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Vol. 11 No. 8 — September 2003
FEATURE
Criminology Web Sites An Annotated "Webliography"
by Kenneth FinkInformation Services Librarian • Pepperdine University

Please note that there was an incorrect URL and other information in the paragraph in this article on COPLINK.  This information has now been corrected within the article.  Our apologies to WhiteOak Communications, which represents COPLINK for its client, Knowledge Computing Corporation.
Criminology, the study of crime, criminal behavior, and its prevention, has been a part of the human condition since Cain murdered his brother, Abel. But the world is far more complicated (and more dangerous) now than it was then. Today the nation state can look like a modern day Cain, pointing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) at any perceived threat — which is no crime as long as you're one of the nations "permitted" to have them. There are also frightening entities called NGOs — nongovernmental organizations, which include the Sierra Club, but also terrorist organizations that stand poised to acquire a WMD (incidentally — terrorists are on the official "not allowed to have nuclear bombs" list). The sheer number of new acronyms is alarming.

While we still struggle with the more prosaic crimes such as murder, rape, arson, and fraud, we now have to worry about chemical and biological warfare, radioactive dirty bombs, cybercrime, cyberwarfare, and nuclear ballistic missile attack from dictatorial goons and extremist groups with deep pockets. Some even claim that the billions of dollars we pour into violent movies, brutal sports, and misogynistic music encourage violence.

And who would deny that violence sells? This world is both a wonderful and frightening place — and ultimately no one gets out alive. But then no one wants to leave it prematurely, either. And, since September 11, everyone — even Americans oceans away from most of the world's inhabitants — has become a potential victim in what we perceive as a new reality — a global terrorist threat. But "global terrorist threat" aside, terror stalks us in our daily lives. What about the terror experienced in a home invasion, an assault, or physical threat? How many of us feel safe walking around our own neighborhoods at night?

The following list may serve as an introduction to the many Web sites devoted to both the prosaic and exotic in the field of criminology.

Government Web Sites and a Commercial Site or Two

Governments around the world have built criminology Web sites devoted to providing not only statistical and social analyses of criminality, but also sites devoted to advising citizens on how to avoid being victimized. Many agencies of the U.S. government have created Web sites that examine most types of criminal activity and with enough statistics to make anyone look over his or her shoulder on a regular basis.

However, the good news is that overall in the U.S. "violent crime rates have declined, reaching the lowest levels ever recorded in 2001," according to the National Crime Victimization Survey at the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/viortrdtab.htm]. In 1994, there were 51 victims of violent crime per 1,000 people over the age of 12. In 2001, that number dropped by over half, to 24 per 1,000.

The United States Department of Justice [http://www.usdoj.gov/] site covers all aspects of crime and punishment. It also links to the new Department of Homeland Security Web site. There are links to primary information for victims of crime, as well as resources on terrorism, civil rights violations, domestic violence, elder justice, youth violence, and fraud, among others. For example, the link to information on domestic violence includes toll-free domestic violence telephone hotlines to call and additional information resources on stalking and help for victims of domestic violence. This large Web site also contains a number of useful subpages.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/ and http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/aboutbjs.htm] is a department of the U.S. Department of Justice. The BJS compiles data and statistical analysis of "crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government." Looking at some of the statistics, one might almost conclude that it's probably best to simply avoid relationships whenever possible, as "more than six in 10 rape or sexual assault victims said that the offender was an intimate, other relative, a friend, or an acquaintance," according to the BJS. In contrast, one is more likely to be robbed by a stranger than by a person one knows. (Seventy-eight percent of males versus 51 percent of females reported robbery by a stranger.)

Nevertheless, violent crime rates are lower today than in the past. Between 1994 and 2001, violent crime (homicide, rape, arson, aggravated assault) fell 52 percent. Many provocative statistics appear on the BJS Web site, especially at Key Crime and Justice Fact at a Glance page [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance.htm] and at the Bureau of Justice Statistics Publications, many of which can be downloaded as PDF files from the Web site [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pubalp2.htm].

The BJS also sponsors other excellent sources of statistical information on crime: the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data [http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/], the Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center (FJRSC) [http://fjsrc.urban.org/], and the Infobase of State Activities and Research (ISAR) [http://www.jrsainfo.org/database/index.html].

What can one do to prevent life's inevitable toe tag from arriving prematurely? The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) [http://www.ncjrs.org/], a research department and resource center, may help. Part of the U.S. Justice Department, the NCJRS has both free full-text publications online and print publications for sale. It has more than "160,000 criminal justice publications ... including books, refereed articles, and reports." Many of the print publications are available at no cost in PDF or HTML format. For example, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety" is a 200-page study available in PDF format. A print copy ships in 3 days. The NCJRS site offers a wealth of articles dealing with victims of crimes. A special section called "In the Spotlight" addresses current issues such as school safety, hate crimes, and club drugs like gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), the infamous "date-rape" drug associated with "drug-facilitated sexual assault, rape, and robbery." Fact sheets are also provided for the benefit of consumers and law enforcement officials.

The Office of Justice Program is another division of the U.S. Department of Justice [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/home.htm]. The OJP highlights resources for victims of crime. It also offers a vast library [http://virlib.ncjrs.org/AlphaTitles.asp] of online studies. Topics include "Acquaintance Rape of College Students," "Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide," "Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising," "Annual Report on School Safety," and "Are You Being Stalked? Tips for Prevention." The studies are intended for police officers, criminology scholars, and consumers — a most practical resource.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, dedicated to researching crime control and justice issues [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/]. NIJ provides "objective, independent, non-partisan, evidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the State and local levels." NIJ also provides a varied collection of research studies of interest to law enforcement officials, criminology experts, and interested laypersons. Topics address violence against women, satisfaction with the police, etc., and even a link to the National Institute of Justice International [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/international/welcome.html]. The NIJ even provides targeted programs like, "Conflict Resolution for School Personnel: An Interactive School Safety Training Tool."

The Department of Homeland Security [http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/] is the U.S. government's well-publicized effort to assure citizens that terrorism is being taken seriously since the September 11 tragedy. The DHS home page announces the current level of terrorist threat using a color-coded system where Red represents the highest risk of terrorist incident to Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Green (green being the lowest threat level). At the time of this writing, the DHS Security Advisory System has put the country on a yellow alert status. The DHS Web site (select Research & Technology from the home page) contains discussions of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons and their potential threat, plus the measures being taken to prevent their use [http://www.llnl.gov/hso/programs.html] against the United States.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [http://www.fbi.gov/] is also in the counter terrorism business, including cyber-based attacks and other technology crimes (ironic in light of the news media's reporting of the FBI's scandalously outdated computer system). Historically, the FBI has been associated with espionage investigations and federal crimes like kidnapping and bank robbery. Along with its Top 10 Fugitives List, the FBI publishes in its library and reference section a selection of reports for the public and law enforcement [http://www.fbi.gov/publications.htm]. Titles include "A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety," "Handbook of Forensic Services," "Terrorism in the United States," and "The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment." The FBI also has a new program called ANSIR — the Awareness of National Security and Response program [http://www.fbi.gov/hq/ci/ansir/ansirhome.htm]. ANSIR is the agency's effort to make "unclassified national security threat and warning information" available to "U.S. corporations, law enforcement, and other government agencies."

The U.S. Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) [http://www.treas.gov/usss/ntac.htm] offers advice and assistance to "law enforcement, professionals, and organizations" responsible for assessing and preventing targeted violence. A sample of the free publications that you can download include "Threat Assessment: An Approach to Prevent Targeted Violence," "Assassination in the United States: An Operational Study of Recent Assassins, Attackers, and Near Lethal Approaches," "Threat Assessment in Schools," and "Assessing Threats of Targeted Group Violence: Contributions from Social Psychology."

"International Crime Threat Assessment" is a fascinating document and the brainchild of the U.S. National Security Council [http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/ documents/pub45270/pub45270index.html]. The Clinton administration ordered the creation of this document in 2000. Representatives from many of the government's law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA, DEA, NSC, and Treasury Department, drafted this assessment of the scope and activities of international crime and a number of objectives designed to counter the threat. Objectives include denying safe haven to international criminals, protecting U.S. borders from smuggling activities, countering international financial crime, and fostering international cooperation and rule of law. This paper discusses the global context of international crime; specific areas of international crime that affect the U.S.; consequence to U.S. interests; and the future of international crime.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has its own Publications archive [http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/] with a large selection of terrorism studies. This Web site is quite large and include links to each of the nation's Armed Services, as well as the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Missile Defense Agency (that's a new one), et al.

The U.N. is also concerned with the impact of criminal activity on the well-being of the international community. The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) [http://odccp.org] Web site offers analysis of and strategies for reducing the illegal drug trade, confronting terrorism, and stopping the Human Trafficking trade, among others.

Traveling abroad? Would you like to know each country's crime statistics for robbery or muggings? You can find those stats at the Interpol Web site. Interpol is the acronym for The International Criminal Police Organization, which [http://www.interpol.int/] was created to facilitate cross-border criminal police cooperation. In Interpol, 181 member countries work together to fight terrorism, drugs, financial crime, and children and human trafficking. Interpol's presence is found on five continents. Centered in France, Interpol solves only international crimes. Every member country has its own National Central Bureau staffed with its own police. The Web site provides statistics on international crime, as well as information and links to topics such as Stolen Art (and recent art thefts), Children and Human Trafficking, Drugs, and even photographs of the 71 most-wanted men and women around the world.

The British Society of Criminology has a fairly good Web links page to a variety of criminology resources [http://www.britsoccrim.org/links.htm]. There is a dead link to Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology, which has also created an excellent "Criminology links" page. The correct address is http://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/library/links/index.html.

Fred Cohen and Associates [http://www.all.net] was recently listed in PC Magazine's list of "Top 100 Web Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without."1 Fred Cohen's is a commercial Web site, but contains valuable information for computer security consultants, as well as for individuals concerned with "securing" their computer system[s] and other aspects of cyber-crime. There are articles on Information Warfare, one entitled, "Deception for Protection," and the "50 Ways" series, which includes "Software Security Tips," "50 Ways to Protect Your Information Assets When Cruising the Internet," and other topics.

Professional Associations, Schools, and Journals in Criminology

If criminology in the broadest sense is "the study of crime, its perpetrators, and its causes; [as well as] an interest in its prevention, and in the deterrence, treatment, and punishment of offenders,"2 then forensic science is the application of science to the identification and capture of those who commit crimes. To that excellent end, resources in the field of criminology include professional associations like the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) [http://www.aafs.org] and its professional journal, the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Defined by the AAFS as the "application of science to the law,"3 forensic science is broken down by the AAFS organization into eight specializations: criminalistics, pathology/biology, toxicology, psychiatry/behavioral science, odontology, questioned documents, engineering, and jurisprudence4. The AAFS Web site describes these specialties and includes Web links under "Resources" to many of the professional organizations and publications associated with each specialty [http://www.aafs.org/?section_id= resources&page_id=forensic_links]. The AAFS Web site also lists under "Resources" a career guide for those interested in pursuing a career in one of the forensic sciences. The career guide is an excellent tool for discovering the function of each of these specialties. Membership in the AAFS is fairly inexpensive: $25 for provisional members and $15 for a student membership. One is a provisional member until one applies to be a Member or a Fellow of the AAFS, for which there are significant professional milestones required.

The American Society of Criminology (ASC) is another practical resource for current information [http://www.asc41.com/]. "The American Society of Criminology is an international organization concerned with criminology ... scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the etiology, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency." The journals Criminology and Criminology and Public Policy and a newsletter, the Criminologist, comprise ASC's three official publications. Annual journal subscriptions are $120 each and $25 for the newsletter. With an $80 membership, the subscription price drops to $35 for each journal and the newsletter. Criminology abstracts are available online from 1980-2003, Criminology and Public Policy from 2001-2003. The strength of the Web site lies in the online abstract service.

The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) [http://www.acjs.org] was established in 1963 to encourage professionalism and scholarship in the field of criminal justice. Under "Publications," the site offers some good Internet links to a variety of scholarly journals. Under "Links" you can access the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit organization that publishes online papers on topics of interest to criminology scholars. The ACJS also has useful links to organizations connected with criminology. Annual membership costs only $75 ($50 for graduate students) and includes a subscription to Justice Quarterly, as well as to a variety of criminal justice newsletters.

Universities and Think Tanks

Because criminology, and especially the arena of forensic science, employs a great many sociological and scientific disciplines, searching a university library's catalog for books or other resources can be challenging. Consider, for example, that criminology falls within the Library of Congress Subject Heading of "Social Pathology, Social and Public Welfare, Criminology (HV)" [http://www.tlcdelivers.com/tlc/crs/LCSO0006.htm#HM], which includes Substance Abuse, Degeneration, Criminology, Crimes and Offenses, Criminal Justice and Administration, and Penology. And within the broad concept of Criminology is Forensic Science, "the application of science to the processes and problems of the law." Indeed, the professional society of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences has nine sections: Criminalistics, Engineering Sciences, General Jurisprudence, Odontology, Pathology/Biology, Physical Anthropology, Psychiatry/Behavioral Sciences, Questioned Documents, and Toxicology. Professor Killoran breaks this down further to a list of more than 150 additional Library of Congress Subject Heading to topics such as DNA Fingerprints, Chromatography, Hair Analysis, Explosives Identification, et al5.

That being said, colleges and universities with criminal justice programs are often excellent resources for Internet, as well as print materials in criminology. A list of schools offering criminal justice undergraduate and graduate programs can be found through the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Web site [http://www.aafs.org/?section_id= resources& page_id=colleges_and_universities]. The following colleges represent only a sample of some of the best resources created by academic institutions.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice [http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/] is an excellent Web site for not only learning about careers in criminology, but also a superb resource for identifying useful print and electronic resources in the field. From the home page, click on the box under Prospective Students and select "Library" to go to John Jay's Lloyd Sealy Library. At the Lloyd Sealy home page, on the right-hand side, click on "Selected Internet Links" to go to a comprehensive site with links to a wide variety of criminal justice topics. You will be amazed at the depth of the information: From the September 11 digital archive to the World Criminal Justice Library Network, there are links to every aspect of the field of criminal justice.

The site also offers superb guides to other print and electronic sources. From the Lloyd Sealy library home page, on the right-hand side, scroll down to where you see Research Guides and Bibliographies. For seminal print resources in criminology, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice has created a marvelous series of guides to classic texts, standard encyclopedias, essential directories, and to leading journals in criminology.
[http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/researchnew.html]. This is a wonderful resource for the student of criminology looking for extensive coverage of print reference works in this field and the single best library resource this writer has found.

Criminal Justice Links is a Web site created by Cecil E. Greek for the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University and offers a good list of Web links [http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/cjlinks/].

The University of Delaware Library [http://www2.lib.udel.edu/subj/crjs/internet.htm] has assembled a fine collection of links to criminal justice Web sites. The site makes finding a specific area of study straightforward and easy. Links to Juvenile Delinquency, Drugs & Alcohol, Federal Agencies, Associations & Organizations, International Resources, and Electronic Journals, are a few of the subjects easily accessible from the home page.

The U.S. Army War College [http://carlisle-www.army.mil/] has a link on its home page to "Search Student Research Papers." Type "terrorism" in the search box, for example, and retrieve more than 120 papers written on some aspect of that subject. A sample of titles includes "Chemical Warfare, Terrorism, and National Defense," "The Transformation of Counter-Terrorism," and "Influence Management: A Tool for the War on Terrorism." Incidentally, the student papers are often written by high-ranking soldier-scholars, providing a unique perspective from the battlefield and the academy. Type "cyber" and retrieve 23 papers, including "Wielding the Cyber Sword: Exploiting the Power of Information Operations," "Defensive Information Operations — An Interagency Process," and "Information Operations and Asymmetric Operations — Are We Ready." At the bottom of the home page you will see links to the Center for Strategic Leadership, Military History Institute, and Strategic Studies Institute.

The Rand Corporation [http://www.rand.org/] is a highly regarded public policy think tank with research areas that include Civil and Criminal Justice, International Policy, National Security, and Terrorism. Often employed by the U.S. government, many of its studies are classified. Many others are for sale through its publications catalog and often downloadable for free from its Web site. Rand's catalog of terrorism studies is impressive and available at no charge. Here are some examples (and the direct link): "The Advent of Netwar," "After 9/11: Stress and Coping Across America," "Biometrics: A Look at Facial Recognition"[http://www.rand.org/publications/electronic/terrorism.html]. Here's the link to Rand's publications on Civil and Criminal Justice: http://www.rand.org/justice_area/pubs.html.

The Hoover Institute at Stanford University is another highly respected think tank of a more conservative stripe [http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/]. The Institute also publishes many public policy papers online. Select the "Publications" link from its home page to search its archives. A number of articles discuss criminology issues, such as the controversial 3-Strikes law.

The Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit organization that engages in pubic policy research [http://www.heritage.org/research/]. It's considered by many to be an organization that tends to advance issues and outcomes in support of the U.S. Republican party agenda. You'll find a variety of documents at its Web site: "Backgrounders" (its version of a policy paper, i.e., shorter and condensed without the depth of scholarship), executive memoranda (short, intense policy statements sent to persuade elected officials and other decision makers), Heritage Lectures (famous folks paid for their speaking time), Testimonies (what their leading experts have claimed before legislative bodies), and Web Memos (online statements on fast-breaking issues). In the area of Crime, a few representative titles include "Why the Bush Administration Is Right on the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services," "How Congress Can Improve Its Financial Support for Law Enforcement," and "Sentencing and Enforcement of White Collar Crimes." The Heritage Foundation has also issued public policy papers in a variety of domestic and foreign subjects ranging from the Family and Religion to Homeland Security and ABM/Missile Defense.

Journals

Criminology journals offer the latest research in the field. While the majority of the journals require an annual subscription fee, a small number are available full text on the Internet. For this rapidly changing field, journal literature supplies perhaps the best information on the latest scientific applications in criminology.

The Journal of Forensic Sciences is the internationally recognized journal of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. The Journal of Forensic Sciences has a searchable online index from 1981 to the present. An individual subscription costs $249, while an institutional subscription costs $374. For $25 per article, subscribers (only) can download articles from past issues.

The Western Criminology Review (WCR) [http://wcr.sonoma.edu] is the official journal of the Western Society of Criminology. "The WCR is a forum for the publication and discussion of theory, research, policy, and practice in the rapidly changing and interdisciplinary fields of criminology and criminal justice" and "reflect(s) local (Western), national, and international concerns. Historical and contemporary perspectives are encouraged, as are diverse methodological approaches." The WCR allows free access to the full text of articles online as well as its archive. Published semiannually, the WCR provides its own search engine to research back issues. A cautionary note: Unfortunately, it's not clear what qualifications the authors possess. In many cases, little is mentioned beyond their names.

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts Database (NCJRS) "contains summaries of more than 170,000 criminal justice publications" [http://abstractsdb.ncjrs.org/content/AbstractsDB_Search.asp]. It also has a collection of more than 7,000 full-text publications available at the NCJRS Virtual Library: http://fulltextpubs.ncjrs.org/content/FullTextPubs.html.

According to Dr. Katherine B. Killoran in her excellent article "Forensic Science: A Library Research Guide," "The interdisciplinary nature of forensic science makes it difficult to define the scope of forensic science periodicals.... [S]ome forensic scientists publish their findings in the prestigious general science journals such as Nature or Science."6 That being said, the following list includes a selection of excellent journals in the field. A more complete list appears on the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Web site at http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/research/forpsyc.html and http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/old/forscigu.htm. While most of the journals require a paid subscription for full-text online access, many publishers make access to online abstracts and archives available to everyone — and some permit online purchase of article reprints.

Contemporary Justice Review [http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/10282580.html] is a Routledge publication. A quarterly journal, Contemporary Justice Review publishes articles on interdisciplinary "social and restorative justice theory and practice; peacemaking criminology; community building as harm prevention; structural alternatives to nation-state and corporate violence; conflict resolution and peaceful methods of problem-solving; environmental justice; and issues of justice in the family, school, and workplace." The CJR solicits articles that "offer nonviolent, needs-based solutions to needs-denying and power-based social arrangements." A sample issue is available at the Web site. An individual subscription is $57/institutional $179. An FYI: Routledge publishes a variety of journals in the field of criminology.

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, a Lippincott publication [http://www.amjforensicmedicine.com/], publishes articles on "new examination and documentation procedures, as well as provocative discussions of the forensic pathologist's expanding role...occupational and environmental health...case reports, technical notes on new examination devices, and reports of medico legal practices worldwide." This is the medical examiners' (i.e., coroners/pathologists) professional publication. Fascinating topics. For example, the current issue, made available at no charge online, looks at the tragic deaths of athletes in the article "Pathology of Sudden Death in Recreational Sports Activities: An Autopsy Study of 31 Cases." An individual subscription costs $275/institutional $468. Articles can be purchased online from the archives for $20 per article. The online archive begins in 2001.

Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal [http://www.csfs.ca/journal/journal.htm] publishes "original papers, comments and reviews in the various branches of forensic science ... [including] forensic chemistry, forensic toxicology...questioned documents, forensic odontology, firearms examination, forensic pathology, forensic biology (including serology, hair and fiber examination and molecular genetics) and forensic anthropology." A subscription is $85.

Forensic Science Review [http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Galaxy/2044/] has a mission to bridge the gap between "the rapid advances in forensic science [and the] need for a review journal to bridge the gap between research-oriented journals and reference volumes." FSW "fills this void and provide[s] a base for authors to extrapolate state-of-the-art information and to synthesize and translate it into readable review articles." A subscription costs $60 individual/$80 institutional.

Sage Publications

Sage Publications, a publisher of scholarly texts and journals, has it own list of criminology journals [http://www.sagefulltext.com/jrnl-list.htm#crime]. Scholars and other experts in criminology read and publish in many of these journals and many of the titles are cited in Thomson ISI's prestigious Social SciSearch database. Here's a complete list. The titles can be purchased on an individual subscription basis or collectively by an institution. Sage also has a 30-day free trial available. A subscription to the collection includes electronic access to all 15 journals.

Child Maltreatment, 1996­

Crime & Delinquency, 1984­

Criminal Justice, 2001­

Criminal Justice and Behavior, 1982­

Criminal Justice Policy Review, 2000­

Homicide Studies, 1997­

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 1997­

Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1986­

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 1984­

Police Quarterly, 2000­

The Prison Journal, 1992­

Punishment & Society, 1999­

Theoretical Criminology, 1997­

Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 2000­

Violence Against Women, 1995­

Databases and Indexes

Because criminology crosses so many disciplines — biology, chemistry (physical and organic), medicine, psychology, sociology, anthropology (and many narrower subjects like zoology, toxicology, et al.) — searchers need to use a variety of relevant databases with full-text, refereed articles and abstracts. The difficulty lies in the fact that many of these same databases are available only through subscription and thus limit access to paying subscribers, often students, faculty, and staff. EBSCOhost, ProQuest, Reed Elsevier, Wiley, and Kluwer's are a few of the major database producers which have created and indexed databases of full-text and abstracted articles from the leading scientific journals. Universities pay thousands of dollars for access to these databases. Readers may want to visit a local public library or local state college or university to determine if the public has access to these databases on campus.

PubMed is the search engine created by National Institutes of Health (NIH) to search the world's medical literature in the MEDLINE database [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi]. MEDLINE, which has more than 12 million citations from more than 4,600 journals dating from the mid-1960s, is of vital importance to the field of criminology. MEDLINE's Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) browser enables researchers to go directly to the appropriate and related subject headings, in this instance Criminology, Forensic Medicine, Forensic Psychiatry, Dentistry, or Anthropology. Combining keywords using the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT are also possible in MEDLINE. MEDLINE has a wonderful feature. Whenever you retrieve a series of records, you'll see to the right of each record a feature called "Related Articles." Click on Related Articles to pull up additional records comparable to the original record. MEDLINE contains a very limited number of full-text articles, but many abstracts.

Scirus [http://www.scirus.com] is a free, science-focused search engine created by Reed Elsevier and, according to its site, "the most comprehensive science-specific search engine available on the Internet." The database searches both free and subscription journal sources. It contains access to more than "135 million science-related pages...as well as 17 million records from sources such as Science Direct, BioMed Central, MEDLINE, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Beilstein, et al." I searched the keywords "domestic abuse" through its Advanced Search screen, which allows one to limit one's search along a variety of parameters. I limited my search to journal title and exact phrase; I chose all file formats, which include HTML and PDF formatted documents; I selected all journal and Web sources; and limited it to the specific subject areas of law, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, and sociology. My search strategy retrieved 291 documents. To the right of the records appeared a list of keywords to further refine my search. Examples of these keywords included domestic violence, physical abuse, sexual assault, battered, and legal advice. When I clicked on legal advice, the search engine automatically combined legal advice with my first search (i.e., domestic abuse) and retrieved another 12 records, most of them concerning advice and resources on domestic abuse from a variety of states and cities across the U.S. There's a lot here and, again, this is a free search engine.

Coplink [http://www.coplink.net/] is a crime-fighting technology solution for law enforcement agencies that allows local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to collect, consolidate, and share information across all boundaries. According to a Newsweek article, if COPLINK had been operational during the Washington sniper tragedy, it would have alerted investigators to the fact that John Muhammad and Lee Malvo had been stopped by police at more than one crime scene.7 COPLINK works by allowing vast quantities of structured and seemingly unrelated data, currently housed in incompatible computer-based record management systems, to be organized under a single, highly secure intranet-based platform. Through sophisticated analytics, COPLINK builds “institutional memory,” reduces knowledge gaps, helps generate leads when there are none, and prevents criminals from falling through the cracks. The system is scaleable, allowing for the creation of ad hoc regional and national task forces to address specific criminal activity such as terrorism and drug trafficking.

Crime Prevention

Crime prevention is certainly as important as crime detection. And many of the Web sites described above have resources devoted to programs and studies on the many ways to prevent crime: from community policing and neighborhood watch groups to early childhood interventions designed to identify the children and adolescents most at risk to commit crimes. Here are a few interesting Web sites that also address crime prevention.

"Diverting Children from a Life of Crime: Measuring Costs and Benefits" [http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR699/] is a study by the think tank Rand Corporation on the use of intervention as an effective tool in reducing crime. The report describes those groups most at risk and makes recommendations for effective interventions. It should come as no surprise that "the children of young, single, poor mothers are at the greatest risk of engaging in criminal activity." Worth reading.

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center [http://www.safeyouth.org/home.htm] is a joint effort of the White House Council on Youth Violence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies to create a Web portal to government information on preventing youth violence and other high-risk issues facing children, such as drugs, gangs, youth suicide, and school violence.

"The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment" [http://www.fbi.gov/publications/school/school2.pdf] is a report by the FBI's Critical Incident [http://www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm]Response Group now available on the Internet. It's an effort by the government to use an assessment and intervention model that examines the personality, social, family, and school dynamics to more accurately gauge who is likely to commit this type of crime.

Workplace Violence [http://www.osha-slc.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/] is an OSHA Web site devoted to this social scourge and the risk factors and prevention strategies employers and employees need to know. An extensive list of Web sites focuses on workplace violence and includes prevention strategies for high-risk occupations such as taxi drivers and late-night retail workers.

The National Crime Prevention Council [http://www.ncpc.org] is an educational nonprofit organization that focuses on providing individuals, particularly children, and communities with strategies for preventing crime. Select "Topics in Crime Prevention" from the home page to retrieve a range of topic links, such as assault, bullying, domestic violence, causes of violence, home security, divorce, animal cruelty, and rudeness. Unfortunately, some offerings are abstracted and some unavailable except by ordering from the organization. I clicked on "rudeness" and obtained an abstract to a free report called "Aggravating Circumstances: A Status Report on Rudeness in America." Interesting, but more descriptive than prescriptive. When I selected "Managing Aggressive Behavior," there was nothing but the number of the pamphlet for this topic. Apparently, this must be ordered from the organization. Same with "Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls." That would have been interesting to read, if available. You can also browse by subject and retrieve tip sheets on 10 ways for students to prevent violence or "50 Strategies to Prevent Violent Domestic Crimes."

The College and University Crime Statistics Web site [http://www.securityoncampus.org/crimestats/index.html] offers crime statistics for approximately 400 colleges and universities around the country, tracking violent and property crime including robbery, property theft, rape, murder, and vehicle theft. It links from the home Web site of "Security on Campus," an Internet site created by Connie & Howard Clery in memory of their daughter Jeanne Anne Clery, who was murdered in her dormitory room at Lehigh University in 1986. The Web site features a campus watch newsletter, campus safety tips, and links to other related Web sites.

Microsoft's SafeKids [http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/safekids/] Web site was created in collaboration with the Naperville (Illinois) Police Internet Crimes Unit and the Illinois Attorney General's Internet Task force "to help parents and educators teach children the fundamental 'rules of the road' for safe exploration on the information highway." Developed by detectives, it comes equipped with a teacher's training guide and several PowerPoint slide presentations.

Just Say "Search"

There's a staggering amount of information and expertise in criminology available online — and also in print. The Web represents a profound and important resource for anyone with Internet access. After reviewing these many Web sites, one is left with the feeling that, without diminishing our personal responsibility for our deeds, so many contributing factors to crime are with us even in the 21st century: poverty, racism, poor parenting, extreme-"isms," an unequal distribution of economic resources — each adding its share to the cycle of misery and violence the world over. Eliminating those conditions in society of 200 millions citizens (much less the world) seems an impossible task. Violence is a survival mechanism from deep in our evolutionary past. Controlling it, creating legal and social institutions for its acceptable expression has been a feature of every civilized society. It almost seems ridiculous to imagine a world without violence. Yet it remains a dream of humankind — and kind humans.

 

Footnotes


1 "Top 100 Web Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without," PC Magazine, March 25, 2003,Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 80-92.

2Oxford Reference Online: A Dictionary Of Sociology
[http://80www.oxfordreference.com.lib.pepperdine.edu/ views/ENTRY.html?ssid=246697729& entry=t88.000458&srn=1#FIRSTHIT]. Last accessed 02/24/03.

3 American Academy of Forensic Science: [http://www.aafs.org/]. Last accessed 02/23/03

4 Killoran, Katherine B., "Forensic Science: A Library Research Guide." Reference Services Review, Winter 1996,Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 15-30. Not only a concise introduction to the field of forensic science, but also an excellent primer on the seminal reference texts, journals, and databases in the subject. See the John Jay College of Criminal Justice [http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/researchnew.html] for a more current list of these resources. Last accessed 02/25/03.

5 Ibid., pp.18-19

6 Ibid., pp.24-25

7 Mnookin, Seth, "A Google for Cops," Newsweek, March 3, 2003, Vol. 141, p. 9.


Kenneth Fink's e-mail address is kenneth.fink@pepperdine.edu.
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