Helfgott Examines Copycat Crime

Written by Laura Paskin
March 30, 2015

Criminal Justice Chair Jacqueline Helfgott just published "Criminal behavior and the copycat effect: Literature review and theoretical framework for empirical investigation" in Aggression and Violent Behavior. In her article, she notes growing evidence suggesting that copycat crime is exacerbated by the media.

"There are many factors that contribute to copycat crime but mass media technology exacerbates some types of offenses and creates new motivational influences and categories of criminal behavior," she said.

Helfgott emphasized the need for empirical research specifically examining the copycat effect on criminal behavior. She proposed an integrative theoretical model of copycat crime and a methodological framework for investigating copycat crime.

Helfgott, who received her PhD from Pennsylvania State University, joined the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1993. Her research interests include criminal behavior, psychopathy, corrections, offender reentry, crisis intervention in law enforcement, and community justice. A prolific scholar, she is the editor of the four-volume Criminal Psychology (Praeger, 2013), author of Criminal Behavior: Theories, Typologies, and Criminal Justice (Sage, 2008), and co-author with Criminal Justice Professor Elaine Gunnison of Offender Reentry: Beyond Crime and Punishment (C: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2013). She is currently working on a new book, No Remorse: Psychopathy and Criminal Justice.

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college in Seattle University. The Criminal Justice Department offers B.A. and B.S. criminal justice undergraduate degrees, a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a graduate Certificate in Crime Analysis.