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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200923 Find in a Library
Title: Even Criminals Take a Holiday: Instrumental and Expressive Crimes on Major and Minor Holidays
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:31  Issue:4  Dated:July/August 2003  Pages:351-360
Author(s): Ellen G. Cohn; James Rotton
Editor(s): Kent B. Joscelyn
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored the possibility that the impact of individual holidays, both major and minor, on crime rates might be affected not only by the type of behavior encouraged by the holiday, but also by the type of crime being studied.
Abstract: Very little is known about which crimes might occur more frequently on holidays and which occur less frequently. According to routine activity (RA) theory, changes in routine or typical activities increase the probability that individuals will be vulnerable to certain types of criminal victimization. Prior research shows that nearly all of the holidays found to be associated with changes in criminal behavior were Federal or “national” holidays. Minor holidays do not usually involve major changes in daily activities and therefore, should not be associated with significant changes in patterns of criminal behavior. Because it was not possible to obtain reliable estimates of events/holidays that occurred no more than once a year, this research based estimates on 3-hour instead of 24-hour averages. This increased the number of estimates for each holiday from one to eight during each year. The analyses in this study were based on data covering a 3-year period, yielding 24 observations during most holidays, increasing the accuracy of the temperature variable. Results indicate that the impact of holidays on criminal behavior was affected by both the type of crime and the significance of the holiday in modern society. The results were consistent with predictions derived from the RA theory suggesting that major holidays were more likely to affect and alter people’s normal daily activities, bringing family and friends together in a setting that frequently involved consumption of alcohol. At the same time, the presence of people in the home might serve as a protection against property crimes by reducing the number of potential targets. References
Main Term(s): Crime Causes
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Crime patterns; Crime Rate; Criminology; Criminology theory evaluation; Routine activity theory; Seasonal influences on crime
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