Blind spot: 9/11 in criminology

Wilem de Lint

Flinders University of South Australia

This paper reports on a critical analysis of the authorities relied upon in the criminological perception of “9/11”. Involving a deliberate attack on WTC 1, 2 and 7 and the Pentagon, 9/11 is important as a case study in forensics, terrorism studies, criminalistics, crime scene investigation, homicide studies, etc., and has had a momentous impact on policing, security and intelligence studies, criminal law, surveillance and privacy studies and a host of other fields in criminology (not to mention public policy in domestic and foreign affairs). However, evaluation of the criminological scholarship (journal articles) indicates an uncritical (direct or indirect) reliance on the authority of, in particular, the U.S. government account (represented in reports of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)). Given the momentous impact of the official version of the crime and significant shortcomings in these accounts, does this reliance and lack of skepticism in criminological scholarship represent a blind spot? If so, what might this suggest of the normative dimensions of the discipline?

Biography

Willem de Lint is a professor in the Flinders Law School and has written on terrorism, policing and security and surveillance.

Blind spot: 9/11 in criminology

Wilem de Lint

Flinders University of South Australia

This paper reports on a critical analysis of the authorities relied upon in the criminological perception of “9/11”. Involving a deliberate attack on WTC 1, 2 and 7 and the Pentagon, 9/11 is important as a case study in forensics, terrorism studies, criminalistics, crime scene investigation, homicide studies, etc., and has had a momentous impact on policing, security and intelligence studies, criminal law, surveillance and privacy studies and a host of other fields in criminology (not to mention public policy in domestic and foreign affairs). However, evaluation of the criminological scholarship (journal articles) indicates an uncritical (direct or indirect) reliance on the authority of, in particular, the U.S. government account (represented in reports of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)). Given the momentous impact of the official version of the crime and significant shortcomings in these accounts, does this reliance and lack of skepticism in criminological scholarship represent a blind spot? If so, what might this suggest of the normative dimensions of the discipline?

Biography

Willem de Lint is a professor in the Flinders Law School and has written on terrorism, policing and security and surveillance.

Getting to the heart of the matter: Understanding how families maintain relationships with a loved one in detention and potential for communicating by audio visual link

J.D. Murphy1,2*, K.L. Goodwin2,3

1 Design4Use Pty Ltd
2 Department of Justice NSW
3 Matchbox Studio

*corresponding author: john@design4use.com.au

Currently, the primary mechanisms for families to communicate with loved ones in detention centres in NSW in real time are telephone calls and in person visits to the detention centre.

With the increasing use of technology throughout the Justice sector, the use of remote audio visual link (AVL) is now starting to be adopted as an additional mechanism for communication.

This research study goes beyond the usual mechanisms of survey and interview and employs a diary method in a longitudinal qualitative study to gain a deep understanding of the experience of families communicating with a loved one in detention and by extension their needs and expectations of an audio visual link service to support this communication.

Findings suggest that AVL be thought of as a separate type of communication somewhere between a call and a visit. It has significant advantages of enabling people to see one another’s expressions, show photos, and be ‘hands free’. It supports family members to know how their loved one is going by virtue of being able to see them, and enables the possibility of reversing the visit context in contrast to in-person visits where the visitor is exposed to the detention environment.

The study concludes that policy, rules and guidelines for AVL communication between family and loved ones in detention should be developed independently of those for in person visits or phone calls. Ideas and expectations from participants include anticipation of monitoring, specific terms and conditions of use enforced on an individual basis, a flexible booking system, and access from portable devices, as well as a provision to connect with support from accessible locations.

The presentation will include (anonymised) poster-sized visual profiles of participants with excerpts and images from diaries, and a visual model for describing the ‘rollercoaster’ user experience of a prison visit.

Biography

John Murphy specialises in bringing the voice of the end user to design of software to create successful systems.He has over 20 years consulting experience including the Department of Justice in NSW and Victoria for five years through his company Design4Use.Qualifications: Masters Degree in Human Computer Interaction, University College London.

Kate has over 12 years of experience in design, technology and user experience. She works closely with key stakeholders from strategy through to product delivery.Kate has consulted to the NSW Department of Justice since October 2015. Qualifications: Master of Science in Information Systems, University of Melbourne.

What it means to ‘do’ media criminology

Katrina Clifford*1, Rob White1

1 School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania

*corresponding author: Katrina.Clifford@utas.edu.au

For the most part, scholarly research and academic literature on the relationship between media and crime has derived primarily from sociological and criminological perspectives with an under-developed regard for an applied or ‘working knowledge’ of media practices, and the nuances and layers of complexity that these command and derive. The result has been a mostly one-dimensional interpretation of the media-crime nexus that over-emphasises and perpetuates the idea that mediated representations of crime, criminality and criminal justice are ‘bad news’ oriented and distorting in content. This both negates the fact that positive portrayals are possible, and do indeed occur, as well as the ways in which media (in its broadest terms) can offer marginalised individuals a platform from which to speak back (sometimes to media misrepresentation) and lobby for change. Whilst the provincialism evident within the practice of media criminology may not be problematic in itself, we argue that there is much to be gained – in terms of richer, deeper, reflexive, nuanced and applied forms of analyses – from a more deliberate coupling and convergence of the empirical knowledge, conceptual approaches and research methodologies specific to the disciplinary fields of criminology and journalism and media studies. This paper shares the experiences of a recent collaboration of this kind. It explores the ways in which we have both been challenged by the perspectives and specialist language of the other, but have ultimately come to conclude that this is not reason enough to abandon the interdisciplinary enterprise; the benefits can far outweigh the drawbacks. In particular, we suggest that bringing together the best of both disciplinary backgrounds, experiences and expertise can create a space in which to critically discuss, debate and learn from one another in creative and productive ways. More importantly, it offers a chance to try and understand, negotiate and realise what it means to ‘do’ media criminology, especially within a changing media environment.

Biography

Dr Katrina Clifford is a lecturer and coordinator of industry placements and internships in the Journalism, Media and Communications program at the University of Tasmania. She worked as a journalist and strategic communications consultant for over 10 years, before joining academia. Katrina is the co-author of ‘Media and Crime: Content, Context and Consequence’ (OUP, forthcoming 2017) with Rob White, Professor of Criminology at the University of Tasmania.

Blind spot: 9/11 in criminology

Wilem de Lint

Flinders University of South Australia

This paper reports on a critical analysis of the authorities relied upon in the criminological perception of “9/11”. Involving a deliberate attack on WTC 1, 2 and 7 and the Pentagon, 9/11 is important as a case study in forensics, terrorism studies, criminalistics, crime scene investigation, homicide studies, etc., and has had a momentous impact on policing, security and intelligence studies, criminal law, surveillance and privacy studies and a host of other fields in criminology (not to mention public policy in domestic and foreign affairs). However, evaluation of the criminological scholarship (journal articles) indicates an uncritical (direct or indirect) reliance on the authority of, in particular, the U.S. government account (represented in reports of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)). Given the momentous impact of the official version of the crime and significant shortcomings in these accounts, does this reliance and lack of skepticism in criminological scholarship represent a blind spot? If so, what might this suggest of the normative dimensions of the discipline?

Blind spot: 9/11 in criminology

Wilem de Lint

Flinders University of South Australia

This paper reports on a critical analysis of the authorities relied upon in the criminological perception of “9/11”. Involving a deliberate attack on WTC 1, 2 and 7 and the Pentagon, 9/11 is important as a case study in forensics, terrorism studies, criminalistics, crime scene investigation, homicide studies, etc., and has had a momentous impact on policing, security and intelligence studies, criminal law, surveillance and privacy studies and a host of other fields in criminology (not to mention public policy in domestic and foreign affairs). However, evaluation of the criminological scholarship (journal articles) indicates an uncritical (direct or indirect) reliance on the authority of, in particular, the U.S. government account (represented in reports of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)). Given the momentous impact of the official version of the crime and significant shortcomings in these accounts, does this reliance and lack of skepticism in criminological scholarship represent a blind spot? If so, what might this suggest of the normative dimensions of the discipline?

Can criminological theory explain cyber-bullying? A test of general strain theory and the general theory of crime

A. McGrath1*, H. Lianos2

1 School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University
2 School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University

*corresponding author: amcgrath@csu.edu.au

The current study tests the ability of two well-known criminological theories to explain a specific deviant behaviour: cyberbullying. Three hundred and twenty tertiary students aged 18 to 30 years completed an online questionnaire measuring experiences of cyber-bullying as well as constructs from both the general theory of crime and general strain theory. Overall, evidence to support both theories was obtained. In relation to the general theory of crime, individuals with lower self-control and greater opportunity to offend (measured by time spent online) were more likely to engage in cyber-bullying. In relation to general strain theory, greater strain predicted higher levels of self-reported cyber bullying, with this relationship being mediated by anger. Specifically, individuals experiencing greater strain were more likely to experience anger and subsequently more likely to engage in cyber-bullying.

Biography

Andrew McGrath teaches forensic and developmental psychology at Charles Sturt University. He is interested in juvenile offending, risk assessment, and bullying. He was the winner of the Allen Austin Bartholomew award in 2009.

Can criminological theory explain cyber-bullying? A test of general strain theory and the general theory of crime

A. McGrath1*, H. Lianos2

1 School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University
2 School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University

*corresponding author: amcgrath@csu.edu.au

The current study tests the ability of two well-known criminological theories to explain a specific deviant behaviour: cyberbullying. Three hundred and twenty tertiary students aged 18 to 30 years completed an online questionnaire measuring experiences of cyber-bullying as well as constructs from both the general theory of crime and general strain theory. Overall, evidence to support both theories was obtained. In relation to the general theory of crime, individuals with lower self-control and greater opportunity to offend (measured by time spent online) were more likely to engage in cyber-bullying. In relation to general strain theory, greater strain predicted higher levels of self-reported cyber bullying, with this relationship being mediated by anger. Specifically, individuals experiencing greater strain were more likely to experience anger and subsequently more likely to engage in cyber-bullying.

Biography

Andrew McGrath teaches forensic and developmental psychology at Charles Sturt University. He is interested in juvenile offending, risk assessment, and bullying. He was the winner of the Allen Austin Bartholomew award in 2009.

‘Help us solve crime’: Analysing a Crime Stoppers media strategy

L. McGillivray1*, R. Lincoln1

1 Faculty of Society & Design, Bond University, Gold Coast.

*corresponding author: lmcgilli@bond.edu.au

CCTV footage of ‘real-life’ criminal activity is a popular commodity in the mediascape. The technology has fostered closer symbiotic partnerships between police services and media platforms via agencies like Crime Stoppers. While there has been much concern about public space CCTV and its surveillant capacities (Welsh & Farrington, 2009), less attention has been devoted to how camera footage has been re-purposed and co-opted by media organisations.

This paper presents findings from a content analysis of a weekly ‘On The Beat’ page published by a city-based tabloid newspaper, from its inception two years ago. The page generally hosts four to six photographs and short descriptions of incidents allegedly involving offending behaviours from petrol drive-offs and shoplifting to credit card fraud and assaults. Quantitative data were extracted from the 400 plus incidents depicted and coded for content (e.g., type, location, date) and quality (e.g., image, colour, visibility). Qualitative analysis was also conducted on the accompanying texts and on the overall rhetoric of the page.

Despite claims that this page solved ‘one in five matters published’ the picture quality is generally poor, the incident descriptions are of variable detail, and the selection process tends to concentrate on minor property offences. The broader implications include the abrogation of the presumption of innocence (labelling those depicted as ‘thieves’); the potential to exacerbate fear of crime by repeated reference to the ‘low-life’ (Lee, 2007); the narrow range of offence settings suggests that private enterprise attracts greater police attention (Lippert & Wilkinson, 2010); further evidence for the notion of the banality of CCTV (Goold, 2013); and the capacity to engender more punitive public attitudes with the featured epithet to ‘help solve crime’. Greater research is needed in the absence of robust evaluations of these police-media marriages and the public acceptance of CCTV.

Biography

Laura works as a Teaching Fellow and Senior Research Assistant at Bond University. Her research and teaching focus is on the nexus between media and crime, with keen interest toward this within green criminology. Laura has also been involved in research on illicit drug use and attitudes and tertiary pedagogy.

Robyn has research interests in Aboriginal crime and justice, miscarriages and forensics, and crime prevention. She has co-authored books such as Justice in the Deep North, The Last Woman Hanged in Australia, and Crime Over Time; as well publications on workplace violence, DNA evidence, forensic interviewing and ‘naming and shaming’.

‘Help us solve crime’: Analysing a Crime Stoppers media strategy

L. McGillivray1*, R. Lincoln1

1 Faculty of Society & Design, Bond University, Gold Coast.

*corresponding author: lmcgilli@bond.edu.au

CCTV footage of ‘real-life’ criminal activity is a popular commodity in the mediascape. The technology has fostered closer symbiotic partnerships between police services and media platforms via agencies like Crime Stoppers. While there has been much concern about public space CCTV and its surveillant capacities (Welsh & Farrington, 2009), less attention has been devoted to how camera footage has been re-purposed and co-opted by media organisations.

This paper presents findings from a content analysis of a weekly ‘On The Beat’ page published by a city-based tabloid newspaper, from its inception two years ago. The page generally hosts four to six photographs and short descriptions of incidents allegedly involving offending behaviours from petrol drive-offs and shoplifting to credit card fraud and assaults. Quantitative data were extracted from the 400 plus incidents depicted and coded for content (e.g., type, location, date) and quality (e.g., image, colour, visibility). Qualitative analysis was also conducted on the accompanying texts and on the overall rhetoric of the page.

Despite claims that this page solved ‘one in five matters published’ the picture quality is generally poor, the incident descriptions are of variable detail, and the selection process tends to concentrate on minor property offences. The broader implications include the abrogation of the presumption of innocence (labelling those depicted as ‘thieves’); the potential to exacerbate fear of crime by repeated reference to the ‘low-life’ (Lee, 2007); the narrow range of offence settings suggests that private enterprise attracts greater police attention (Lippert & Wilkinson, 2010); further evidence for the notion of the banality of CCTV (Goold, 2013); and the capacity to engender more punitive public attitudes with the featured epithet to ‘help solve crime’. Greater research is needed in the absence of robust evaluations of these police-media marriages and the public acceptance of CCTV.

Biography

Laura works as a Teaching Fellow and Senior Research Assistant at Bond University. Her research and teaching focus is on the nexus between media and crime, with keen interest toward this within green criminology. Laura has also been involved in research on illicit drug use and attitudes and tertiary pedagogy.

Robyn has research interests in Aboriginal crime and justice, miscarriages and forensics, and crime prevention. She has co-authored books such as Justice in the Deep North, The Last Woman Hanged in Australia, and Crime Over Time; as well publications on workplace violence, DNA evidence, forensic interviewing and ‘naming and shaming’.

ABOUT ANZSOC

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