Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Community Policing & Counter Terrorism: Community Policing Philosophy as a Tool for Local LAw Enforcement to Counter Terrorist Activities

    Author:
    Charles Lieberman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maria Haberfeld
    Abstract:

    The phenomenon of terrorism has become an issue of great concern to society and the response of governments has varied throughout the world. For the purpose of this study, an act of terrorism will be operationalized as the use of force by non-state actors against a civilian population in an attempt to coerce a target audience to implement a political, economic, religious or ideological change. The United States (US) government has utilized a number of federal organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency, to investigate and prevent acts of terrorism both domestically and internationally. Although many local law enforcement agencies have received increased funding to address the phenomenon of terrorism, there has been limited research conducted to ascertain the changes implemented and the effectiveness of new programs and training. The state of preparedness of local law enforcement agencies in their proactive efforts to counter terrorism is shrouded in the dark. There has been practically no research in the area of mobilization of local communities in intelligence gathering and other proactive tools to counter terrorist activities. The local law enforcement response to the phenomenon of terrorism remains unknown for an overwhelming majority of departments in the US. The goal of this research study is to assess the feasibility of implementation of some of the most basic tenets of the community oriented policing philosophy in mobilization of the communities by local law enforcement agencies in their effort to become proactive in the fight against local and global terrorist threat. Through utilization of a number of focus groups in the Northeast region of the US the researcher measures and assesses the attitudes and perspectives of both law enforcement and non-law enforcement towards the possibility of engagement of community members in a proactive effort to counter terrorism on a local level. The focus on the local level is supported in part by recent academic studies that have found, in the case of actors involved with the commission of terrorist attacks in the US, the existence of spatial relationships among residence of actor, preparatory activities, and target selection. The research found support for community policing in proactive counter-terrorism.

  • The Application of Dispersion Staining and Infrared Microspectroscopy to Analyze Physical Evidence in Developing Countries

    Author:
    Thiti Mahacharoen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    John Reffner
    Abstract:

    In developing countries like Thailand and in remote forensic laboratories around the world, scientific investigations of crimes are limited by the shortage of trained personnel and financial resources. The premise of this research is that polarized light microscope and dispersion staining methods will be developed which allow investigators with limited training to analyze physical evidence at a minimal cost. This research identifies specific liquids for the analysis of trace evidence using the dispersion staining technique. The development of dispersion staining technique and identification of specific liquid will extend the application of forensic science to remote laboratories and in the field to improve criminal investigations and justice. The methods developed in this research are fast, inexpensive and require minimum training; meeting the needs of developing countries and laboratories in the remote area. Dispersion staining is a non-destructive microscopical method that creates a uniquely colored image of a transparent sample when it is mounted in a specific liquid. This color is produced by differences between the refraction of light by the sample and surrounding liquid. The scientific principles of these techniques are well-established, but when applied to forensic science, they advance the capacity of developing countries to achieve high standards of evidentiary proof at lower cost. The collection of evidence, documentation of a crime scene and scientific examination of physical evidence are foundations of criminal investigation which both strengthen the prosecution and prevent wrongful convictions. This technique can be used to detect, compare and identify very small particles. In this study, three classes of trace evidence were selected to demonstrate the practicality and advantages of this technique. The three classes are fibers, controlled drugs and soil minerals. Samples of each evidence class were analyzed in two steps: first, the Becke line method was used to observe and record the relative refractive index between a sample and mounting liquid, the second step was to put each sample in a specific refractive index liquid to generate distinct colors of the sample. The dispersion staining technique can differentiate and identify an unknown sample by the color produced in a liquid of a specific refractive index value. To validate the composition of exemplar evidence material, FTIR microprobe analysis was used. The rapid and reliable results of this method will aid criminal investigation in a remote area, improve law enforcement and reduce demands on central laboratory facilities.

  • The Relationship Between Possessing Child Pornography And Child Molestation

    Author:
    Jennifer McCarthy
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Karen Terry
    Abstract:

    Based on integrated theories of sex offending, non-contact (n=176) and contact (n=71) adult male child pornography offenders were compared on dispositional and transitory dispositional variables. Contact child pornography offenders were successfully discriminated from their non-contact counterparts based on their deviant sexual interests, criminal history, inability to self-regulate sexually, substance abuse history, online seduction of minors and networking with others who had similar deviant sexual interests. For contact child pornography offenders, four factors were found to be predictive of child sex abuse - criminal history, marital status, involvement in indiscriminate sexual behavior, and the online seduction of minors. Additionally, from a situational perspective, the offense process of contact child pornography offenders was found to be similar to that of child molesters.

  • The Chemical Analysis of Modern Tattoo Inks

    Author:
    Michelle Miranda
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kubic
    Abstract:

    The application of vibrational spectroscopic methods to the analysis of modern organic pigments found in tattoo inks is explored in this project. In the field of forensic science, the recognition and identification of both inorganic and organic pigments in human tissue can aid in the identification of charred, decomposed, mummified or otherwise unidentifiable remains in criminal investigations and mass disasters (natural, accidental and as a result of terrorism). In the field of art conservation and cultural heritage, the characterization and archiving of organic pigments in traditional tattoo inks can aid in future anthropological and archaeological studies of human culture and history. The criminal justice field has long studied the culture and impact of tattooing, especially in criminal behavior and incarcerated individuals. A more detailed knowledge of the composition of tattoo inks can assist in understanding criminal behavior and cultural practices of individuals in prison settings and among social groups. Furthermore, by detailing the visual, microscopic and spectroscopic analysis of tattoo inks along with describing the theories of vibrational spectroscopy and color chemistry, a thorough analytical method can be developed and validated to conform to current forensic laboratory accreditation standards and the satisfaction of legal standards such as Frye, Daubert and the Federal Rules of Evidence. The aim of this research is to scientifically evaluate tattoo inks by documenting the physical properties of the inks both macroscopically and microscopically and by identifying the optical and chemical properties of the pigments spectroscopically. This is done in an effort to qualitatively identify tattoo inks resulting in the ability to discriminate between different colors, within similar colors and between different brands of tattoo inks. The lack of an established method of analysis of tattoo inks for identification and comparison is an additional catalyst for this research. The primary means of characterization is based upon molecular structural determination using normal micro-Raman spectroscopy. This method will be supplemented by several other methods commonly employed in forensic science and art conservation laboratories, such as Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS), Fourier-transform Raman spectroscopy (FT-Raman), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV/Vis).

  • Dual Arrest in Intimate Partner Violence Incidents: The Influence of Police Officer, Incident, and Organizational Characteristics

    Author:
    Patrick Morris
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Justin Ready
    Abstract:

    An unintended consequence of mandatory and preferred arrest laws has been dual arrest, the arrest of both parties in an incident involving intimate partner violence. Concern has been raised that its continued use may have an undesirable impact on the victims of this crime, particularly as it relates to revictimization by the criminal justice system. Using family violence arrest data from 21 municipalities in southwestern Connecticut for calendar year 2005, this research tests the influence of officer, incident and organizational variables on the decision to arrest both parties in an incident involving intimate partner violence. The sampling frame for the research is all family violence incidents that occurred from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005 in the 21 municipalities identified above, that resulted in arrest. In order for the incident to be included in the sampling frame, it had to involve a couple in an intimate relationship. The data analysis was conducted in a three-step process. Univariate analyses consist of means, frequency and percentage distributions, and tabular displays of the relative distribution of scores on each variable. Bivariate analyses consist of chi square tests of statistical independence. Finally, binary logistic regression was employed to test each of the independent variables and examine their contribution to the prediction of dual arrest. Significant predictors were identified as departmental policy with self-defense language, offense seriousness, officer seniority, and spousal relationship. The methodology also included a qualitative component in the form of focus groups. Four focus groups of 4-6 officers each were conducted in an effort to further explain quantitative results and attempt to probe the minds of the police officers making these arrest decisions. Additional issues raised by police officers during the focus groups were the influence of liability, field training officers, and first line supervisors. The implications of the research include an increased understanding of dual arrest, the need for better data collection, illumination of the benefits of self-defense language in departmental policies, the need for enhanced police officer training, and demonstration of the need for primary aggressor language in statutory law.

  • Exploring change in local criminal justice systems: An examination of the implementation of the Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level model in three U.S. counties

    Author:
    Suzanne Neusteter
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Jeff Mellow
    Abstract:

    Tough on crime policies in the U.S. began to emerge in the 1970s and steeply escalated through the 1980s and 1990s, prompting massive growth of correctional populations and criminal justice costs. Although many of these policy and legislative reforms were enacted at the federal and state levels, they have trickled down and greatly affected localities across the country. The recent economic downturn has exerted additional pressures on local governments. These factors have prompted the development of a number of planned change strategies designed to curb the escalating growth and related costs in criminal justice systems. One such approach, Justice Reinvestment at the Local Level (JRLL), targets the implementation of a planned change model within local criminal justice systems. This dissertation employs qualitative and quantitative data from three case studies to test if the JRLL planned change strategy supports the Lewin-White planned change schema. Lewin's model involves three phases: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. White advances this three-step process, arguing that for the purposes of full system change the final phase of Lewin's model requires a commitment to an iterative and experimental process. This study analyzed data from two waves of stakeholder interviews and surveys to assess if change was evident in areas pertaining to the Lewin-White model. Mixed results from the three JRLL case studies are somewhat consistent with this schema, and serve as an intermediate benchmark for success, indicating that the JRLL model has promise to affect full system change in the three study sites and potentially elsewhere as well.

  • Developing Theoretical Propositions of Far-Right Ideological Victimization

    Author:
    William Parkin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Joshua Freilich
    Abstract:

    This study develops theoretical propositions of far-right ideological victimization using empirical data from the Extremist Crime Database, a unique, relational database that collects information on criminal activities, both ideological and routine, committed by domestic extremists in the United States. Data related to far-right ideological homicide events was collected, cleaned, and analyzed on the individual, situational, and macro-levels of analysis. Ideological victims were compared to other types of homicide victims, such as far-right non-ideological victims and "routine" homicide victims. Univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistical analyses were conducted to determine whether far-right ideological victims were similar or different to any of the comparison groups. After presenting the empirical results, theoretical propositions of far- right ideological victimization were formally stated, focusing on the concept of differential identity. It is argued that the presence and magnitude of differential identity on multiple levels of analysis can help to explain and predict ideological victimization risk. The study ends with a discussion of its contributions, limitations, and policy implications.

  • American Sports Fans: What Makes Them Tick, and Sometimes Explode, and What Attributes of the Arena Contribute to Fan Incidents

    Author:
    Meredith Patten
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Joshua Freilich
    Abstract:

    This study of fan behavior at professional sporting events in select United States (U.S.) cities addresses three points: theoretical explanations of fan violence (from Europe and the U.S.); amount and type of fan violence/aggressive behavior occurring at professional sporting events and what characteristics of the arena contribute to incidents (examined across sport and city); and suggested measures for individual organizations and cities to combat the problem. In the U.S., fan violence is typified by a November 2004 incident during a National Basketball League game at the Auburn Hills Arena in Michigan that involved fans and players and led to multiple arrests and the suspension of some National Basketball Association players. This event is now commonly referred to as the "Basketbrawl." Yet, despite increased attention paid to fan behavior in the U.S., little research has been conducted on the behavior of spectators at professional sporting events. This study begins to fill this gap by examining the seriousness (assault versus non-assault) of arrests at sporting events in the U.S. Using a binary logistical regression model; the research shows that offender demographics are predictors of crime seriousness. However, the characteristics of the stadium, such as parking structure and whether the stadium was indoor or outdoor, were not. The research serves as a starting point to examine other attributes of the stadium and implement policies to keep incident numbers down and less serious.

  • UV-VISIBLE MICROSCOPE SPECTROPHOTOMETRIC POLARIZATION AND DICHROISM WITH INCREASED DISCRIMINATION POWER IN FORENSIC ANALYSIS

    Author:
    Dale Purcell
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kubic
    Abstract:

    Microanalysis of transfer (Trace) evidence is the application of a microscope and microscopical techniques for the collection, observation, documentation, examination, identification, and discrimination of micrometer sized particles or domains. Microscope spectrophotometry is the union of microscopy and spectroscopy for microanalysis. Analytical microspectroscopy is the science of studying the emission, reflection, transmission, and absorption of electromagnetic radiation to determine the structure or chemical composition of microscopic-size materials. Microscope spectrophotometry instrument designs have evolved from monochromatic illumination which transmitted through the microscope and sample and then is detected by a photometer detector (photomultiplier tube) to systems in which broad-band (white light) illumination falls incident upon a sample followed by a non-scanning grating spectrometer equipped with a solid-state multi-element detector. Most of these small modern spectrometers are configured with either silicon based charged-couple device detectors (200-950 nm) or InGaAs based diode array detectors (850-2300 nm) with computerized data acquisition and signal processing being common. A focus of this research was to evaluate the performance characteristics of various modern forensic (UV-Vis) microscope photometer systems as well as review early model instrumental designs. An important focus of this research was to efficiently measure ultraviolet-visible spectra of microscopically small specimens for classification, differentiation, and possibly individualization. The first stage of the project consisted of the preparation of microscope slides containing neutral density filter reference materials, molecular fluorescence reference materials, and dichroic reference materials. Upon completion of these standard slide preparations analysis began with measurements in order to evaluate figures of merit for comparison of the instruments investigated. The figures of merit investigated included: 1) wavelength accuracy, 2) wavelength precision, 3) wavelength resolution stability, 4) photometric accuracy, 5) photometric precision, 6) photometric linearity, 7) photometric noise, and 8) short-term baseline stability. In addition, intrinsic instrument polarization effects were investigated to determine the impact of these properties on spectral interpretation and data quality. Finally, a set of recommendations were developed which describe instrument performance characteristics for microscope and spectrometer features and functions, and specific instrument parameters that must be controlled in order to acquire high quality data from an ultraviolet-visible forensic microscope spectrophotometer system for increased discrimination power.

  • Intimate Partner Violence: An Examination of Ecological Factors

    Author:
    Sheetal Ranjan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Criminal Justice
    Advisor:
    Maureen O'Connor
    Abstract:

    Intimate Partner Violence has commonly been examined using an individual-psychological or a socio-structural perspective. Little research has examined IPV using an integrated approach. Specifically, little research has focused on understanding IPV in the context of neighborhood or ecology. In ecological studies the units of analysis are spatially defined population aggregates (Anselin, Cohen, Cook, Gor and Tita 2000). The Steering Committee for the Workshop on Issues in Research on Violence against Women, National Research Council clearly identifies the need for ecological research in relation to IPV: "The committee recommends research to estimate the extent of variation in violence against women among census tracts or small neighborhoods, police precincts or districts, or other theoretically meaningful social area aggregations. Research should also be aimed at determining which features of area composition influence rates and types of violence against women." (Kruttschnitt, McLaughlin and Petrie, 2004, p5). The present study, therefore, uses both individual level and community level data to understand the features of area composition that influence IPV. A combination of primary data from survey participants and secondary data from the Census, Infoshare, New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Domestic Violence Research Unit of the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services were modeled using Hierarchal Linear Models (HLM) software. The data were also geo-coded on electronic maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Multi-level binomial regression results indicate no neighborhood effects for the survey sample, whereas Moran's I tests using Geoda software indicate significant spatial clustering of IPV rates in police precincts. Further, regression analysis shows that concentrated disadvantage (b=.55), immigrant concentration (b=-.22) and community violence (b=.31) significantly predict IPV rate in police precincts accounting for about 71 percent of variance in the model.