law enforcement agencies in their proactive efforts to counter terrorism is shrouded in the dark. There has been practically no research in the area of mobilization of local communities in intelligence gathering and other proactive tools to counter terrorist activities. The local law enforcement response to the phenomenon of terrorism remains unknown for an overwhelming majority of departments in the US. The goal of this research study is to assess the feasibility of implementation of some of the most basic tenets of the community oriented policing philosophy in mobilization of the communities by local law enforcement agencies in their effort to become proactive in the fight against local and global terrorist threat. Through utilization of a number of focus groups in the Northeast region of the US the researcher measures and assesses the attitudes and perspectives of both law enforcement and non-law enforcement towards the possibility of engagement of community members in a proactive effort to counter terrorism on a local level. The focus on the local level is supported in part by recent academic studies that have found, in the case of actors involved with the commission of terrorist attacks in the US, the existence of spatial relationships among residence of actor, preparatory activities, and target selection. The research found support for community policing in proactive counter-terrorism.