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Concept: Violent crime


Four assumptions frequently arise in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States: (1) that mental illness causes gun violence, (2) that psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime, (3) that shootings represent the deranged acts of mentally ill loners, and (4) that gun control “won’t prevent” another Newtown (Connecticut school mass shooting). Each of these statements is certainly true in particular instances. Yet, as we show, notions of mental illness that emerge in relation to mass shootings frequently reflect larger cultural stereotypes and anxieties about matters such as race/ethnicity, social class, and politics. These issues become obscured when mass shootings come to stand in for all gun crime, and when “mentally ill” ceases to be a medical designation and becomes a sign of violent threat. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print December 12, 2014: e1-e10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302242).

Concepts: Health care, Mental health, Sociology, Mental disorder, Violent crime, Psychiatry, Mental illness, Insanity defense


Little is known about the impact of urbanicity, adverse neighborhood conditions and violent crime victimization on the emergence of adolescent psychotic experiences.

Concepts: Crime, Knowledge, Violent crime, Violence, Procedural knowledge


Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are widely prescribed, associations with violence are uncertain.

Concepts: Serotonin, Crime, Violent crime, Violence, Antidepressant, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Tricyclic antidepressant, Reuptake inhibitor


Background Little is known about the relative extent of crime against people with severe mental illness (SMI). Aims To assess the prevalence and impact of crime among people with SMI compared with the general population. Method A total of 361 psychiatric patients were interviewed using the national crime survey questionnaire, and findings compared with those from 3138 general population controls participating in the contemporaneous national crime survey. Results Past-year crime was experienced by 40% of patients v. 14% of controls (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.8, 95% CI 2.0-3.8); and violent assaults by 19% of patients v. 3% of controls (adjusted OR = 5.3, 95% CI 3.1-8.8). Women with SMI had four-, ten- and four-fold increases in the odds of experiencing domestic, community and sexual violence, respectively. Victims with SMI were more likely to report psychosocial morbidity following violence than victims from the general population. Conclusions People with SMI are at greatly increased risk of crime and associated morbidity. Violence prevention policies should be particularly focused on people with SMI.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Odds ratio, Crime, Violent crime, Violence, Psychiatry, Mental illness, Violence against women


Population-based studies on violent crime and background factors may provide an understanding of the relationships between susceptibility factors and crime. We aimed to determine the distribution of violent crime convictions in the Swedish population 1973-2004 and to identify criminal, academic, parental, and psychiatric risk factors for persistence in violent crime.

Concepts: Economics, Crime, Conviction, Criminal law, Violent crime, Distribution of wealth, Swedish people, Crime in the United States


Food insecurity and hunger during childhood are associated with an array of developmental problems in multiple domains, including impulse control problems and violence. Unfortunately, extant research is based primarily on small convenience samples and an epidemiological assessment of the hunger-violence link is lacking. The current study employed data from Wave 1 (2001-2002) and Wave 2 (2004-2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The NESARC is a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized U.S. residents aged 18 years and older. Participants who experienced frequent hunger during childhood had significantly greater impulsivity, worse self-control, and greater involvement in several forms of interpersonal violence. These effects were stronger among whites, Hispanics, and males. The findings support general theoretical models implicating impulse control problems as a key correlate of crime and violence and add another facet to the importance of ameliorating food neglect in the United States.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Epidemiology, United States, Crime, Violent crime, Child abuse, Famine


It is controversial if global warming will result into increased crime and conflict rate, and no causal neurobiological mechanisms have been proposed for the putative association between ambient temperature and aggressive behavior. This study shows that during 1996-2013, ambient temperature explained 10% of variance in the violent crime rate in Finland, corresponding to a 1.7% increase/degree centigrade. Ambient temperature also correlated with a one month delay in circannual changes in peripheral serotonin transporter density among both offenders and healthy control subjects, which itself correlated strongly with the monthly violent crime rate. This suggests that rise in temperature modulates serotonergic transmission which may increase impulsivity and general human activity level, resulting into increase in social interaction and risk of violent incidents. Together, these results suggest that the effect of ambient temperature on occurrence of violent crime is partly mediated through the serotonergic system, and that a 2 °C increase in average temperatures would increase violent crime rates by more than 3% in non-tropical and non-subtropical areas, if other contributing factors remained constant.

Concepts: Temperature, Serotonin, Aggression, Crime, Violent crime, Violence, Human behavior, Crime in the United States


In response to increasing violent crime rates in several U.S. cities over the past year, some have pointed the finger of blame at de-policing, a result of the so-called “Ferguson Effect.” Although the Ferguson Effect on crime rates remains an open question, there may also be a Ferguson Effect on other aspects of police officers' jobs, such as willingness to partner with community members. This study used data from a cross-sectional survey of 567 deputies at an agency in the southeastern U.S. to accomplish 2 objectives: (a) to determine whether the Ferguson Effect is associated with de-policing in the form of decreased willingness to engage in community partnership, and (b) to determine whether such an effect persists upon accounting for perceived organizational justice and self-legitimacy. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression equations revealed that the Ferguson Effect (as operationalized by reduced motivation stemming from recent negative publicity) was associated with less willingness to engage in community partnership (b = -.10; 95% CI = -.16, -.05). However, upon accounting for organizational justice and self-legitimacy, the Ferguson Effect was rendered insignificant (b = .01; 95% CI = -.05, .07). The findings suggest that officers who have confidence in their authority or perceive their agency as fair are more willing to partner with the community to solve problems, regardless of the effects of negative publicity. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Crime, Violent crime, Least squares, Problem solving, Police, Crime in the United States


To examine the relation between income inequality and school bullying (perpetration, victimisation and bully/victims) and explore whether the relation is attributable to international differences in violent crime.

Concepts: Crime, Violent crime, Time series, Economic inequality, Social psychology, Bullying


BACKGROUND: Community violence is a substantial problem for the NHS. Information sharing of emergency department data with community safety partnerships (CSP) has been associated with substantial reductions in assault attendances in emergency departments supported by academic institutions. We sought to validate these findings in a setting not supported by a public health or academic structure. METHODS: We instituted anonymous data sharing with the police to reduce community violence, and increased involvement with the local CSP. We measured the effectiveness of this approach with routinely collected data at the emergency department and the police. We used police data from 2009, and emergency department data from 2000. RESULTS: Initially, the number of assault patients requiring emergency department treatment rose after we initiated data sharing. After improving the data flows, the number of assault patients fell back to the predata-sharing level. There was no change in the number of hospital admissions during the study period. There were decreases in the numbers of violent crimes against the person, with and without injury, recorded by the police. CONCLUSIONS: We have successfully implemented data sharing in our institution without the support of an academic institution. This has been associated with reductions in violent crime, but it is not clear whether this association is causal.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Hospital, Validation, Crime, Violent crime, Violence, Institution, Academic elitism