Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Erin H. Kimmerle, Ph.D.

Keywords

Homicide, GIS, Anthropology, Social structure, Spatial geography

Abstract

Anthropological studies of community structures and human relationships of today's societies are becoming increasingly important for crime analysis. Law enforcement agencies are often challenged with the task of connecting multiple locations to persons involved in crimes to solve cases. Using the structures of the target communities and the social relationship between the victim and offender, spatial distributions of crimes can be reconstructed. Data used in this analysis were collected from Hillsborough County, Florida (n=420) and Lancaster County, Nebraska (n=48) law enforcement agencies within the years 1997-2007. The hypothesis of this paper is: if the social relationship between the victim and offender affect the spatial distribution of significant locations in a criminal homicide, then by exploiting the relationship of the involved individuals, can one acknowledge the possibility of generalized spatial configurations, depending on the type of community in which it occurred? Geographic distance results are cross-referenced to the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, and scrutinized with frequencies, chi-square tests, cross-tabulations, correlations, mean comparison, and descriptive statistics. Results show similar frequencies of social relationship categories and the frequencies of victim and offender sex. However, the mechanism of death, victim and offender age differences, victim precipitation, and offender ancestries of domestic homicides, co-habitation cases, and distances between locations differ between the two communities. These variables' frequencies and patterns show some variation between the two regional settings. The goal of this paper is to identify the variables, through assessing community structures and social relationships, which affect the rates of social violence.

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