Why obsess about criminal justice?

Yes, criminology and criminal justice is my obsession, especially now that I am in my third year of PhD research on youth justice policy in England and Wales and in the process of writing up my thesis. So no, I am not deranged and not overly crazy (it helps in life if you are a bit, just a bit crazy) but I have just recently decided to share my passion with everyone in the world. Whether you are interested in criminology or not, whether you have never been a victim of crime or even have entered a court house, you must admit that criminal behaviour does draw a lot of attention these days.

It is hard to look at any news media without being bombarded with statistics and figures following the latest ‘terrorist attack’ or ‘mass-shooting’ about something remotely related to crime and criminal behaviour. For example, there was an article about gun control laws in Germany in The Guardian, following the Munich shootings on 22 July 2016. According to the article, “gun ownership in Germany is the highest in the European Union and the fourth highest in the world, with more guns legally owned per capita than in Mexico, Russia or South Africa. More than 5.4 million guns are registered as being in private hands”, which is quite hard to imagine as the end of the article states that Germany is one of the countries with the stictest gun control laws in Europe. This includes the fact that gun ownership is not a right and it is not enshrined in the German constitution. To illustrate, those applying for a gun licence must go under a psychiatric evaluation (those under 25 and those with criminal records or previous mental health difficulties).

Comperatively, gun ownership in the US is much higher – 41% of households in the US owned one or more firearms in 2015. In Germany, this number is: 12.5% of households had possession of one or more licensed firearms in 2005. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find more recent comparative figures that would be reliable. (If any of you reading this have got any more recent stats, I’d be very interested!)

Food for thought:

Germany: in Germany only licensed gun owners may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition.

Canada: only licensed gun owners

Hungary: only licensed gun owners

India: only licensed gun owners

United Kingdom: only licensed gun owners

United States: non-prohibited of persons of minimum age

Source: GunPolicy.org

Why is this interesting? Because media highlights comparisons that uncomperable – for the sake of shock value. But who is going to remember these facts? Or why is this relevant today? Is that because of the recent shootings in Munich? How long is it going to take for the media to move on from this news story to the next? This is why I have started this blog: to increase interest in our everyday lives of which crime is a big part of. Also to keep reminding everyone that crime is such a fascinating area, so diverse and everyone can relate to crime in one way of another. So the question then becomes: Do more stringent gun laws protect the public from mass shootings? Interesting research quesiton, right?

So why am I fascinated by crime and criminology? Yes, crime is all around us and criminal behaviour is fascinating for a number of reasons. One of which is the motivation of why people commit certain crimes. There is so much more to it then what you see in fictional television, like Law and Order, CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds or other sometimes exaggarated TV shows. Criminal behaviour has wide ranging impacts and as we increasingly live in a globalised society – I, for one ,believe I am a global citizen – criminal behaviour affects every one of us, diretly or indirectly. Crime evolves and is a fluid concept as will be discussed in future blogs. For now, I want you to think about and read up on the gun control laws of your country and how it affects gun related crimes in your area. Any comments, let me know and comment!

Please rememeber to share my page – any support will be much appreciated!

Interesting links:

Comparing murder rates and gun ownership across countries

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/home

http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#page/indexes/global-peace-index/2013/DEU/OVER

 

 

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