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The Penn Press list for spring 2021 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

Patterns in Criminal Homicide

Marvin E. Wolfgang. Foreword by Thorsten Sellin

432 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Cloth 1958 | ISBN 9781512808711 | $79.95s | Outside the Americas £64.00
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512808728 | Buy from Combined Academic Publishers £64.00
An Anniversary Collection volume

This volume is a statistical and sociological analysis of one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Combining original research and a review of all major previous studies on criminal homicide in America, this study attempts to discover and to analyze patterns in criminal homicide from among almost six hundred cases that occurred in the city of Philadelphia between January 1, 1948, and December 31, 1952.

The primary source of data utilized by Marvin E. Wolfgang was the files of the Homicide Squad of the Philadelphia Police Department. Answers were sought to a series of questions regarding 588 victims and 621 offenders involved in criminal homicide with respect to the following: race, sex, and age differences; methods and weapons used to inflict death; seasonal and other temporal patterns; spatial patterns; the relationship between the use of alcohol and homicide; the degree of violence in homicide; motives; the interpersonal relationship between victim and offender; homicide occurring during the commission of another felony; victim-precipitated homicide; homicide-suicide; unsolved homicide; the tempo of legal procedure; court disposition; and insanity as a factor in homicide.

The broad range of material examined in this volume makes it one of the most comprehensive studies undertaken in recent years. Although dealing basically with records of homicide accumulated in Philadelphia, Patterns in Criminal Homicide has implications that hold true for every large urban community. It is a work of utmost importance to the student of sociology because of its general sociological perspective; to all students of criminology; to the police, especially the homicide division of any police department; to law students, lawyers, and judges; and to those agencies in the community concerned with the control and prevention of violent crime.

Marvin E. Wolfgang was Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

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