Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Understanding Homicide and Aggravated Assault

  • Richard Rosenfeld
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_692


This entry considers the cultural meanings, empirical patterns, theoretical explanations, and social responses connected with homicide and aggravated assault. The paper addresses:
  • Homicide and aggravated assault trends in the United States over the past several decades

  • Cross-national comparisons of homicide and assault

  • Characteristics of victims, perpetrators, and incidents

  • The relationship between victims and perpetrators

  • Theories of violence

  • Policies to reduce violent crime

The main empirical patterns in homicide and serious assault are easily summarized, less easily explained. Rates of homicide and aggravated assault have exhibited substantial volatility in the United States, rising to peak levels by the early 1990s and then falling over the next decade to 30-year lows. Cross-national comparisons reveal strikingly higher rates of homicide, but not assault, in the United States than other developed nations. In all nations where they have been recorded, rates of homicide and...

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This entry is adapted from Rosenfeld, Richard. 2009. Homicide and serious assaults. In Michael Tonry (ed) Oxford handbook on crime and public policy. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 25–50.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Missouri-St. LouisSt. LouisUSA