Advertisement

European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 407–423 | Cite as

Crime and Context

Comparing Conventional and ICT-Related School Shooting Threats
  • Emma Holkeri
  • Atte Oksanen
  • Pekka Räsänen
Article

Abstract

Through analyzing school shooting threats, this article exemplifies how new information and communication technologies (ICTs) associate with crime and their investigation. The empirical data set consists of the preliminary investigation reports of Finnish school shooting threats (n=40) investigated as crimes during 2010. A descriptive classification focusing on the suspects’ age, gender, and the police investigations of threats was conducted. It was found that ICT and conventional threats differentiated to a small degree from each other; however, police reacted more strictly to ICT threats. To explain this finding, a more elaborate qualitative analysis was conducted, focusing on threat details and motivation, ending in a data-driven typology of the threats. Despite the similarities, it was found that ICT threats were more often deliberate while conventional threats were more often impulsive. However, the deliberateness connected with intention to fulfill the threatened act was presented in only one single case, while in the remaining cases, the suspects’ intention was to gain something personally. This difference might have been one of the reasons for the stricter reaction by the police. To further test this, future research on the role of ICT in school shooting threats and other crimes is encouraged.

Keywords

Deliberate ICT Impulsive Police investigation School shooting threat 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank inspector Marko Savolainen from the Finnish police for his valuable help at the data collection phase of this research. We also thank the two anonymous referees of this journal for their insightful comments on the earlier versions of our manuscript.

References

  1. American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force. (2008). Are zero tolerance policies effective in schools? An evidentiary review and recommendations. American Psychologist, 63(9), 852–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bannenberg, B. (2011). Umgang mit Amokdrohungen an Schulen. Zeitschrift für Internationale Strafrechtsdogmatik, 5, 300–317.Google Scholar
  3. Baym, N. (2010). Personal connections in the digital age. Cambridge: Digital Media and Society Series.Google Scholar
  4. Böckler, N., & Seeger, T. (2013). Revolution of the dispossessed: School shooters and their devotees on the web. In N. Böckler, T. Seeger, P. Sitzer, & W. Heitmeyer (Eds.), School shootings: International research, case studies and concepts for prevention (pp. 189–215). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  5. Borum, R., Cornell, D., Modzeleski, W., & Jimerson, S. (2010). What can be done about school shootings? A review of the evidence. Educational Researcher, 39(1), 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bossler, A. M., & Holt, T. J. (2010). The effect of self-control on victimization in the cyberworld. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(3), 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyd, D. (2008). Why youth (heart) social network sites: The role of networked publics in teenage social life. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, identity, and digital media (pp. 119–142). The J. D. and C. T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Casey, E. (Ed.). (2011). Digital evidence and computer crime: Forensic science, computer and the internet (3rd ed.). Waltham: Academic.Google Scholar
  9. Cornell, D. G. (2007). The Virginia model for student threat assessment. Conference paper for PERI (Public Entity Risk Institute) symposium “Confronting violence in our schools: Planning, response, and recovery.” https://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/violence/virginia-model.pdf Accessed 4th of July 2014.
  10. Cornell, D. G. (2011). A developmental perspective on the Virginia student threat assessment guidelines. New Directions for Youth Development, 2011(129), 43–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornell, D., & Allen, K. (2011). Development, evaluation, and future directions of the Virginia student threat assessment guidelines. Journal of School Violence, 10(1), 88–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cornell, D., Sheras, P., Kaplan, S., McConville, D., Douglas, J., Elkon, A., McKnight, L., Branson, C., & Cole, J. (2004). Guidelines for student threat assessment: Field-test findings. School Psychology Review, 33(4), 527–546.Google Scholar
  13. Daniels, J., Buck, I., Croxall, S., Gruber, J., Kime, P., & Govert, H. (2007). A content analysis of news reports of averted school rampages. Journal of School Violence, 6(1), 83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Daniels, J., Volungis, A., Pshenishny, E., Gandhi, P., Winkler, A., Cramer, D., & Bradley, M. (2010). A qualitative investigation of averted school shooting rampages. The Counseling Psychologist, 38(1), 69–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Douglas, K. M. (2007). Psychology, discrimination and hate groups online. In A. Joinson, K. McKenna, T. Postmes, & U.-D. Reips (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of internet psychology (pp. 155–163). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Fein, R., Vossekuil, B., Pollack, W., Borum, R., Modzeleski, W., & Reddy, M. (2002). Threat assessment in schools: A guide to managing threatening situations and to creating safe school climates. Washington DC: United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education. http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_guide.pdf. Accessed 12 May 2014.
  17. Grabosky, P. (2001). Virtual criminality: Old wine in new bottles? Social & Legal Studies, 10(2), 243–249.Google Scholar
  18. Häkkänen, H. (2005). Finnish bomb threats: Offence and offender characteristics. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 8(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hargittai, E. (2010). Digital Na(t)ives? Variation in internet skills and uses among members of the “net generation”. Sociological Inquiry, 80(1), 92–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hawdon, J., Oksanen, A., & Räsänen, P. (2012). Media coverage and solidarity after tragedies: Reporting school shootings in two nations. Comparative Sociology, 11(6), 845–874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hawdon, J., Räsänen, P., Oksanen, A., & Vuori, M. (2014). Social responses to collective crime: Assessing the relationship between crime-related fears and collective sentiments. European Journal of Criminology, 11(1), 39–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hynninen, J., & Stenberg, J.-H. (2013). Kohdennettu väkivalta: Ennalta estäminen, uhka-arviointi ja riskinhallinta poliisissa. Haaste, 1(2013), 14–16.Google Scholar
  23. Investigation Commission of the Jokela School Shooting (2009). Jokela school shooting on 7 November 2007: Report of the Investigation Commission. Publications of the Ministry of Justice 2009:2. Helsinki: Ministry of Justice, Finland.Google Scholar
  24. Investigation Commission of the Kauhajoki School Shooting (2010). Kauhajoki school shooting on 23 September 2008: Report of the Investigation Commission. Reports and guidelines 39/2010. Helsinki: Ministry of Justice, Finland.Google Scholar
  25. Kaplan, S. G., & Cornell, D. G. (2005). Threats of violence by students in special education. Behavioral Disorders, 31(1), 107–119.Google Scholar
  26. Kaplan, A., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Katz, J. (1988). Seductions of crime: Moral and sensual attractions in doing evil. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Kiilakoski, T., & Oksanen, A. (2011). Cultural and peer influences on homicidal violence: A Finnish perspective. New Directions for Youth Development, 2011(129), 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kostinsky, S., Bixler, E. O., & Kettl, P. A. (2001). Threats of school violence in Pennsylvania after media coverage of the Columbine high school massacre: Examining the role of imitation. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 155(9), 994–1001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Larkin, R. W. (2009). The Columbine legacy: Rampage shootings as political acts. American Behavioral Scientist, 52(9), 1309–1326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lehdonvirta, V., & Räsänen, P. (2011). How do young people identify with online and offline peer groups? A comparison between UK, Spain and Japan. Journal of Youth Studies, 14(1), 91–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindberg, N., Oksanen, A., Sailas, E., & Kaltiala-Heino, R. (2012a). Adolescents expressing school massacre threats online: Something to be extremely worried about? Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 6(39), doi:10.1186/1753-2000-6-39.Google Scholar
  33. Lindberg, N., Sailas, E., & Kaltiala-Heino, R. (2012b). The copycat phenomenon after two Finnish school shootings: An adolescent psychiatric perspective. BMC Psychiatry, 12(91), doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-91.Google Scholar
  34. Livingstone, S., Haddon, L., Görzig, A., & Ólafsson, K. (2011). Risks and safety on the internet: The perspective of European children. Full findings. London: London School of Economics and Political Science.Google Scholar
  35. Madfis, E. (2014). Averting school rampage: Student intervention amid a persistent code of silence. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 12(3), 229–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McKenna, K. Y. A., & Bargh, J. A. (2000). Plan 9 from cyberspace: The implications of the internet for personality and social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4(1), 57–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meloy, J. R., Hoffmann, J., Guldimann, A., & James, D. (2012). The role of warning behaviors in threat assessment: An exploration and suggested typology. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 30(3), 256–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd edn.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Muschert, G. W., & Madfis, E. (2013). Fear of school violence in the post-Columbine era. In G. W. Muschert, S. Henry, N. L. Bracy, & A. A. Peguero (Eds.), Responding to school violence: Confronting the Columbine effect (pp. 13–33). Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  40. Muschert, G. W. & Peguero, A. A. (2010). The Columbine effect and school antiviolence policy. In M. Peyrot & S. L. Burns (Eds.), New approaches to social problems treatment (pp. 117–148). Research in social problems and public policy, 17. Bingley: Emerald Group.Google Scholar
  41. Näsi, M. (2013). ICT disparities in Finland: Access and implications. (Dissertation). Turku: Publications of University of Turku, series B, 366.Google Scholar
  42. Ngo, F. T., & Paternoster, R. (2011). Cybercrime victimization: An examination of individual and situational level factors. International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 5(1), 773–793.Google Scholar
  43. O’Toole, M. E. (2000). The school shooter: A threat assessment perspective. Quantico: Critical Incident Response Group & National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, FBI Academy http://www.popcenter.org/problems/bomb_threats/PDFs/O’Toole_nd.pdf. Accessed 12 May 2014.
  44. Oksanen, A., & Keipi, T. (2013). Young people as victims of crime on the internet: A population-based study in Finland. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care, 8(4), 298–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Oksanen, A., Räsänen, P., Nurmi, J., & Lindström, K. (2010). This can’t happen here! Community reactions to school shootings in Finland. Research on Finnish Society, 3, 19–27.Google Scholar
  46. Oksanen, A., Nurmi, J., Vuori, M., & Räsänen, P. (2013). Jokela: The social roots of a school shooting tragedy in Finland. In N. Böckler, T. Seeger, P. Sitzer, & W. Heitmeyer (Eds.), School shootings: International research, case studies and concepts for prevention (pp. 189–215). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Paton, N. E. (2013). Media participation of school shooters and their fans: Navigating between self-distinction and imitation to achieve individuation. In G. Muschert & J. Sumiala (Eds.), School shootings: Mediatized violence in a global age (pp. 203–229). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  48. Payne, S. R. T., & Elliott, D. S. (2011). Safe2Tell®: An anonymous, 24/7 reporting system for preventing school violence. New Directions for Youth Development, 2011(129), 103–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Runions, K. C. (2013). Toward a conceptual model of motive and self-control in cyber-aggression: Rage, revenge, reward, and recreation. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(5), 751–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Savolainen, M. (2013). Koulu-uhkaukset heikentävät oppilaitosten ilmapiiriä. Haaste, 2(2013), 18–19.Google Scholar
  51. Savona, E. U., & Mignone, M. (2004). The fox and the hunters: How IC technologies change the crime race. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 10(1), 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Scheithauer, H., & Bondü, R. (2011). Amoklauf und School Shooting: Bedeutung, hintergründe und prävention. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.Google Scholar
  53. Silverman, D. (2006). Interpreting qualitative data: Methods for analysing text and interaction (3rd edn.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Twemlow, S. W., Fonagy, P., Sacco, F. C., & Vemberg, E. (2002a). Assessing adolescents who threaten homicide in schools. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 62(3), 213–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Twemlow, S. W., Fonagy, P., Sacco, F. C., O’Toole, M., & Vemberg, E. (2002b). Premeditated mass shootings in schools: Threat assessment. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(4), 475–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wall, D. S. (2007). Cybercrime: The transformation of crime in the information age. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  57. Witte, J. C., & Mannon, S. E. (2010). The internet and social inequalities. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  58. Yar, M. (2005). The novelty of ‘cybercrime’: An assessment in light of routine activity theory. European Journal of Criminology, 2(4), 407–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yar, M. (2006). Cybercrime and society: Crime and punishment in the information age. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Research, Economic SociologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.School of Social Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

Personalised recommendations