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Questions tagged [criminology]

The study of criminal behavior in both the individual and within a given society.

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Is the USA murder rate at a high? Specifically is it at a 45 year high?

Current US President Donald Trump is on record as repeatedly saying that "The murder rate is the highest it's been in I guess 45-47 years." Is that true?
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Were there 18 school shootings in the US from Jan 1 to Feb 14, 2018?

CBC Radio (Canada) reported earlier this evening that the Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School "was the 18th school shooting in the U.S. since the beginning of 2018.". On its face ...
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In the US, are illegal immigrants more likely to commit crimes?

Trump has claimed numerous times that part of the reason we need to close the border is that the illegal immigrants are prone to crimes. I want to check these claims. Are illegal immigrants more ...
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7answers
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Are crime rates up by 10% in Germany?

On June 18th and 19th, 2018, the President of the United States, Donald Trump tweeted that the crime rate in Germany has increased: (1) Tweet from June 18th, 2018 (2) Tweet from June 19th, 2018 ...
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Is it illegal for regular US citizens to possess or read the Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks?

While referring to the the Podesta emails which were leaked by WikiLeaks this week, CNN's Chris Cuomo said on live TV: Also interesting is, remember: It's illegal to possess these stolen ...
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On average in the US, is there a mass shooting 9 out of every 10 days?

Reading the New York Times today, I came across this very amusing "tourism video" touting the benefit of visiting/moving to Australia, namely, "You Won't Get Shot". Don’t Get Shot in America. Live in ...
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Have phone scammers recorded “Yes” statements to fraudulently authorise payments?

A number of sources claimed that phone scammers would trick people into saying "Yes" on the phone, record it, and use that to fraudulently authorise payments. Here is a January 2017 Fortune magazine ...
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1answer
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Did a thief think he could conceal his identity from security cameras by putting lemon juice on his face?

McArthur Wheeler, a man who robbed two banks after covering his face with lemon juice in the mistaken belief that, because lemon juice is usable as invisible ink, it would prevent his face from being ...
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Do 1 in 2 Swiss citizens have guns and do they have the lowest crime rate?

I came across a facebook post by an Australian political party that states 1 in 2 citizens in Switzerland have guns Lowest crime rate in the world Are the above two statements true? (...
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Is gun control effective?

I have seen numerous arguments about gun control, in the sense of laws restricting gun ownership or possession, and whether widespread gun possession affects crime rates, and each side is happy to ...
68
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1answer
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Are black Americans responsible for more than 50% of homicides?

I have read comments and articles (an example) that claim that blacks are responsible for more than 50% of all homicides in the United States of America. How credible is this claim?
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Has the marijuana black market in Colorado increased since the state repealed its state laws prohibiting it?

Jeff Hunt, the Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University, wrote in a recent opinion piece in USA Today: In the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related ...
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Is the death penalty an effective deterrent?

There is a lot of clutter from anti-death penalty sites, which makes it hard to find all the research. They often cite statistics like those explained in this website, including the chart below that ...
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4answers
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Has Trump's administration been making more human trafficking arrests than the Obama administration?

I come across this image below circulation on the internet. The image is comparing the human trafficking arrests during Trump's and Obama's administrations. Are these figures true?
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4answers
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Was a 15-year-old teen sentenced to 15 years because he took 5 seconds to stop intercourse with an 18-year-old?

This story has been floating around in image form. Is it as ludicrous as it is presented, or are there nuanced facts being left out? Did it even happen? The 18-year-old woman (“J.L.”) had sex in ...
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3answers
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There isn't "a single case - not one - in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit.”

While reading about recent evidence that casts strong doubt on whether Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas in 2004, was actually guilty I ran across the following statement in the ...
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Is there a high chance of being raped in US prisons?

If there is anything one takes away about US prisons from television and movies, it is that there is a really high chance of you getting raped in the shower or in some other dark place. Now, I don't ...
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Can anything remove fingerprints from your fingers?

Here's where it gets interesting; I don't mean erase them from an object, I mean from your fingers directly. Some people claim there is a way to do it, some people claim it's impossible. I have a ...
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1answer
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Do murderers tend to return to the scene of the crime?

It is commonly heard that murderers (or other criminals) "always return to the scene of the crime". Well, that's certainly false for all murderers. However, it is suggested that murderers do have a ...
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2answers
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Has a programmer ever embezzled money by shaving fractions of a cent from many bank transactions?

There's a popular story that describes a programmer having altered a program at a bank so it diverted fractions of a cent from every transaction to another account (or some variation like multiple ...
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2answers
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Do atheists commit far fewer crimes?

According to a post by latimes.com, "How secular family values stack up": Atheists were almost absent from our prison population as of the late 1990s, comprising less than half of 1% of those ...
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1answer
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Do involuntary “microexpressions” betray liars?

I believe that it is Paul Ekman who is primarily responsible for suggesting that when people lie, their faces exhibit fleeting "microexpressions" that reveal their underlying beliefs. It would be a ...
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Is the increasing availability of high speed internet pornography reducing sex crime rates?

Some early studies show that the availability of pornography does not increase the rate of sex crimes. Research on pornography has generally been of various types (Tovar, Elias, & Chang, 1999)....
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Has anyone innocent ever been arrested because of contraband that was planted in their luggage?

There is a question on travel.SE asking what to do if some culprit planted contraband in your luggage. There are some links provided to cases where this is suspected to have happened. Being able to ...
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3answers
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Are 1 in 5 college women raped?

In this article, it is claimed that 1 in 5 college women are raped (at least around the 2013-2014 time period). I have heard the claim repeated from other sources (such as the BBC, which was ...
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Can acts of IP piracy be more beneficial than harmful?

There are several claims that piracy of Intellectual Property (IP) can help sales more than it hurts them. For example, Edmund McMillan of Team Meat states in an interview at IGN: McMillen ...
34
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1answer
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Are there 2-3m illegal migrants with criminal records in the USA?

President-Elect Trump has said that he plans to deport or jail between 2 million and 3 million illegal migrants in the USA who have criminal records. US President-elect Donald Trump has said he ...
34
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1answer
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Are atheists strongly underrepresented in US prison communities?

This popularly referenced survey gives statistics about the number of atheists in US prisons. It suggests just 0.21% of the prison population is atheist. There are more scientologists! This is ...
32
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1answer
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Does the death penalty in California cost more than $300m per execution?

In the talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John Oliver was arguing against the death penalty and showed the following image claiming that the death penalty cost more than $300m per execution ...
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2answers
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Do rapists think rape is normal?

I have found the following statement on an article of feminism: Do you know who think all men are rapists? Rapists do. They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes ...
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2answers
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Does increased gun ownership in the US correlate with a reduction in violent crime rates?

This is somewhat of the converse of the question Is Gun Control Effective: A quote of famous musician and gun advocate Ted Nugent has been making the rounds on the Internet again lately: Where you ...
30
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1answer
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Are more crimes committed during a full moon?

It is a common belief that more crime is committed during a full moon. I rationalised this by assuming criminals used the increased moon light to aid them in their criminal activities with out really ...
30
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1answer
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Did violent gun crime rates rise in Australia after the 1996 gun control laws?

In 1996 Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) which greatly restricted the option to legally own some types of guns by private citizens. The activist site, World Public Union claims ...
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1answer
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Do car alarms provide a significant reduction in automobile theft?

Noise That movie got me thinking, because it makes a number of claims about car alarms that jive with my personal feelings about them. They're noisy, obnoxious, tend to go off at night, and are ...
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0answers
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Does banning fictional portrayal of child abuse reduce actual child abuse?

The United Kingdom's Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (part 2, chapter 2) makes possession of images portraying fictional child abuse punishable by law. Wikipedia has a summary, but here's a snip from ...
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Did the legalisation of abortion result in lower crime rates?

In the book Freakanomics, the author speculated that due to the legalization of abortion in the US, crime rates fell because the people that would normally go out and commit these crimes, well they ...
27
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1answer
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Are there between 100,000-300,000 child sex slaves in the United States today?

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore state this as part of the "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" campaign. CNN - There's between 100,000 and 300,000 child sex slaves in the United States today," Ashton Kutcher ...
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1answer
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Did any satanic cult ever commit organised ritual murders or sacrifices?

In Manhattan Beach, CA in 1983 members of the McMartin family were accused of a variety of abuse charges against the children in their care. It was reported that the children: "were ...
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2answers
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Have more U.S. senators been arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than trans women?

I just saw this in my Facebook feed, and now I'm curious if it's actually true. Do they actually keep records of this? It seems improbable, just because there are so many more trans women than ...
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1answer
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Were US crime rates significantly lower in 2011 than in 1992?

While watching this video, it makes the claim at about the 12 minute mark that US crime rates are lower across the board. It then shows a graph that lists various violent crimes with numbers in ...
24
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2answers
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Have one in ten women suffered rape in the UK?

A recent survey in the UK claims that about 10% of women have been raped but that most do not report the incident even to friends. In the words of one news report: One in 10 women has been raped, ...
24
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2answers
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Do professional assassins exist?

It's a common trope in movies that certain people, either spies or mercenaries, specialize in assassination. (An apparently well-paying but wearing specialty, since generally the assassins are freshly ...
24
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5answers
888 views

Profiling in criminal cases

Criminal profiling is very popular in fictional crime shows, but also used in reality. A profiler uses the known data about the case to create a profile of the person that commited the crime. This ...
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Is this graph of “mass shootings” backed up by reliable data?

There's this graph on the internets: But I was unable to find any sources of the data. Most of the sites that present the graph seem to be politically oriented. Is this backed by any hard data?
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Have only 5% of U.S. inmates received a trial?

According to this article, 95% of inmates in the U.S. have never received a trial, choosing a plea bargain to avoid potentially punitive sentencing if found guilty. The reality is that almost no ...
23
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1answer
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Are African Americans victims of a disproportionate number of police killings?

Many people are currently arguing that African Americans are being killed by police disproportionately to their percentage of the US population. An example of the claim is given at Mapping Police ...
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2answers
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Have Iceland's police only ever shot one person dead?

Is it true that Iceland's police force(s) have only shot and killed one person ever? Bloomberg reports (December 3, 2013): Icelandic police shot dead a man who refused to stop firing at them with ...
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Are “burglar codes” used to target homes for crime?

There is a common trope which has been going round for years that there are a series of chalk-marks used by burglars to indicate possible targets. There have been multiple news stories about this ...
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1answer
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In the USA, are there more African American men in prison than in college?

I read in a book that "as the next millennium begins, there are more young black men in prison than in college." Jury Nullification by Clay S Conrad (Kindle edition, Dec 2013 loc: 343). (First ...
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Are white people more likely to commit mass murder in the United States?

There have been several claims in the media that white men are more likely to commit mass murders. I've seen rather strong evidence that the vast majority of these crimes are committed by men, so I ...