Approaches to Study of History of Murder

Posted: August 7th, 2013

Approaches to Study of History of Murder







Approaches to Study of History of Murder

Quantitative analysis in crime focuses on analyzing the statistics in past crime for prediction. Quantitative analysis helps in identifying patterns and trends in murder cases, such as where they happen the most, to whom, and why. This helps the investigators in identifying where murder is likely to happen next and police can deploy their resources to such areas. For instance, Adler [1]shows that many murders in Chicago in the late 19th century occurred in bars after people were drinking alcohol. Additionally, it showed that the victims were friends to their murderers. Therefore, with such a quantitative analysis, police could ensure more security in such areas where murders are likely to occur. Additionally, quantitative analysis of murder helps in devising strategies of arresting and identifying suspects. Through such an analysis, the police can always start investigations in a murder case by interrogating the friends whom the murdered were last seen together. In the study of history of murders, quantitative analysis plays a role of demonstrating the patterns and trends of murder in the past and possible reasons. It provides measurable and comparable information.

Despite its role in providing patterns and trends of murder in the study of history of crime, quantitative study has its shortcomings or weaknesses. The data produced is generalized and may not be applicable to all contexts or situations in every murder case. It is not always that murder will happen the same way as others have happened. Thus, it only provides a general overview of a certain phenomena. No certain theory and principle, such as a trend in crime exists[2].

Sensational approach differs from quantitative approach since it does not focus on the police deterrent of crime, trends, patterns or statistics. Rather, it focuses on the topic of the case itself, especially cases that raise the most concern within the community, drawing so many people to the courtrooms and forcing wider coverage in the daily papers. These cases put a lot of concern until they are sensational. In the study of history, this approach has two strengths. The first is that it can illuminate about the society and their response to crime. Above any other types of cases, sensational cases will question the interests of the public or society as much as they can interrogate on the case. It shows how over time the community changes, accepting some issues that looked unacceptable before. Additionally, it makes use of an effective narrative about the trial, providing better information in studying history of crime. Additionally, sensational cases explore themes within the community through the materials covered. For instance, Fass [3]sites that, “the themes explored in the repeated reimaginings of the case were once important to the twentieth century childhood, sexuality and the non-rational self …”[4]

Sensational cases that study cases that stirred a lot of concern during their time are quite enthralling. However, one weakness of this approach to study of history is that it fails to explore important changes that took place in the society and culture over the time. Rather than focusing on transitions in the society, it focuses on the changing mind of the people regarding crime. Additionally, it has little to do with deterrent of murder.

On the other hand, true crime looks in to past murder cases and their trials. It considers murders that have happened as well as their effects on people. More so, it considers the way such crimes happened. In studying history of crime, true crime plays a crucial role. One of its strengths is providing scholars with a true picture of crime in the community through showing details of the cases and their causes. True crime portrays the reality within the society, telling the cases as they happened[5]. This helps the scholars not only in having a glimpse of the crime, but also reasons for crime or motives and the way court handles murders. Additionally, it highlights the different evidence from different sources in a way that anybody can make their verdict. Scholars are able to learn how evidence has been used in the past

True crime has its advantages from the fact that it represents data as it was presented in the real life. On the other hand, it has its weaknesses. One of its weaknesses is relying on what is presented in the case by the parties involved. In a true crime approach, the reliance on the evidence of witnesses means that some evidence might be lost in case one forgets the details. Thus, despite being true, some details might not be very clear to the reader. Additionally, considering the stories on true crime are based on narration of people, they are likely to be distorted in ones defense.

Visual study is always a powerful way of studying even in crime. At murder scenes, pictures are taken to depict the scenario of the murder. Picture can aid in telling what caused the crime, such as gunshots, where the crime occurred, as well as proving other details that could be of importance in solving the case. Close up images from cameras provide details of the scene in a court of law as hard evidence [6]. With images, it is hard to refute anything. They act as complete proof evidence to a case. An image could highlight many issues such as predicting time of murder through the direction of light coming from a window. Therefore, the biggest strength of images is providing a real illustration of the incident. Additionally, photographic images are hard to alter since they remain the way they are, and do not lie.Images or photographs taken from cameras are hard to manipulate and provide compelling evidence. The strength of an image is also posed by its biggest weakness. Photographs take pictures of the real situation of the incident at that moment they are taken. Therefore, if a crime scene was manipulated or changed in any way, the picture could not show any of that (Hannigan, 1999). It will only take the image of what is seen at that moment. Therefore, a person could always change the scene so that the camera will get the wrong impression that could lead the truth.

Apart from pictures, stories are always told about crime, with some being fictional and some true. One thing that can be noted is that the stories provide a theory of solving the crime. With some being based on true murders, they could play a pivotal role in their study of history of crime. Stories will illustrate the timeline they were written. Therefore, one could always learn the techniques that were used at the timeline of the story for solving crime. Additionally, the illustrate theories of solving crime that scholars study, which could illustrate their effectiveness[7].

Stories of crime can be used to show some theories of crime and their way of solving. However, a story could always be manipulated since it will also rely on the author. Additionally, some are fictional and may not e reliable. It is hard to tell the validity of a story as a true story or fiction.



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