Crime and Context
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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.
KeywordsDeliberate ICT Impulsive Police investigation School shooting threat
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.
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