Homicide has become one of the many lethal and widely reported forms of murder in our vast society. According to Vries (2011), the suicidal tendencies witnessed in our neighborhood in result in retaliations that end up in protracted battles between law enforcement officers and the perpetrators. This wave of violence is usually intertwined with scandals. A probable reason reasons is that most governments and concerned authorities have always shown their shown an ineptness to handle homicides effectively. In statistics laid out by United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) (2013), homicide is growing up into a catastrophic phenomenon.
As homicide seems to be emanating from a greater social evil in our society, there is a dire need to adopt an appropriate response mechanism to prevent the increased prevalence of this evil. According to the crime unit report filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), (2014), the homicide rates are on the rise as compared to the previous years. In this report, the prevalence levels were reported at a high of 27% in the U.S alone. Homicides not only result in the loss of lives but also threaten the progress of the local and national economies. The security measures that are required in order to address homicides is a constant topic of debate among concerned stakeholders.
The first step in unfolding the barbarism of homicide is understanding the psychology of the perpetrators of homicides. Corzine (2011) argues that these individuals are not different from the typical citizen. The perpetrators of homicides have no identifying signs and leave no trace in the early stages of their transformation. They may seem to be catching up with the frenzies of life. They have normal relationships and lead a standard life just like others within the neighborhood. However, during this stage, they tend to nature their innate personality.
These individuals form ideologies based on their surrounding information. They will develop a mixed reaction about some of the pertinent issues that compromise their ideologies, and ride on outburst anger behind their doors. At the full blown stage, this personality disorder is uncontrollable and unleashed to ambush and devour the enemy to their new perception of brutal civilization. In the US, most of this trend has been well known for those feeling “insecure”, within their neighborhood and vast society (Altheimer, 2012). This may range well for the majority and the minority affiliate groups within a society. The groups in some type of way, may feel threatened because of their social standing or just neglected. In order to deal with such emotions, they rise in every way above the status quo and protect the dignity of their very own ideologies. A good instance is the persistent, wrangles between the majority and minority groups within the U.S, for a sense of what they perceive as the struggle for patriotism.
As Altheimer (2012) argues, not everyone who claims a homicide ideation as the cause of their strange behavior pattern is likely to commit homicide. Associating psychopathology as a causal factor will not necessarily guarantee one’s tendency to commit suicide. However, diagnostic research has continued to show that there are chances that people with increased schizophrenia have a high tendency to commit violence. From this instance, it is arguable that the victims pleading guilty to their charges may not deliberately use insanity as an excuse to evade prisons. It is for this reason that the government is always keen to test this sanity claims under strict surveillance of behavior pattern in the rehabilitation centers.
Of significance to understanding the homicidal tendencies is venturing into the background of the perpetrators. According to an assessment carried out by, (NVRS) National Death Reporting System in the U.S, Nielssen (2013) argues that the networks of homicides committed have a close linkage to the early childhood upbringing and family socioeconomic situations. For instance, the mystery surrounding “the acid bath murder” of 1944 reveals the effect of the background of the perpetrators. This was one of the clearest instances unmasked much later, after the mysterious death of almost entire Mc Swan family. The follow up on this case found out that John Haigh, the perpetrator of the murder, grew up away from the outside life and lead a life of solitude, probably to what the parents of the perpetrator regarded as “The outside evil world”. Ironically, the boy never lived up to the strong teaching and religious background that his family professes. The consequences of it all were leading a fraudulent and miserable life of a criminal, who made no hesitation to take away innocent lives of friends and business associates.
There still exists a voluminous amount of court cases pending against homicide in the legal corridors. The solution to providing justice solely lies upon the rational court ultimatums. There are many victims who out of frustration have show contempt in the court's ability and credibility to conduct fair hearings over such cases. Given the nature of the cases, and the influence of the accused, turning in cases to the court may just be another long nightmare to justice prevalence.
Factors affecting criminal behavior
There exist various factors that influence criminal behavior and tendencies (Wiersema et al., 2010). Wiersema et al., (2010) argue that sociology has provided a fascinating way to the understanding of the criminal mind. In their work, they warn against confusing criminals with those suffering from psychological disorders because this is tantamount to the stigmatization of the disparaging groups of criminals. In the same respect, Altheimer (2012), states that by conducting an analysis of the different risk factors on criminal minds, the investigators are better placed to understand the tactics of preventing such homicides from occurring, and subsequently reducing recidivism.
The consideration of the influence of both the environment and the genetics provide a breakthrough in understanding criminal minds and homicides. Genetic accounts have featured in most phrenology studies, and even more recently, upheld in DNA analysis. These studies suggested that indeed some criminal behavior is inherited, on a genetic level. However, there is still minimal evidence to validate this claim. Environmental factors that influence criminal behavior include the following:
The social standing of the perpetrators
The impact that people have on the authority figures, nd their attitude towards the law speak volumes about their behavior. Factors such as one’s personal networks and childhood upbringing may dictate their stand for or against the law.
The economic factor
Economically handicapped individuals usually bear a feeling of despair, discontent, and detachment from the mainstream society. This may make them develop little respect towards the law. In attempt to provide for their basic needs, such individuals may stretch the boundaries of lawfulness resulting in criminal behavior.
Many of the cases probably are ignited by political reasons. Many a times individuals and some affiliate groups may show their high affinity to disregard state notions and even certain sections of the law. Their belief on the wrong interpretation of the law, are usually the first step to their non-compliance and inception to their militia attacks. Additionally, powerful politicians with ulterior motives and an enduring influence on their followers may require of them to engage in activities are regarded as unlawful.
Some of the homicide cases reported have at large been linked to the person’s pursuit of their own ideologies. For instance, people might assume the responsibility of cleansing the society of certain elements. Such ideologies have been harbored by serial killers who target people who meet a certain criterion. Fueled by personal ideologies, people can engaged in criminal activities.
Legal, Political and Corrective measures to curb Homicide
Learning about an individual’s past behavior may provide a good lead in predicting their future response towards similar behavior (Corzine, 2011). Some of the ways in which corrective measures can be employed in order to reduce homicides include the following:
Incapacitation of the perpetrator
This is to be implemented by ensuring that such individuals are denied of their capacity to commit crimes. This is achieved by imposing long-term jail sentences or capital punishment. Imposing long jail terms helps remove the perpetrators from the communities where they perpetrate the crimes. This action has other beneficial effects. For instance, the victims of the homicide are able to get retribution and justice when the perpetrator is committed to a long jail term. (Altheimer, 2012).
This measure involves different forms of treatments geared towards correcting and changing the perceptions of the perpetrators in order to preempt a recidivism of the previous unlawful actions. The suitability of this method is that the approaches used have been carefully singled out to target the specific behavior change and characteristic of the perpetrator. Through these concentrated approaches, rehabilitation offers the most intensive services to perpetrators on the high verge of recidivism. It also incorporates the usage of some of the theoretical models of behaviorism and social learning of cognitive behavior change that are beneficial to people involved in homicide (Vries, 2011).
Community restraint entails conducting surveillance or follow-up with an individual to monitor their actions, behavior and movements in order to ensure they do not recede to their unlawful behavior. Some of the components that form this regulation include intensive supervision of the individual in question at the community level. Another component that is employed is that of home confinement. However, the effectiveness of this approach given the gravity of the crime is still contentious (Nielssen et al., 2013).
Rehabilitation and restraint combined
This is to ascertain that the perpetrators are progressively reaffirming their his new improvement, commitment and reducing the potency of their homicidal ways.
Engaging them in discipline, self-structure, and challenges
This will be another conduit, to channeling their moral behavior to the betterment of the vast society. According to Rubin (2014), programs that tend to consume most of the physical and mental effort and add up to their stress, may be ideal to impact this individual in a positive way and change their perception from their criminal tendency.This may largely be involved with setting up a boot camp for adults and juveniles.
Homicide is continuing to dilapidate our social life and gnaw at the economic structure. There are various strategies that can be used to address this social vice. Some of them involve reforming the entire social and political outlook of the governance structure in order to ensure that all the perpetrators removed from the society irrespective of their influence or social standing. This may be enhanced by eliminating corruption and paving the way for a transparent and credible leadership which is endowed with the virtues of serving justice throughout the whole system of governance at all levels of leadership. It is vital that the pursuit of the perpetrators of homicide is not compromised by positions in the government or the influence of an individual within the social circles. This will strengthen the existing mechanisms to combat homicide. For instance, interfering with the court process through intimidating the judges in order to protect a suspected homicide suspect from the full effect of the law serves to undermine the very systems which are designed to combat the social vice. To effectively combat homicides, it is vital to ensure that in addition to carrying out the investigations meticulously, the judicial systems are should be insensitive to the influence of perpetrators or any positions of power.
Altheimer, I. (2012). Herding and Homicide Across Nations. Homicide Studies, 19(4), 27-58.
Corzine, J. (2011). Theories of Homicide. Homicide Studies, 22(19), 315-318.
Large, M., Nielssen, O., Lackersteen, S., & Smith, G. (2013). The Associations Between Infant Homicide, Homicide, And Suicide Rates: An Analysis Of World Health Organization And Centers For Disease Control Statistics. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 29(14), 87-97.
Rubin, S. (2014). Recidivism And Recidivism Statistics. Crime & Delinquency, 10(3), 233-240.
Smit, P., Jong, R., & Bijleveld, C. (2011). Homicide Data in Europe: Definitions, Sources, and Statistics. Handbook of European Homicide Research, 34(11), 5-23.
Vries, A., & Liem, M. (2011). Recidivism of Juvenile Homicide Offenders. Behavioral Sciences & the Law Behav. Sci. Law, 37(15), 483-498.
Wiersema, B., Loftin, C., & McDowall, D. (2010). A Comparison Of Supplementary Homicide Reports And National Vital Statistics System Homicide Estimates For U.S. Counties. Homicide Studies, 22(8), 317-340.