Chapter 1: Introduction Next Chapter

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Homicide is a topic that holds an incredible fascination for academic researchers as well as the American public. To get some sense of this fascination, one need only scan the current offerings of U.S. popular culture, ranging from the nightly news to popular fiction to various components of the electronic media (television, motion pictures, music, etc.). On the other end of an information spectrum, a search of academic references using the key words murder or homicide will produce enough citations to tie up a library printer for an inordinately long period.

Unfortunately, the “facts” about homicide are often jumbled along this information spectrum, and what the public frequently believes to be true about various aspects of homicide may not be supported by empirical evidence. Too ...

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