Target Selection by Criminal Groups and Gangs



This chapter examines the difference between the approach of forensic sociology and forensic psychology in the selection of targets by criminals engaged in violent crimes. In addition, it explores differences, if any, between target selection by individuals versus criminal groups and gangs. Finally, the role of the forensic sociologist as an expert witness in civil cases resulting from violent crime is discussed. These differences are discussed in the context of workplace violence and the different types of workplace violence. The legal definitions of the foreseeability of the crime and the standard of care required according to the law, and as used by a forensic sociologist, are presented. Finally, CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) is shown as one example of how a forensic case is evaluated. The research of nearly 1,000 criminals over several decades is used to compare the differences between how targets are selected—whether according to the victim or the location, whether it is being committed by an individual or a group, whether there are differences in target selection, based upon race or age, and the role of guns, among other sociological and psychological variables. Based on the results of these surveys and the findings from legal cases, the outcome is a new forensic model of the “Evolution of a Violent Event.” The most intriguing findings from the surveys of criminals are how consistent the results are over the decades and how little the common criminals change over time, either with regard to their approach to target selection or the methods of carrying out the crime. The criminals, whether they operate alone, in groups, or gangs, gain their power from guns.


Violent Crime Gang Member Criminal Group Convenience Store Violent Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Athena Research CorporationLafayetteUSA

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