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Publications - 2019

 

Police legitimacy in Trinidad and Tobago: Resident perceptions in a high crime community

Author(s):

Dr. Ericka Adams

Violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago has increased over the last two decades, yet the police have been largely unsuccessful in reducing violence. Between 1999 and 2016, the murder rate increased by 475 percent. Despite the fact that the murder rate has increased, approximately 76 homicides are cleared each year, resulting in a low homicide clearance rate. Using 40 semi-structured interviews with community members from a high crime, low-income community in Trinidad and Tobago, this study examines residents’ experiences with police officers, and respondents’ willingness to work with the police to clear criminal cases. The results indicate that due to a lack of institutional trust, citizens are unwilling to trust and work collaboratively with most police officers. Policy implications from this research will be discussed.

Publishing information:

Adams, E. B., (2019). Police legitimacy in Trinidad and Tobago: Resident perceptions in a high crime community. Journal of Crime and Justice. First published online. doi: 10.1080/0735648X.2019.1582350


Determination of vehicle speed from recorded video using reverse projection photogrammetry and file metadata

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

The prevalence of security and in-car video has increased the number of motor vehicle accidents captured on digital video. However, inconsistencies in how to accurately determine time and distance for vehicle speed has led to examinations with varying results. A potential solution for calculating time intervals is to use frame timing, accurate to 0.0001 seconds, contained within many digital video file metadata. This paper examines a fatal motor vehicle accident where frame timing information was used with distance measurements from reverse projection photogrammetry to calculate vehicle speed. A margin of error was then calculated based on the accuracy in performing reverse projection photogrammetry distance measurements. The resulting speed calculation was then compared to Event Data Recorder data and found to be within an average of +/- 1.43538 MPH. Using specific time intervals may lead investigators to more accurate speed calculations, specifically those involving variable frame rate video.

Publishing information:

Epstein, B, & Westlake, B.G. (accepted). Determination of vehicle speed from recorded video using reverse projection photogrammetry and file metadata. Journal of Forensic Sciences.


Prisoner Reentry in the United States

Author(s):

Dr. John Halushka

This chapter provides an overview of current literature on prisoner reentry in the United States with a particular focus on ethnographic studies. The first section explores how former prisoners navigate conditions of severe poverty following incarceration. During the period following release, former prisoners struggle to establish employment and independent housing, and mostly rely on family, friends, and public assistance agencies to meet their basic material needs. This daily grind of poverty survival has a devastating effect on their physical and emotional wellbeing and ultimately undermines successful reintegration. The next section explores prisoner reentry as a political project. It begins with an overview of current efforts to get “smart-on-crime,” particularly efforts to reduce corrections costs by rehabilitating offenders in less costly community settings. The chapter then journeys into various community settings to explore how frontline service providers in parole offices, residential treatment facilities, and workforce development programs attempt to rehabilitate offenders. The chapter concludes with an analysis and critique of current efforts to reform the criminal justice system. While current efforts to get “smart-on-crime” represent a welcome departure from “tough-on-crime” politics of the past, these reforms do not go nearly far enough to challenge the political roots of mass incarceration.

Publication information:

Halushka, John. 2019. “Prisoner Reentry in the United States.” Chapter 42 in The Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice, edited by Peter Raynor, Fergus McNeill, Faye Taxman, Chris Trotter, Pamela Ugwudike, and Hannah Graham. In Press.


Social Structures and Penal Change: Marxist Critiques of Punishment in Late Capitalism

Author(s):

Dr. Alessandro De Giorgi

This chapter offers a critical analysis of neo-Marxist theories of punishment. The first section of the chapter provides a reconstruction of the two main perspectives that have emerged within the materialist criminological tradition: (1) the so called “revisionist histories of punishment” of the 1970s, whose main contribution has been to uncover the existence of a historical connection between the emergence of modern penality (i.e., the transition from the medieval “spectacles of suffering” to the disciplinary prison) and the consolidation of a capitalist system of production based on wage labor (i.e., the birth of the industrial factory); (2) the neo-Marxist critiques of contemporary penality, which have further developed the materialist framework in an attempt to analyze the structural relations between transformations in penal politics and the ongoing restructuring of the capitalist economy. The second section of the chapter describes some critiques that have been raised against the materialist perspective–more specifically, a tendency to overlook the politico-institutional dimensions of penality, a lack of comparative perspective, an almost exclusive focus on prisons to the exclusion of other institutions of social control such as the police, an excessive emphasis on the instrumental side of penal practices at the expense of the discursive/symbolic dimension of punishment. The third section addresses the main challenges facing neo-Marxist theories of punishment today, and envisions some possible new directions of research in this field—namely, the construction of a political economy of penality in the age of Neoliberal capitalism, the elaboration of a materialist critique of the control of labor migrations in a global economy, and the reconnection of the instrumental and symbolic dimensions of penality under a broader critical framework able to shed light on the complex intersections of racial and class power in the reproduction of capitalism.

Publication information:

De Giorgi, A. (forthcoming in 2019) Social Structures and Penal Change: Marxist Critiques of Punishment in Late Capitalism. In S. Farris, B. Skeggs, A. Toscano (eds.) TheSAGE Handbook of Marxism. London: Sage.


‘I’ve risen up from the ashes that I created’: Record clearance and gendered narratives of self-reinvention and reintegration

Author(s):

Dr. Ericka Adams

This study analyzes interviews of 40 persons with criminal records (18 women, 22 men) to examine their expectations and experiences of expungement. Both men and women seek opportunities for personal gain through record clearance, but women are more motivated by moral and religious influences and concern about reputation. Women are more likely than men to acknowledge personal flaws, and to desire to replace criminal identities with law-abiding identities. As women redefine their identities, caregiving is especially important as a personal obligation and professional aspiration. Record clearance is particularly compatible with women’s motivations, willingness to change, and personal and professional goals.

Publishing information:

Chen, E. Y., and Adams, E. B. (2019).‘I’ve risen up from the ashes that I created’: Record clearance and gendered narratives of self-reinvention and reintegration. Feminist Criminology 14:2, 143-172. doi: 10.1177/1557085117733796


The past, present, and future of online child sexual exploitation: Summarizing the evolution of production, distribution, and detection.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G. (2019). The past, present, and future of online child sexual exploitation: Summarizing the evolution of production, distribution, and detection. In T. Holt & A. Bossler (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of international cybercrime and cyberdeviance (pp.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian.


Publications - 2018

 

Impact of gangs on community life in Trinidad. Race and Justice.

Author(s):

Dr. Ericka Adams

Trinidad and Tobago has more than 100 criminal gangs, some of which engage in high levels of homicide and violence. Recent research has shown that gang members in Trinidad and Tobago are more likely than non-gang members to be arrested for violent, property, and drug crimes. As gangs continue to proliferate throughout the Caribbean, there is a pressing need to understand the nature of these gangs and their impact on the communities in which they are entrenched. Using data from interviews with community members, police officials, and gang members, as well as ethnographic observations from ten high crime, predominantly black communities in the Port of Spain area, this paper investigates the impact of gang violence and the role of gangs in these urban communities. Our findings reveal the dominant nature of certain gangs and their formidable role in controlling turf and using violence to retaliate and intimidate.

Publishing information:

Adams, E. B., Morris, P. K., and Maguire, E. R. (2018). Impact of gangs on community life in Trinidad. Race and Justice.First published online. doi: 10.1177/2153368718820577


Delineating victims from perpetrators: Prosecuting self-produced child pornography in Youth Criminal Justice System

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Video recording technology advancements and accessibility has been paralleled by a growth in self-produced child pornography (SPCP). Although social and judicial attention has been given to instances of teenage sexting, Internet-based forms of SPCP, such as webcam/website sex tourism, have almost been ignored. While some of the proposed legislation reform has referenced video-based SPCP, the majority has focused on SPCP distributed through cellular phones; excluding that which is manifested online or through entrepreneurial efforts. The purpose of this article is to introduce non- sexting SPCP, using the case study of Justin Berry (in the United States), and to propose a broad punishment, education, and counseling response from youth criminal justice systems (YCJS). Recommendations are meant as a starting point, framed with multiple YCJS structures, the duality of victim and perpetrator, the justice and welfare approaches to juvenile justice, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in mind.

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G. (2018). Delineating victims from perpetrators: Prosecuting self-produced child pornography in Youth Criminal Justice Systems. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 12(1), pp. 255-268. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1467907.


Review of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America" by James Forman, Jr.

Author(s):

Dr. John Halushka

Publication information:

Halushka, J. (2018) Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. Punishment and Society. First Published Online DOI:10.1177/1462474518777686


Fear of crime and behavioral adaptations: Testing the effects of fear of violence on unstructured socializing with peers

Author(s):

Dr. Wilson Yuan

This study examines whether fear of violent crime experienced by adolescents influences their involvement in unstructured socializing with peers. To test this relationship, we examine data on youth in Chicago collected as part of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). The results show that fear of violent crime in neighborhoods and at schools reduces participation in unstructured socializing with peers. However, this result was only observed for adolescents living in neighborhoods with low levels of concentrated disadvantage. This study provides insight into the consequences of fear of crime for individual behavior. Fear of crime can result in withdrawal from social situations, including avoidance of situations that increase risk for delinquency and victimization.

Publication information:

Yuan, Y., & McNeeley, S. (2018).Fear of crime and behavioral adaptations: Testing the effects of fear of violence on unstructured socializing with peers. Deviant Behavior, 39 (12) 1633-1646


Punishment, Marxism, and Political Economy

Author(s):

Dr. Alessandro De Giorgi

The political economy of punishment is a critical approach within the sociology of punishment that hypothesizes the existence of a structural connection between transformations of the economy and changes in the penal field. Inspired by a Marxist framework, this materialist critique of punishment explores—from both a historical and contemporary perspective—the relationships between the reorganization a society’s system of production and the emergence, persistence, or decline of specific penal practices. For example, materialist criminologists have investigated the parallel historical emergence of the factories as the main sites of capitalist production and of prisons as the main institutions of punishment in modern societies. Scholars in this field have also explored the correlations between incarceration rates and socioeconomic indicators such as unemployment rates, poverty levels, welfare regimes, and labor markets. Since it was first systematized by Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer in their seminal work Punishment and Social Structure (1939/1968), this materialist framework has been criticized in mainstream criminological literature for its alleged economic determinism. In particular, critiques have focused on the theory’s tendency to overlook the cultural significance of punishment and the politico-institutional dimensions of penality, as well as on its exclusive emphasis on the instrumental side of penal practices as opposed to their symbolic dimensions. In response to these critiques, recent works have tried to integrate the old political economy of punishment with epistemological tools from different disciplinary fields—cultural studies, feminist and critical race theory, poverty research, institutional theory, and immigration scholarship, among others—in order to overcome some limitations of the materialist approach and develop what might be defined as a cultural political economy of punishment. Particularly in its more recent iterations, the political economy of punishment provides a powerful lens to investigate recent transformations in the US penal field, such as the advent of mass incarceration and the current prison crisis.

Publication information:

De Giorgi, A. (2018) Punishment, Marxism, and Political Economy. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.


Immigration, illegality, and the law: Governance, equality, and Justice

Author(s):

Dr. Claudio Vera Sanchez

Publishing information:

Vera Sanchez, C.G. (2018). Immigration, illegality, and the law: Governance, equality, and Justice. In M. Guevara Urbina, & S. Espinoza Alvarez (eds.). Immigration and the law: Race, citizenship, and social control. University of Arizona Press.


Murder in a twin island paradise: Trends and strategies implemented to address criminal homicide in Trinidad and Tobago

Author(s):

Dr. Ericka Adams & Dr. Claudio Vera Sanchez

The purpose of this chapter is to explore homicide trends in Trinidad and Tobago, to describe the factors that impact the risk for homicide perpetration and victimization, and to discuss the effectiveness of strategies implemented by law enforcement agencies to prosecute homicide cases. The paper employs a detailed review of relevant literature to explore homicide trends and the strategies instituted to investigate and prosecute this criminal offense. Our findings suggest that homicide victimization and perpetration is concentrated among young men of African descent, who reside in underprivileged communities with a high population density. Gang violence prompted by a narco-drug economy, coupled with gun violence, accentuates the risk of homicide perpetration and victimization. As homicide rates remained high, law enforcement officials in Trinidad and Tobago were ill-equipped to investigate and make arrests in these offenses. This chapter adds to the literature on homicide in Trinidad and Tobago by (1) showing that geographic and demographic factors structure homicide victimization and (2) exploring how the political economy of drugs in the Caribbean contributes to murder.

Publishing information:

Adams, E. B., and Vera Sanchez, C. G. (2018). Murder in a twin island paradise: Trends and strategies implemented to address criminal homicide in Trinidad and Tobago. In Deflem, M. (Ed.). Homicide and Violent Crime (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Volume 23).Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.


Publications - 2017

 

Seeing the forest through the trees: Identifying key players in online child sexual exploitation distribution networks.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G., & Frank, R. (2017). Seeing the forest through the trees: Identifying key players in online child sexual exploitation distribution networks. In T. Holt (Ed.), Interdisciplinary research on cybercrime (pp.189-209). New York: Routledge.


 

Reactions to crime: A multilevel analysis of fear of crime and defensive and participatory behavior

Author(s):

Dr. Wilson Yuan

This study examines the associations between fear of crime and individual constrained behavior. Specifically, to address the inconsistent findings of previous research, we investigate how emotional fear of crime and perceived risk of victimization are associated with the use of defensive behaviors. We also extend previous research by examining the relationships between fear of crime and perceived risk and participatory behavior. The results of multilevel models based on survey data from Seattle show that fear of crime was positively associated with three individual defensive behaviors, and perceived risk was negatively associated with two participatory behaviors. The results suggest that emotional fear increases individualistic target-hardening behaviors, while perceptions of risk reduce participation in community-wide crime-prevention activities.

Publishing information:

Yuan, Y., & McNeeley, S. (2016). Reactions to crime: A multilevel analysis of fear of crime and defensive and participatory behavior. Journal of Crime and Justice, 39(4), 455-472.


 

Neighborhood context, street efficacy, and fear of crime. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

Author(s):

Dr. Wilson Yuan

Drawing on Bandura’s self-efficacy theory, the current study investigates the relationship between individuals’ perceived self-efficacy of avoiding unsafe situations and fear of violence in a neighborhood context. Specifically, it is hypothesized that adolescents who report higher levels of street efficacy are less likely to exhibit fear of violence than adolescents who report lower levels of street efficacy. Using panel data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, the authors estimate a series of multilevel ordinal logistic regression models to explain the relationship between street efficacy and fear of violence controlling for both individual-level and neighborhoodlevel covariates. The results confirm the hypothesis that adolescents’ prior street efficacy is negatively associated with subsequent fear of violence. The current study suggests that a social cognitive perspective should be incorporated into the fear of crime literature. Policy implications of the findings are discussed, along with suggestions for future research. Keywords fear

Publishing information:

Yuan, Y., Beidi, D., & Melde, C. (2017). Neighborhood context, street efficacy, and fear of crime. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 15 (2), 119–137


 

A multilevel examination of the code of the street’s relationship with fear of crime

Author(s):

Dr. Wilson Yuan

Research suggests that youths adopt the code of the street to reduce potential victimization, but it may increase actual risk of victimization. Because of this contradiction, the relationship between the code of the street and fear of crime may be an important component; however, fear of crime is an understudied component in the code of the street literature. This study conducts multilevel models to examine whether the code of the street is associated with perceived risk of victimization and emotional fear of crime. Individual belief in the code of the street was positively related to emotional fear of violent crime. At the neighborhood level, the code of the street was associated with higher perceived risk.

Publishing information:

McNeeley, S., & Yuan, Y. (2017). A multilevel examination of the code of the street’s relationship with fear of crime. Crime and Delinquency, 63 (9), 1146–1167


 

Context, network, and adolescent perceived risk

Author(s):

Dr. Wilson Yuan

Prior research has identified a list of individual attributes, along with neighborhood, school, and network characteristics, as potential factors affecting perceived risk. However, prior research has rarely investigated the simultaneous effects of these factors on perceived risk. This study uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth), supplemented with the 1990 census data, to examine the associations of neighborhood, school, and network characteristics and perceived risk among adolescents. To account for the overlaps between school districts and neighborhoods, we use crossclassified multilevel modeling (CCMM). Our analyses lead to two main findings. First, perceived risk appears to be context-specific. Perceived risk at school is mostly affected by school characteristics but not by neighborhood characteristics. Perceived risk in neighborhood is mostly affected by neighborhood characteristics but not by school characteristics. Second, network characteristics matter for both types of perceived risk and more so for perceived risk at school than in neighborhood. We find that, while having more friends is associated with a lower level of perceived risk, having more friends with delinquent and violent behaviors is associated with a higher level of perceived risk among adolescents.

Publishing information:

Yuan, Y., & Weihua, A. (2017) Context, network, and adolescent perceived risk. Social Science Research, 62, 378-393


 

How obvious is it: The content of child sexual exploitation websites.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Those who distribute child sexual exploitation (CE) material in the public Internet potentially face greater risks of detection. While public distribution is prevalent, little is known about the structure of these websites. We investigate whether websites take steps to hide their purpose, and, if so, what steps are taken? We analyze 634 websites directly or indirectly, via hyperlinks, connected to websites hosting known CE material, and compare our findings to an automated examination of the same websites. We determine whether the initial visual representation is congruent with the underlying structure and content identified in the automated data collection. Implications for understanding cybercriminal processes are discussed.

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G., Bouchard, M., & Girodat, A. (2017). How obvious is it: The content of child sexual exploitation websites. Deviant Behavior, 38(3), pp. 282-293. doi: 10.1080/01639625.2016.1197001.


 

Assessing the validity of automated webcrawlers as data collection tools to investigate online child sexual exploitation.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

The distribution of child sexual exploitation (CE) material has been aided by the growth of the Internet. The graphic nature and prevalence of the material has made researching and combating difficult. Although used to study online CE distribution, automated data collection tools (e.g., webcrawlers) have yet to be shown effective at targeting only relevant data. Using CE-related image and keyword criteria, we compare networks starting from CE websites to those from similar non-CE sexuality websites and dissimilar sports websites. Our results provide evidence that (a) webcrawlers have the potential to provide valid CE data, if the appropriate criterion is selected; (b) CE distribution is still heavily image-based suggesting images as an effective criterion; (c) CE-seeded networks are more hub-based and differ from non-CE-seeded networks on several website characteristics. Recommendations for improvements to reliable criteria selection are discussed.

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G., Bouchard, M., & Frank, R. (2017). Assessing the validity of automated webcrawlers as data collection tools to investigate online child sexual exploitation. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 29(7), 685-708. DOI: 10.1177/1079063215616818.


Erasing the mark of a criminal past: Ex-Offenders’ expectations and experiences with record clearance.

Author(s):

Dr. Ericka Adams

Through the process of record clearance, ex-offenders can have certain minor convictions removed from their criminal record or designated as expunged. This study analyzes data gathered from semi-structured interviews with 40 past offenders to examine the expectations of individuals who seek record clearance and the extent to which completion of the process facilitates efforts to reintegrate into society and desist from crime. The analysis finds that record clearance benefits ex-offenders through external effects, such as the reduction of barriers to employment, and internal processes, such as the facilitation of cognitive transformation and the affirmation of a new identity. These benefits accrue from both the outcomes of the record clearance process and from the process itself. Increased availability of inexpensive or free opportunities for expungement can contribute to more successful reintegration of ex-offenders into the workforce, families, and communities. Not only would this improve quality of life for the ex-offenders, but it could also increase public safety and reduce public spending.

Publishing information:

Adams, E. B., Chen, E. Y., and Chapman, R. (2017). Erasing the mark of a criminal past: Ex-Offenders’ expectations and experiences with record clearance. Punishment & Society 19:1, 23 – 52.doi: 10.1177/1462474516645688


Seeing the forest through the trees: Identifying key players in online child sexual exploitation distribution networks

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G., & Frank, R. (2017). Seeing the forest through the trees: Identifying key players in online child sexual exploitation distribution networks. In T. Holt (Ed.), Interdisciplinary research on cybercrime (pp.189-209). New York: Routledge.


Social ties, collective efficacy, and crime-specific fear in Seattle neighborhoods

Author(s):

Dr. Wilson Yuan

While research suggests that individuals’ interactions with their communities— such as their social integration into the community and perceptions of collective efficacy—impact their perceived risk of victimization, only a handful of studies have examined the influence of these characteristics on crime-specific, emotional fear. Using the Seattle Neighborhoods and Crime Survey, we conduct multilevel models to examine whether social ties and collective efficacy are associated with perceived risk and emotional fear of violence and burglary. The results show that individuals’ social ties to the community are negatively associated with perceived risk, but not emotional fear of violence or burglary, while perceived collective efficacy is negatively related to both cognitive and emotional fear. Moreover, the results suggest that individuals’ social integration into the community functions through perceptions of collective efficacy to predict perceived risk; however, this process does not extend to emotional fear of either violence or burglary.

Publishing information:

Yuan, Y., & McNeeley, S. (2017). Social ties, collective efficacy, and crime-specific fear in Seattle neighborhoods. Victims & Offenders, 12(1), 90-112.


Managing Rehabilitation: Negotiating Performance Accountability at the Frontlines of Reentry Service Provision

Author(s):

Dr. John Halushka

Based on a three-year ethnographic study of two prisoner reentry agencies, this article explores how frontline service providers negotiate the contradictory demands of performance accountability. Performance accountability systems—collectively known as the New Public Management (NPM)—force service providers to make difficult trade-offs between these managerial goals and the substantive goals of rehabilitation. However, we know little about how frontline service providers negotiate these competing demands. I show how, despite efforts to develop distinct organizational brands, both organizations I studied responded to performance pressures and resource constraints according to a set of practices I call “defensive institutionalism.” This involved strategies designed to protect organizational resources from high risk clients by (1) filtering the client pool and (2) responsibilizing clients. While these practices allowed these organizations to reconcile managerial and substantive goals in situ, they did not resolve the underlying contradictions of New Public Management. New Public Management incentivizes service providers to pursue short-term, individuated approaches to rehabilitation, and it induces isomorphism rather than innovation. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for current efforts to implement “evidence-based” criminal justice policies.

Publishing information:

Halushka, J. (2017) Managing Rehabilitation: Negotiating Performance Accountability at the Frontlines of Reentry Service Provision. Punishment and Society 19(4): 482-502


The human trafficking debate: Implication for Social Work Practice

Author(s):

Dr. Yoko Baba

Human trafficking is one of the most challenging social problems of our time. The causes and consequences are intricately woven together and no easy solutions are readily available. Typically, efforts to reduce trafficking have focused on the consequences rather than the causes of the problem. In addition, these interventions have targeted either the trafficked individuals or the structures that perpetuate the problem. Literature also identified a lack of research on the needs of service providers and a need for developing cross-cultural problem solving strategies. In this paper, we argued that in order to better serve their clients social service providers need to be: a) attentive of historical and geopolitical contexts of their clients, b) cognizant of their own positionality and values and how these shape their perception of issues surrounding human trafficking, and c) able to promote mutual respect between their clients and themselves in order to arrive at solutions that ultimately empower the clients.

Publishing information:

Sen, S. & Baba, Y. (2017). The Human trafficking debate: Implication for Social Work Practice. Social Work and Society 15, 1, 1-16.


Publications - 2016

 

La détection de communautés au sein de réseaux criminels en ligne et ses implications pour les recherches en co-délinquance.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Publishing information:

Bouchard, M., & Westlake, B. (2016). yu In R. Boivin & C. Morselli (Eds.), Les réseaux criminels. Montreal: Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal.


 

Criminal careers in cyberspace: Examining website failure within child exploitation networks.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

Publically accessible, illegal, websites represent an additional challenge for control agencies, but also an opportunity for researchers to monitor, in real time, changes in criminal careers. Using a repeated measures design, we examine evolution in the networks that form around child exploitation (CE) websites, over a period of 60 weeks, and determine which criminal career dimensions predict website failure. Network data were collected using a custom-designed web-crawler. Baseline survival rates were compared to networks surrounding (legal) sexuality and sports websites. Websites con- taining CE material were no more likely to fail than comparisons. Cox regression analyses suggest that increased volumes of CE code words and images are associated with premature failure. Websites that are more popu- lar have higher odds of survival. We show that traditional criminal career dimensions can be transferred to the context of online CE and constitute some of the key determinants of an interrupted career.

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G., & Bouchard, M. (2016). Criminal careers in cyberspace: Examining website failure within child exploitation networks. Justice Quarterly, 33(7), pp. 1154-1181. doi: 10.1080/07418825.2015.1046393.


Liking and hyperlinking: Examining reciprocity and diversity in online child exploitation network communities.

Author(s):

Dr. Bryce Westlake

The online sexual exploitation of children is facilitated by websites that form virtual communities, via hyperlinks, to distribute images, videos, and other material. However, how these communities form, are structured, and evolve over time is unknown. Collected using a custom-designed webcrawler, we begin from known child sexual exploitation (CE) seed websites and follow hyperlinks to connected, related, websites. Using a repeated measure design we analyze 10 networks of 300+ websites each – over 4.8 million unique webpages in total, over a period of 60 weeks. Community detection techniques reveal that CE-related networks were dominated by two large communities hosting varied material –not necessarily matching the seed website. Community stability, over 60 weeks, varied across networks. Reciprocity in hyperlinking between community members was substantially higher than within the full network, however, websites were not more likely to connect to homogeneous-content websites.

Publishing information:

Westlake, B.G., & Bouchard, M. (2016). Liking and hyperlinking: Examining reciprocity and diversity in online child exploitation network communities. Social Science Research, 59(September), pp. 23-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.04.010.


Formal controls, neighborhood disadvantage, and violent crime in U.S. cities: Examining (un)intended consequences

Author(s):

Dr. Allison Martin

Purpose: This study examines the intended and unintended effects of formal social controls on violent crime within and across U.S. cities. Methods: Using data from the National Neighborhood Crime Study, we assess whether greater police arrest activity and jail incarceration risk are associated with lower violent crime rates across cities. We also investigate whether greater use of these formal social controls exacerbates the relationship between extreme neighborhood disadvantage and violent crime. Results: Results from multilevel analyses show that some formal controls (jail incarceration risk) reduce violent crime across cities, but other formal controls (police arrest activity) amplify the relationship between extreme neighborhood disadvantage and violent crime within cities. Conclusions: Two main conclusions can be drawn from our analyses. First, we found evidence that some formal controls do reduce violent crime, while others do not. Second, our results support scholars' arguments that formal controls have unintended consequences (e.g., Clear, 2007, 2008; Rose & Clear, 1998), specifically, by amplifying the effect of extreme neighborhood disadvantage on violent crime.

Publishing information:

Martin, A., Wright, E. and Steiner, B. (2016). Formal controls, neighborhood disadvantage, and violent crime in U.S. cities: Examining (un)intended consequences. Journal of Criminal Justice, 44(1), 58-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2015.12.005