Title

Applying Computer-Simulation To Forecast Homicide Rates

Title - Alternative

J. Crim. Justice

Keywords

Crime; Subculture; Inequality; Violence; Suicide; Poverty; Criminology & Penology

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to expose readers to a relatively new and virtually unused analytical tool-computer simulation of dynamic social trends. For purposes of illustrating this technique, several variables assumed to contribute to homicide rates were examined. Prior research has pointed to structural explanations for homicide. Specifically, ''anomie'' and a ''subculture of violence'' have repeatedly been found to be correlated with homicide rates. However, neither adequately explains the inordinately high number of homicides in the United States. Therefore, an alternative explanation, focusing on the interactive and reciprocal nature of these two constructs, is considered in this article. Through the use of simulation technology, a computer model was built that tested the ability of these constructs and the associated variables to predict homicide rates. Findings indicated that simultaneously increasing several variables (e.g., population density, availability of handguns, etc.) produced a sharp rise in the number of homicides. However, after a period of several years, societal responses (such as enhanced social programs and improved rehabilitative efforts) resulted in homicide rates stabilizing at a level only slightly greater than that recorded prior to the changes.

Publication Title

Journal of Criminal Justice

Volume

21

Issue/Number

5

Publication Date

1-1-1993

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

467

Last Page

479

WOS Identifier

WOS:A1993MJ30300003

ISSN

0047-2352

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