Monday, October 01, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, October 1, 2007


NCJ 219642
Jeffrey A. Bouffard; Lisa R. Muftic
Effectiveness of Community Service Sentences Compared to Traditional Fines for Low-Level Offenders
The Prison Journal
Volume:87 Issue:2 Dated:June 2007 Pages:171 to 194

This study examined the recidivism rate of offenders receiving community service (CS) sentences relative to that of a comparison group of offenders sentenced using a traditional community-based sanction, criminal fines. The results for post-program recidivism presented in this study support the use of CS over another community-based sanction typically used with comparable types of less serious offenders, specifically traditional monetary fines. On a broader level, the apparent success of this CS program at reducing recidivism underlines the utility of innovative, alternative sanctioning efforts in general, in contrast to the reliance on incarcerative sentences. Although CS has been employed as a sanction for relatively less serious offenders in the United States for nearly 40 years, it is still a comparatively new and under researched form of correctional intervention. With this understanding, this study examined the recidivism rate of 200 offenders receiving CS sentences relative to that of a more appropriate comparison sample of 222 offenders sentenced using a traditional community-based sanction, criminal fines. The study expands previous research by asking three distinct questions. First, do CS offenders recidivate at lower rates than do fined offenders? Second, what factors are related to offending for offenders completing a CS sentence? Third, what impact does sentence type have on post-program recidivism? Tables and references

NCJ 219649
Shane D. Johnson; Wim Bernasco; Kate J. Bowers; Henk Elffers; Jerry Ratcliffe; George Rengert; Michael Townsley
Space-Time Patterns of Risk: A Cross National Assessment of Residential Burglary Victimization
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume:23 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:201 to 219

In an attempt to advance research that found in the wake of a residential burglary, that the risk to nearby houses is temporarily elevated; this study examined and compared patterns of burglary risk across a range of urban environments in different countries. For every dataset analyzed, more burglaries occurred close to each other in space and time than would be expected on the basis of chance, and the size of the effect typically conformed to expectation. The results confirm that burglary clusters in space, as well as when a burglary occurs at one location, a further burglary is likely to occur nearby and that it will do so swiftly. As time elapses, this communication of risk decays. The literature shows that victims experience an elevated risk of crime in the months that follow an initial event which has implications for crime prevention. The central aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that near-repeat victimization is an ever-present phenomenon. Using techniques developed in the field of epidemiology, patterns of burglary in two different areas in each of five separate countries were explored with confirmatory results emerging. Tables, figures, and references

NCJ 219670
Lorraine Mazerolle; Sacha Rombouts; James McBroom
Impact of COMPSTAT on Reported Crime in Queensland
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management
Volume:30 Issue:2 Dated:2007 Pages:237 to 256

This study investigated the impact of Queensland Police Service’s version of COMPSTAT, called Operational Performance Reviews (OPRs), on reported crime. A significant decrease in the total number of reported offenses in Queensland was associated with the implementation of OPRs by the Police Service. OPRs had the most significant impact on lowering reported unlawful entries into dwellings and unlawful entry into other properties. OPRs also appeared to be a cost-effective way of managing crime. During the study period, approximately AUD$1,162,175 was saved as a result of the OPRs implementation. The findings thus suggest that COMPSTAT and the OPRs process are effective at reducing crimes, particularly property-related crimes. The authors suggest that modifications to the COMPSTAT/OPRs process may generalize its effects beyond property-related crimes. Future research should focus on a State-by-State analysis of the implementation of COMPSTAT-like programs within the context of economic, political, and social trends in order to understand the role of the COMPSTAT process in lowering crime in Australia. Data were drawn from the monthly reported offenses data for the State of Queensland, Australia for the period between July 1995 and June 2004. The research into the impact of the OPRs implementation was examined using a quasi-experimental design that assessed the magnitude and direction of the intervention on reported crime incidents. Data were analyzed using time-series forecasting. Tables, figures, notes, references

NCJ 219664
Jeffrey A. Bouffard
Predicting Differences in the Perceived Relevance of Crime's Costs and Benefits in a Test of Rational Choice Theory
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume:51 Issue:4 Dated:August 2007 Pages:461 to 485

This study provided a test of rational choice theory by allowing participants to develop their own set of relevant consequences for three hypothetical offenses in order to evaluate how several demographic and theoretical factors impacted the relevance of those consequences. Results indicated that individual factors were predictive of the perceived relevance of several cost and benefit types. Specifically, older participants were more concerned with the potential social consequences of shoplifting and with injuring others while driving drunk. Participants with prior offending experience but with no law enforcement contact were less likely to perceive legal costs as relevant to the decision of whether or not to shoplift. On the other hand, the hypothesized positive impacts of higher levels of social bonding and higher levels of self-control did not affect the perceived relevance of social and legal costs to the offenses under question. The findings highlight the importance of developing a full understanding of fundamental issues regarding the types of consequences attended to by different groups of people when they contemplate criminal behavior. Future research should examine whether the relationships between personal characteristics and consequence relevance generalizes to other types of samples. Participants were 212 male and female undergraduate students recruited from an introductory-level course at a medium-sized university. Participants read a series of hypothetical offending scenarios in survey format and responded to questions related to their likelihood of engaging in similar behaviors. Scenarios included a shoplifting incident, a drunk driving incident, and a physical fight at a party. Following the questions regarding the likelihood of engaging in those particular behaviors, participants then developed their own lists of the likely consequences, indicating their perceived level of certainty and severity. Data were analyzed using a series of multivariate logistic regression models. Tables, appendix, references

NCJ 219648
Michael Planty; Kevin J. Strom
Understanding the Role of Repeat Victims in the Production of Annual U.S. Victimization Rates
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume:23 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:179 to 200

This study highlights the problems with and implications of the way in which high-volume victims, repeat victims are handled in the production of United States annual crime estimates. The practice of excluding repeat victimization or series incidents in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) victimization incidence rates is problematic. While there is a significant increase in victimizations when series incidents are counted as reported, these findings must be tempered by the increase in year-to-year estimate instability. Exclusion creates a larger and more serious error than inclusion. One possible solution is to count series incidents as one victimization. Another solution is to count series incidents as the actual number of victimizations reported by the respondent. However, a viable solution is to count the actual victimizations reported by series incidents and report both incidence and prevalence rates. This inclusion would present a more complete and accurate picture of victimization, and more importantly, of repeat victimization, than the incidence rate alone. Future research is recommended in the development of an improved understanding of the characteristics of those persons who suffer repeat victimization, and of series incidents in particular. Victimization incidence rates produced from the NCVS are a generally accepted annual indicator of the amount and type of crime in the United States. However, persons who report a large number of similar victimizations, known as series victimizations in the NCVS, are currently excluded in government reports of annual violent victimizations. This paper quantifies the effect of series incident counting procedures on national estimates of violent victimization. Tables, figures and references

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