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Article
Publication date: 20 April 2018

Anthony Gennaro Vito, Elizabeth L. Grossi and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of racial profiling when the traffic stop outcome is a search using focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the issue of racial profiling when the traffic stop outcome is a search using focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation for police officer decision making and propensity score matching (PSM) as a better analysis to understand the race of the driver.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study come from traffic stops conducted by the Louisville Police Department between January 1 and December 31, 2002.

Findings

The results show that the elements of focal concerns theory matter most when it comes to if a traffic stop that resulted in a search even though racial profiling was evident. The use of PSM provides evidence that it is a better statistical technique when studying racial profiling. The gender of the driver was significant for male drivers but not for female drivers.

Research limitations/implications

The data for this study are cross-sectional and are self-report data from the police officer.

Practical implications

This paper serves as a theoretical explanation that other researchers could use when studying racial profiling along with a better type of statistical analysis being PSM.

Social implications

The findings based on focal concerns theory could provide an explanation for police officer decision making that police departments could use to help citizens understand why a traffic stop search took place.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its kind to the researcher’s knowledge to apply focal concerns theory with PSM to understand traffic stop searches.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2020

Emily M. Homer and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this study is to use crime mapping techniques to examine geographic patterns of signed deferred and non-prosecution agreements across federal districts. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to use crime mapping techniques to examine geographic patterns of signed deferred and non-prosecution agreements across federal districts. The purpose is also to examine the variation in the number of agreements by the district since 1992.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses data from the Corporate Prosecution Registry to examine geographic patterns in federal corporate agreements since 1992 (n = 534). Choropleth mapping techniques were used to create national crime maps displaying the geographic locations of signed corporate agreements.

Findings

The results showed that, overall, prosecutors in the District of Columbia have signed the most federal corporate agreements although there is some variation over time.

Research limitations/implications

This study is unable to determine the causes of changes in the geographic placement or number of agreements signed. It is also unable to determine the precise geographic locations of crimes, but only the location of the District Court that elected to pursue a federal agreement with the organization.

Practical implications

The wide discretion prosecutors have in the agreement process has led to an overall lack of transparency concerning prosecutors’ decision-making when signing agreements with organizations. This study helps to make the number and geographic location of agreements more transparent.

Originality/value

This study uses crime mapping techniques to visually depict the locations of signed agreements allowing for visual comparisons and analyzes for an extended period of time.

Article
Publication date: 11 February 2020

Emily M. Homer and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to assess if federal judges have sentenced criminal corporations to fines that are consistent with the seriousness of the offense and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess if federal judges have sentenced criminal corporations to fines that are consistent with the seriousness of the offense and the blameworthiness of the organization, which would be in line with the directives from the US Sentencing Guidelines. This paper will also use the focal concerns framework to measure organizational blameworthiness.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses secondary data from federal sentencing documents, collected by the US Sentencing Commission, for cases that were adjudicated between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2017.

Findings

Results showed that the focal concerns framework can be used to define potential constructs for blameworthiness and that an organization’s culpability score was a significant predictor in whether the company received a higher fine.

Research limitations/implications

The data are unable to examine two of the three measures of focal concerns. Cross-sectional data limits the ability to draw conclusions regarding cause and effect between blameworthiness and monetary fines.

Practical implications

Results imply that judges are sentencing corporations that have higher culpability scores to more severe fines, in accordance with both the federal Sentencing Guidelines and focal concerns framework.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to apply the focal concerns framework, usually used to examine the sentencing of individuals, to the sentencing of corporations. It is also one of the first to attempt to empirically define blameworthiness.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 April 2022

Emily M. Homer and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this study is to investigate the federal sentencing of organizational probation for environmental offenders using the focal concerns. Those organizations…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the federal sentencing of organizational probation for environmental offenders using the focal concerns. Those organizations that are more blameworthy should be sentenced to longer probation terms. However, little research has been conducted to examine whether probation is being sentenced accordingly. This is especially true for organizations convicted of environmental offenses, which are often thought of as deserving of increased penalties compared to non-environmental offenses.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used quantitative federal sentencing data from 2011 to 2020 (n = 1,436) and eight potential measures of blameworthiness grounded in the focal concerns.

Findings

The results showed that those organizations convicted of environmental crimes received 30% longer probation sentences than those not convicted of environmental crimes. However, additional measurements of blameworthiness derived from the existing literature of focal concerns were not relevant to probation sentencing decisions.

Originality/value

This study extends the application of the focal concerns and increases the body of knowledge regarding the sentencing of federal environmental offenders.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 September 2021

Catherine D. Marcum, Barbara H. Zaitzow and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of university students with nonconsensual pornography. The focus of the present work is on nonconsensual…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of university students with nonconsensual pornography. The focus of the present work is on nonconsensual pornography – the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images and sexual extortion – that are becoming common experiences for many people. While the forms of nonconsensual pornography may vary, each case has one thing in common: the offender has shared a private image of the victim without the victim’s consent.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study was collected from student participants at a southeastern university. The stratified sample of university students was sent a link to an online survey and the responses of those who chose to respond were used in subsequent analyses (n = 300).

Findings

The findings of this exploratory study show low self-control as a significant predictor of sexting. Significant predictors of victimization via nonconsensual pornography included participation in sexting and use of dating apps.

Originality/value

While not generalizable, the descriptive data provide an important landscape for consideration of policy and legal recommendations to protect potential victims as well as would-be perpetrators beyond a university setting.

Details

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-6599

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 October 2016

Catherine D. Marcum, George E. Higgins and Alexandria Mackinnon

The purpose of this paper was to explore the identity theft victimization experiences of high school students, as well as the predictors of it being reported to school counselors.

600

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to explore the identity theft victimization experiences of high school students, as well as the predictors of it being reported to school counselors.

Design/methodology/approach

In July and August 2014, an online survey was sent to every registered member of the American School Counselor’s Association (ASCA). School counselors were questioned about their experiences in regarding online victimization of their students.

Findings

Results of this analysis revealed extremely interesting predictors of school counselor demographics related to the number of reports filed by students.

Research limitations/implications

There was a small response rate because the survey was sent to all registered members of the ASCA, instead of a specific targeted group (which would have been more appropriate).

Practical implications

The results indicate a need for further resources and training dedicated to school counselors to manage identity theft victimization of students.

Originality/value

As far as the authors are aware, no other study of this kind has previously been performed. In addition, there is little known about identity theft victimization of adolescents.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 February 2019

Anthony G. Vito, Elizabeth L. Grossi, Vanessa Woodward Griffin and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to apply focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation for police officer decision making during a traffic stop that results in a consent…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation for police officer decision making during a traffic stop that results in a consent search. The study uses coefficients testing to better examine the issue of racial profiling through the use of a race-specific model.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study come from traffic stops conducted by the Louisville Police Department between January 1 and December 31, 2002.

Findings

The results show that the three components of focal concerns theory can explain police officer decision making for consent searches. Yet, the components of focal concerns theory play a greater role in stops of Caucasian male drivers.

Research limitations/implications

The data for this study are cross-sectional and self-reported from police officers.

Practical implications

This paper shows the utility of applying focal concerns theory as a theoretical explanation for police officer decision making on consent searches and how the effects of focal concerns vary depending on driver race.

Social implications

The findings based on focal concerns theory can provide an opportunity for police officers or departments to explain what factors impact the decision making during consent searches.

Originality/value

This is the first study (to the researchers’ knowledge) that examines the racial effects of focal concerns on traffic stop consent searchers using coefficients testing.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Catherine D. Marcum, George E Higgins, Melissa L. Ricketts and Scott E Wolfe

The purpose of the paper is to contribute to the gap in the literature by investigating the identity theft behaviors of adolescents under the age of 18 and the predictors…

1322

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to contribute to the gap in the literature by investigating the identity theft behaviors of adolescents under the age of 18 and the predictors of these behaviors. To better understand the predictors of hacking behaviors in young people, two criminological theories, general theory of crime and social learning theory, are utilized.

Design/methodology/approach

A rural county in western North Carolina was chosen to participate in the study. Principals of four high schools in this county agreed to participate. All 9th through 12th graders were recruited for the study. Those who were given parental permission to participate and gave their own assent were given a survey.

Findings

Results indicated that low self-control and deviant peer association were in fact associated with identity theft behaviors of juveniles.

Originality/value

The literature is scant, if even existent, on research that investigates the identity theft offending behaviors of juveniles.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 June 2020

Anthony G. Vito, Vanessa Woodward Griffin, Gennaro F. Vito and George E. Higgins

The purpose of this paper is to draw a better understanding of the potential impact of daylight in officer decision making. In order to this, the authors test the veil of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw a better understanding of the potential impact of daylight in officer decision making. In order to this, the authors test the veil of darkness hypothesis, which theorizes that racial bias in traffic stops can be tested by controlling for the impact of daylight, while operating under the assumption that driver patterns remain constant across race.

Design/methodology/approach

Publicly available traffic-stop records from the Louisville Metro Police Department for January 2010–2019. The analysis includes both propensity score matching to examine the impact of daylight in similarly situated stops and coefficients testing to analyze how VOD may vary in citation-specific models.

Findings

The results show that using PSM following the VOD hypothesis does show evidence of racial bias, with Black drivers more likely to be stopped. Moreover, the effects of daylight significantly varied across citation-specific models.

Research limitations/implications

The data are self-reported from the officer and do not contain information on the vehicle make or model.

Practical implications

This paper shows that utilizing PSM and coefficients testing provides for a better analysis following the VOD hypothesis and does a better job of understanding the impact of daylight and the officer decision-making on traffic stops.

Social implications

Based on the quality of the data, the findings show that the use of VOD allows for the performance of more rigorous analyses of traffic stop data – giving police departments a better way to examine if racial profiling is evident.

Originality/value

This is the first study (to the researchers' knowledge) that applies the statistical analyses of PSM to the confines of the veil of darkness hypothesis.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

George E. Higgins, Thomas “Tad” Hughes, Melissa L. Ricketts and Scott E. Wolfe

Identity theft is an emerging form of criminal behavior, with complaints about the behavior rising. However, little research has explored the correlates of these…

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Abstract

Purpose

Identity theft is an emerging form of criminal behavior, with complaints about the behavior rising. However, little research has explored the correlates of these complaints, especially state‐level correlates. The purpose of this paper is to examine the state‐level characteristics correlated with identity theft complaints.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study uses data collected from the 2000 US census and the Federal Trade Commission's 2002 through 2005 reports on identity theft. Regression is used to determine explain identity theft complaints through state‐level characteristics from social disorganization to routine activities theory.

Findings

The results indicate that states with more males, higher residential mobility, and more entertainment establishments are likely to have more identity theft complaints. States with more populations that are age 15 and below are less likely to have as many identity theft complaints.

Research limitations/implications

The present study only examines state‐level, macro data and does not take into account individual, micro‐level factors that are associated with identity‐theft. This study provides an important advance in understanding identity theft complaint reports. This will aid policy makers in implementing strategies to reduce incidences of identity theft.

Originality/value

This paper is valuable to sociologists, criminologists, politicians, policy makers, and the general public. It contributes to the current understanding of identity theft by examining state‐level correlates.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

Keywords

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