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

Overview

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...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

Recommended Reading and References

  1. Beeghley L (2003) Homicide: a sociological explanation. Roman & Littlefield, LanhanGoogle Scholar
  2. Black D (1995) The epistemology of pure sociology. Law Soc Inquiry 20:829–870Google Scholar
  3. Black D (1998) The social structure of right and wrong, Revisedth edn. Academic, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumstein A, Beck AJ (2005) Reentry as a transient state between liberty and recommitment. In: Travis J, Visher C (eds) Prisoner reentry and crime in America. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Catalano SM (2006a) Criminal victimization, 2005. US Department of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Catalano SM (2006b) Intimate partner violence in the United States. US Department of Justice, Washington, DC, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/intimate/ipv.htm
  7. Crowell NA, Burgess AW (eds) (1996) Understanding violence against women. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  8. DeFina RH, Arvanites TM (2002) The weak effect of imprisonment on crime: 1971–1992. Soc Sci Quart 83:635–653Google Scholar
  9. Dugan L, Nagin D, Rosenfeld R (1999) Explaining the decline in intimate partner homicide: the effects of changing domesticity, Women’s status, and domestic violence resources. Homicide Stud 3:187–214Google Scholar
  10. Dugan L, Nagin D, Rosenfeld R (2003) Exposure reduction or retaliation? the effects of domestic violence resources on intimate partner homicide. Law Soc Rev 37:169–198Google Scholar
  11. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2006) Crime in the United States 2005. US Department of Justice, Washington, DC, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/
  12. Felson MK (2002) Crime and everyday life, 3rd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  13. Felson RB (2004) Predatory and dispute-related violence: a social interactionist approach in routine activity and rational choice. Adv Criminol Theory 5:103–125Google Scholar
  14. Gillis AR (1996) So long as they both shall live: marital dissolution and the decline of domestic homicide in France, 1852–1909. Am J Sociol 101:1273–1305Google Scholar
  15. Gottfredson M, Hirschi T (1990) A general theory of crime. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  16. Greenwood PW, Karyn Model C, Rydell P, Chiesa J (1998) Diverting children from a life of crime. RAND Corporation, Santa MonicaGoogle Scholar
  17. Hughes KA (2006) Justice expenditure and employment in the united states, 2003. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  18. Kleck G, McElrath K (1991) The effects of weaponry on human violence. Soc Forces 69:669–692Google Scholar
  19. Kornhauser RR (1978) Social sources of delinquency: an appraisal of analytic models. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  20. Langan PA, Levin DJ (2002) Recidivism of prisoners released in 1994. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  21. Laub JH, Sampson RJ (2003) Shared beginnings, divergent lives: delinquent boys to Age 70. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  22. Levitt SD (1996) The effect of prison population size on crime rates: evidence from prison overcrowding litigation. Quart J Economics 111:319–352Google Scholar
  23. Levitt SD (2002) Deterrence. In: Wilson JQ, Petersilia J (eds) Crime: public policies for crime control. ICS Press, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  24. Levitt SD (2004) Understanding why crime fell in the 1990s: four factors that explain the decline and six that do not. J Econ Perspect 18:163–190Google Scholar
  25. Liedka RV, Piehl AM, Useem B (2006) The crime-control effect of incarceration: does scale matter? Criminol Public Policy 5:245–276Google Scholar
  26. Marvell TB, Moody CE (1994) Prison population and crime reduction. J Quant Criminol 10:109–139Google Scholar
  27. Messner SF, Rosenfeld R (2007) Crime and the American dream, 4th edn. Wadsworth, BelmontGoogle Scholar
  28. Petersilia J (2003) When prisoners come home: parole and prisoner reentry. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Reiss AJ Jr, Roth JA (eds) (1993) Understanding and preventing violence. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  30. Rosenfeld R (1997) Changing relationships between men and women: a note on the decline in intimate partner homicide. Homicide Stud 1:72–83Google Scholar
  31. Rosenfeld R (2004) The case of the unsolved crime decline. Sci Am 290:68–77Google Scholar
  32. Rosenfeld R (2007) Explaining the divergence between UCR and NCVS aggravated assault trends. In: Lynch JP, Addington LA (eds) Understanding crime statistics: revisiting the divergence of the NCVS and the UCR. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 251–268Google Scholar
  33. Russell DEH (1990) Rape in marriage. Indiana University Press, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
  34. Sampson RJ, Laub JH (1993) Crime in the making: pathways and turning points through life. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  35. Sherman LW (1992) Policing domestic violence: experiments and dilemmas. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Tonry M (1996) Malign neglect: race, crime, and punishment in America. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Tonry M (2004) Thinking about crime: sense and sensibility in American penal culture. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Travis J (2005) But they all come back: facing the challenges of prisoner reentry. Urban Institute Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. Wellford CF, Pepper JV, Petrie CV (eds) (2004) Firearms and violence: a critical review. National Academies Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  40. Wolfgang ME (1975/1958) Patterns in criminal homicide. Patterson Smith, MontclairGoogle Scholar
  41. Zimring FE (2007) The great American crime decline. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Zimring FE, Hawkins G (1997) Crime is not the problem: lethal violence in America. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

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