Studying and Preventing Homicide: Issues and Challenges


Edited by: M. Dwayne Smith & Margaret A. Zahn

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    A number of people have contributed to the preparation of this volume. First, our thanks are extended to Terry Hendrix, senior editor at Sage, for his patience and support with this project. Also, we owe a considerable debt of gratitude to the contributing authors for their perseverance and graciousness in addressing our many requests. A hearty “thank you” is also extended to three persons at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who assisted in chapter editing. Susan Masse, Smith's departmental administrative assistant, provided valuable suggestions for a number of revisions to early versions of the manuscripts. Graduate assistants Natalie Hicks and Terina Roberson were simply wonderful in their help, proving to be amazingly resilient while repeatedly combing through the chapters in search of those elusive departures from APA style! Finally, one of us (Smith) is especially appreciative for the support of Sondra Fogel—thanks, my dear; quite simply, I couldn't have done it without you.

  • Author Index

    About the Editors

    M. Dwayne Smith is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research interests center on differences in homicide rates across U.S. communities, and his work has appeared in publications such as American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Crime & Delinquency, Journal of Crime and Delinquency, and Social Forces. He is a member of the Homicide Research Working Group and currently serves as editor of the organization's journal, Homicide Studies: An Interdisciplinary & International Journal.

    Margaret A. Zahn is currently Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University. She has published extensively in the field of homicide for more than 25 years, is a frequent commentator on issues regarding youth violence and homicide, and is the principal investigator for a National Institute of Justice grant, Homicide and Social Policy in Three American Cities. She is a member of the Homicide Research Working Group and served as President of the American Society of Criminology in 1998.

    About the Contributors

    Kathleen Auerhahn is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, Riverside. She received her B.A. degree in sociology at Tulane University. Her primary interests are social control, sociology of law, and criminal justice policy evaluation. Her current projects include research on offender risk management and incarceration policy. Her publications include a chapter in the 1998 edition of Annual Review of Sociology (with Robert Nash Parker).

    William C. Bailey is Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Cleveland State University. He received the doctoral degree in sociology from Washington State University (1971). He has published numerous articles on crime and deterrence, capital punishment, and urban crime patterns.

    Angela Browne is Senior Soros Justice Fellow and Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health. She has published and spoken nationally on the short- and long-term effects of physical and sexual assault on women and children, patterns of assault and threat in couple relationships, and homicides between intimate partners. She has published numerous articles and book chapters and is the author of When Battered Women Kill (1987). She is also the author of both the American Medical Association and American Psychological Association review and policy statements on violence against women. Since 1988, she has acted as Consulting Psychologist to Bedford Hills Maximum Security Prison for women in New York State.

    Philip J. Cook is ITT/Terry Sanford Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Sociology at Duke University. He has authored a number of review articles and original research on the technology of violent crime and recently edited an issue of Law and Contemporary Problems titled “Kids, Guns, and Public Policy.” Other recent publications include The Winner Take All Society (with Robert H. Frank) and Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America (with Charles T. Clotfelter).

    Donald G. Dutton is Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Since 1979, he has served as a therapist in the Assaultive Husbands Project, a court-mandated treatment program for men convicted of wife assault. While providing therapy for these men, he developed a psychological model for intimate abusiveness. He has served as an expert witness in civil trials involving domestic abuse and in criminal trials involving family violence, including work for the prosecution in the O. J. Simpson trial. He has published more than 80 papers and three books, including The Domestic Assault of Women, The Batterer: A Psychological Profile, and The Abusive Personality.

    James Alan Fox is Dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. He has authored or coauthored 12 books, including Mass Murder, Overkill, and Killer on Campus. He has also published dozens of journal and magazine articles and newspaper columns, primarily on multiple murder, juvenile crime, workplace violence, and capital punishment. He often gives media interviews, lectures, and expert testimony, including eight appearances before the U.S. Congress and briefings with the White House and the Department of Justice on trends in juvenile violence.

    W. Rodney Hammond is Director of the Division of Violence Prevention and a Senior Behavioral Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a member of the Board of Governors of the National College of Professional Psychology. His recent research interests have focused on youth homicide and violence prevention as a public health concern. He is author and Executive Producer of the series Dealing With Anger: A Violence Prevention Program for African American Youth, a nationally recognized resource in the field of violence prevention.

    Darnell F. Hawkins is Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is also a faculty affiliate in criminal justice. He is editor of Homicide Among Black Americans (1986), Ethnicity, Race and Crime: Perspectives Across Time and Place (1995), and a forthcoming volume, Violent Crimes: The Nexus of Ethnicity, Race, and Class.

    Kathleen M. Heide is Professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida, Tampa. She received her B.A. degree in psychology from Vassar College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in criminal justice from the State University of New York at Albany. She is an internationally recognized consultant on homicide and family violence, as well as a court-appointed expert in matters relating to homicide, sexual battery, children, and families. In addition to her academic work, she is a licensed mental health counselor and serves as the Director of Education at the Center for Mental Health Education, Assessment and Therapy in Tampa.

    Gary LaFree is Professor of Sociology at the University of New Mexico, where he also directs the Institute for Social Research. His latest book, Losing Legitimacy (1998), examines the impact of social institutions on the rapid growth of U.S. crime rates in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the recent downturn in crime in the 1990s. He is currently using United Nations data to study homicide trends around the world.

    Matthew T. Lee received his M.A. in criminology from the University of Delaware and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology. In addition to homicide studies, his research focuses on issues related to corporate and governmental deviance. His most recent research has examined the social construction of deviance associated with the Ford Pinto case and the Cold War human radiation experiments.

    Jack Levin is Director of the Program for the Study of Violence and Social Conflict and the Brudnick Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University. He has authored or coauthored 18 books, including Hate Crimes, The Functions of Discrimination and Prejudice, Mass Murder, Overkill, and Killer on Campus. He has published some 100 articles in professional and trade journals on homicide, prejudice and violence, and social psychology. He frequently lectures, appears on national television, and is quoted by the press. He was recently honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as its Professor of the Year in Massachusetts.

    Ramiro Martinez, Jr., received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University and is currently an Associate Professor at The University of Delaware. His research interests include examining economic conditions, ethnicity, and levels of violence at the neighborhood level. He is also a member of the National Consortium on Violence Research and the Homicide Research Working Group.

    Cheryl L. Maxson is Associate Research Professor at the University of Southern California. Her research interests are in delinquency and violence, street gangs, and community and justice system responses to juvenile offenders. Recent coedited books include The Modern Gang Reader (1995) and Responding to Troubled Youth (1997). Current research projects concern community responses to community policing, homicide, juvenile violence in Los Angeles, and the assessment of a firearms/violence reduction project targeting youths.

    Patricia L. McCall is Associate Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University. Her recent research interests include the study of structural covariates of race-specific homicide and suicide, micromodeling of criminal careers, and the evaluation of delinquency prevention programs.

    James A. Mercy is Associate Director for Science of the Division of Violence Prevention in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. During his time at CDC, he has conducted and overseen numerous studies of the epidemiology of youth suicide, youth violence, homicide, and firearm injuries. Most recently, he has been testing the hypothesis that suicidal behavior may be contagious and working on a project to collate lessons learned from CDC's efforts to assist state and local health departments in establishing firearm injury surveillance systems.

    Mark H. Moore is Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy and Management at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Faculty Chair of the Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management. His research interests are in public management and leadership in criminal justice policy and management and in the intersection of the two. His most recent book is Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government. Other books include Buy and Bust: The Effective Regulation of an Illicit Market in Heroin, Dangerous Offenders: Elusive Targets of Justice, and Beyond 911: A New Era for Policing.

    Robert Nash Parker is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Robert Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His primary research interests are in the social-structural causes of violence. A recent focus involves the impact of alcohol use on homicide, especially variations in this impact across cultures and situational contexts. He is the author of Alcohol and Homicide: A Deadly Combination of Two American Traditions (with Linda Rebhun) and has published articles related to homicide in such journals as American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Criminology.

    Ruth D. Peterson is Professor of Sociology at Ohio State University. She received the doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1983. She has published a number of journal articles and book chapters that address such topics as interrelationships among racial residential segregation, social disadvantage, and crime; legal decision making and sentencing; and crime and deterrence.

    Marc Riedel is Associate Professor in the Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections at Southern Illinois University. He does research on prescribed and proscribed forms of violence. His articles on the death penalty and homicide have appeared in journals such as the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, and Temple Law Quarterly. His most recent book, Stranger Violence: A Theoretical Inquiry, was published in 1993. In 1985, he received the Herbert A. Bloch award from the American Society of Criminology for outstanding service to the society and the profession.

    Kirk R. Williams is Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado. His interests include criminology, deviance, and social control, but his research emphasizes violence, particularly intimate and youth violence. He has published widely in professional journals and has received a number of grants from national and state agencies, as well as several private foundations.

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