Cross-National Crime: A Research Review and Sourcebook

Cross-National Crime: A Research Review and Sourcebook

Cross-National Crime: A Research Review and Sourcebook

Cross-National Crime: A Research Review and Sourcebook

Synopsis

This book describes various types and sources of crime and explanatory data available to study variation in crime across nations. Problems with the data and appropriate methods for adjusting and analyzing the data are described. A thorough review of theories and past cross-national crime research is included. This book intends to facilitate and stimulate quality cross-national crime research.

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to stimulate and facilitate cross-national research on crime. Such research is necessary to avoid the insular and ethnocentric focus which dominates most crime research and public discourse. To elucidate the causes of crime, we cannot be constrained and biased by a particular situation. In the absence of a comparative frame of reference, it is not possible to distinguish speculative from actual causes of crime. Trying to explain a nation's crime problem by studying only that nation is like trying to explain crime at the individual level by studying just one person.

Without a comparative perspective with which to determine the causes of--and policies to combat---crime, we are often guided by intuition, political opportunism, and ethnocentrism. Cross-national crime research is necessary to determine the socioeconomic and cultural contexts that contribute to crime. Quality research on what is associated with crime across nations makes it much more difficult for opportunists to exploit a particular situation within a nation. By helping us distinguish specific from general and mediated causes, cross-national research complements rather than replaces intranational research. Given the very large differences in amounts and types of crimes across nations, research among nations on national attributes associated with crime variations should contribute greatly to our understanding of the causes of crime.

Cross-national crime research should be of interest to investigators and policy makers in virtually all nations. Indications are that crime has been increasing globally in the recent past and is likely to continue to do so in the future (Stephens, 1994; U.N., 1992, 1993b, 1995a). Several United Nations conferences have concluded that crime is a major concern in all its member nations (e.g., U.N., 1993a, 1996). Also, the apparent increase in transnational . . .

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