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Monday, 25 October 2010

Firearms,victims, witnesses and splitting hairs

For a crime to have occurred there has have been an offender or offenders. Offenders are usually human beings though a corporate bodies can be offenders in rare cases.  Because people occupy space and time  (and so must corporate bodies because of laws regarding jurisdiction) it can be said that a crime always has a location and a time, that is, where the perpetrators are when the crime are committed. As I have discussed in a recent post there can be more than one location and time if an offence is a continuing one or where there is a victim or victims who are at different locations or where the crime, though "victimless" is one which the perpetrator can affect remotely.

Now why am I splitting hairs like this? Well the crime commission process is extremely important in the analysis of the occurrence of crime. The more precisely the factors that are involved in the occurrence of crime are understood and defined the more precise the resulting analysis will be.

For a crime to occur therefore there has to be three factors offender(s), location(s) and time(s).  This is a slightly different angle on the Problem Analysis Triangle from Problem Oriented Policing (POP) shown below
 This has been taken from the Centre for Problem Oriented Policing website that can be found here
Above is my graffiti emendations. Firstly offenders commit offences or crimes not problems, secondly as I have shown throughout this blog time is extremely important and is always present (forgive the pun) with place.  Now the third factor which is not always present (eg driving offences) are; a victim (eg theft, assault, etc), a target (eg goods to steal or damage) or a commodity (eg illegal drugs, firearms etc).

So yesterday I showed location. Today in the graph above I show the gender and age characteristics of the victims and witnesses of crimes involving firearms. This brings me on to another concept. Who is affected by crime? The victim obviously, but probably those that witnessed it as well if it was a violent or frightening event as many crimes involving firearms are. That is the reason why I have shown both graphs. The reason for the jagged peaks is because these are often estimated ages and these at often estimated at 5 year periods.

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