The concept that weapon choice and use may play a valuable role in differentiating between offenders is one that has not been well explored in current criminological or psychological thinking. The key aim of the current paper is to discuss the role of weapon choice and use in the application of offender profiling. Relevant research is identified though a literature review: initially considering a broad range of offences and then narrowing the focus on the specific case of violent and sexual offences. The review highlights several key findings which are then conceptualised through the offender profiling literature. In the discussion, the paper argues that there is considerable merit in the consideration of weapons within profiling violent and sexual offenders and concludes with proposed dimensions (planning and emotional use of the weapon) that illustrate the range of motivations that may aid in discriminating offenders.
Bachman, R. (1998). The factors related to rape reporting behavior and arrest: New evidence from the National Crime Victimization Survey. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 25, 88-29.
Barlas, J., & Egan, V. (2006). Weapons carrying in British teenagers: The role of personality, delinquency, sensational interests, and mating effort. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 17, 53-72.
Boots, D., & Heide, K. (2006). Parricides in the media: A content analysis of available reports across cultures. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 50, 418-415.
Boys, A., Farrell, M., Taylor, C., Marsden, J., Goodman, R., Brugha, T., Bebbington, P., Jenkins, R., & Meltzer, H. (2003). Psychiatric morbidity and substance use in young people aged 13 15 years: Results from the child and adolescent survey of mental health. British Journal of Psychiatry, 182, 509-517. doi:10.1192/bjp.182.6.509
Brecklin, L. R., & Ullman, S. E. (2001). The role of offender alcohol use in rape attacks: An analysis of national crime victimization survey data. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 3-21.
Canter, D. V., Benell, C., Alison, L., & Reddy, S. (2003). Differentiating sex offences: A behaviourally based thematic classification of stranger rapes. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 21, 157-174.
Catanesi, R., Carabellese, F., Troccoli, G., Candelli, C., Grattagliano I., & Fortunato, F. (2011). Psychopathology and weapon choice: A study of 103 perpetrators of homicide or attempted homicide. Forensic Science International, 209, 149-153.
Clubb, P. A., Browne, D. C., Humphrey, A. D., Schoenbach, V., Meyer. B., & Jackson, M. (2001). Violent behaviors in early adolescent minority youth: Results from a middle school youth risk behavior survey. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 5, 225-235.
Cohen, L. J, Frenda, S., Mojtabai, R., Katsavdakis, K., & Galynker, I. (2007). Comparison of sexual offenders against children with sexual offenders against adolescents and adults: data from the New York State Sex Offender Registry. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 13, 373-384. doi:10.1097/01.pra.0000300123.83945.76
Coker, A. L., Walls, L. G., & Johnson, J. E. (1998). Risk factors for traumatic physical injury during sexual assaults for male and female victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13, 605-620.
Eisner, M., & Wikstr?m, P. O. (1999). Violent crime in the urban community: A comparison of Stockholm and Basel. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 7, 427-442.
Friday, P. C., Dussich, J. P. J., Okada, T., & Yamagami, A. (2000). Weapon ownership and the willingness to respond to threats with violence: The United States and Japan. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 44, 164-177.
Greene, D., Maas, C. S., Carvalho, G., & Raven, R. (1999). Epidemiology of facial injury in female blunt assault trauma cases. Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, 1, 288-291. doi:10.1001/archfaci.1.4.288
Guay, J. P., Ouimet M., & Proulx, J. (2004). Criminal justice institutional referrals and selections: A comparative portrait of sexual aggressions and aggressors. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 48, 330-346.
Hassani D., Houry, D., Parramore, C., Heron S., & Kellermann, A. (2004). Is the presence of children at the scene of domestic violence incidents associated with increased violence, alcohol intoxication, or weapon use? Annals of Emergency Medicine, 44, S96.
Hill, K. G., Howell, J. C., Hawkins, J. D., & Battin-Pearson, S. R. (1999). Childhood risk factors for adolescent gang membership: Results from the seattle social development project. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 36, 300-322.
Keppel, R. D., & Walters, R. (1999). Profiling killers: A revised classification model of understanding sexual murder. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 43, 417-437.
Kuntsche, E. N., & Klingemann, H. K. (2004). Weapon carrying at Swiss schools? A gender-specific typology in context of victim and offender related violence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27, 381-393.
Loeber, R., Burke, J. D., Lahey, B. B., Winters, A., & Zera, M. (2000). Oppositional defiant and conduct disorder: A review of the past 10 years, Part I. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 39, 1468-1484.
Lyman, J. M., McGwin, G., Malone, D. E., Taylor, A. J., Brissie, R. M., & Davis, G. (2003). Epidemiology of child homicide in Jefferson County, Alabama. Child Abuse and Neglect, 27, 1063-1073.
Malek, M. K., Chang B. H., Davis, T. C., Malek, M. K., Chang, B. H., & Davis, T. C. (1998). Self-reported characterization of seventh grade students’ fights—A public health emergency. Journal of Adolescent Health, 23, 103-109. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(98)00020-2
McCluskey, C. P., McCluskey, J. D., & Bynum, T. S. (2006). Early onset offending and later violent and gun outcomes in a contemporary youth cohort. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34, 531-541.
Moskowitz, H., Laraque, D., Doucette, J. T., & Shelov, E. (2005). Relationships of US youth homicide victims and their offenders, 1976-1999. Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 159, 356-361. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.4.356
Michie, C., & Cooke, D. J. (2006). The structure of violent behavior: A Hierarchical model Glasgow Caledonian university; Glasgow Caledonian University, the Douglas Inch Centre. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 33, 706-737. doi:10.1177/0093854806288941
Murrell, A. R., Merwin, R. M., Christoff, K. A., & Henning, K. R. (2005). When parents model violence: The relationship between witnessing weapon use as a child and later use as an adult. Behavior and Social Issues, 14, 128-133.
Safarik, M. E., Jarvis, J. P., & Nussbaum, K. E. (2002). Sexual homicide of elderly females: Linking offender characteristics to victim and crime scene attributes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 500-525. doi:10.1177/0886260502017005002
Salfati, C. G., & Canter, D. V. (1999). Differentiating stranger murders: Profiling offender characteristics from behavioural styles. Behavioural Sciences and the Law, 17, 391-406.
Stueve, A., & Link, B. G. (1997). Violence and psychiatric disorders: Results from an epidemiological study of young adults in Israel. Psychiatric Quarterly. Special Issue: The Ninth Annual New York State Office of Mental Health Research Conference, 68, 327-342.
Thurnherr, J., Michaud, P. A, Berchtold, A., Akre, C., & Suris, J. C. (2009). Youths carrying a weapon or using a weapon in a fight: What makes the difference? Health Education Research, 24, 270-279.
Thompson, M. P., Saltzman L. E., & Bibel, D. (1999). Applying NIBRS data to the study of intimate partner violence: Massachusetts as a case study. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 15, 163-180.
Vinogradov, S., Dishotsky, N. I., Doty, A. K., & Tinklenberg, J. R. (1998). Patterns of behavior in adolescent rape. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 58, 179-187.
Woodhams, J., Gillett, R., & Grant, T. (2007). Understanding the factors that affect the severity of juvenile stranger sex offenders: The effect of victim characteristics and number of suspects. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 218-237.
Wintemute, G. J., Drake, C. M., Beaumont, J. J., Wright, M. A., & Parham, C. A. (1998). Prior misdemeanour convictions as a risk factor for later violent and firearm-related criminal activity among authorized purchasers of handguns. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 24, 2083-2087. doi:10.1001/jama.280.24.2083