On SAGE Insight: Solo and Multi-Offenders Who Commit Stranger Kidnapping

Article title: Solo and Multi-Offenders Who Commit Stranger Kidnapping: An Assessment of Factors That Correlate With Violent Events

From Journal of Interpersonal Violence

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Stranger kidnapping is a relatively rare phenomenon, though estimates vary. The annual number of reported kidnappings ranges from a low of 3,000 to high of 58,200. Law enforcement officials hypothesize that the black veil of unreported crime extends to kidnapping cases a hypothesis that has been supported in victim self-report surveys. There are several methodological obstacles in kidnapping research, including different categorizations of stranger and family kidnappings and the frequency of plea bargains in which defendants avoid kidnapping convictions.

Male offenders commit the majority of stranger kidnappings. An exception exists for infant victims who are more likely to be kidnapped by women. Offenders who kidnap strangers are more likely than those whose victims are familiar to use a weapon in the commission of their offense. Multiple typologies of kidnappers have been developed. Research has demonstrated that co-offending dyads and groups often use more violence than individual offenders. Despite the attention given to co-offending by the research community, kidnapping remains understudied.

This study addresses how the characteristics of stranger kidnapping incidents differ between those incidents committed by solo and multi-offender groups, with an emphasis on the level of violence. The research uses National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data to assess differences in use of violence among 4,912 stranger kidnappings by solo offenders and multi-offender groups using cross-tabulations. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Abstract

Research has demonstrated that co-offending dyads and groups often use more violence than individual offenders. Despite the attention given to co-offending by the research community, kidnapping remains understudied. Stranger kidnappings are more likely than non-stranger kidnappings to involve the use of a weapon. Public fear of stranger kidnapping warrants further examination of this specific crime, including differences between those committed by solo and multi-offender groups. The current study uses National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data to assess differences in use of violence among 4,912 stranger kidnappings by solo offenders and multi-offender groups using cross-tabulations, ordinal regression, and logistic regression. The results indicate that violent factors are significantly more common in multi-offender incidents, and that multi-offender groups have fewer arrests than solo offenders. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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Article details

Solo and Multi-Offenders Who Commit Stranger Kidnapping: An Assessment of Factors That Correlate With Violent Events
Shannon N. Cunningham, Donna M. Vandiver
First Published March 6, 2016 Research Article
DOI: 10.1177/0886260516635320
Journal of Interpersonal Violence


     
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