Experimental Criminology: Failures And Victories

Posted On : September 16, 2023
Experimental Criminology: Failures And Victories
Abstract - In the history, evidence and liberty are two important principles. Experimental criminology, which applies research designs, issues of liberty that impact the entire world, is one of the outcomes of these theories. Experimental criminology holds the possibility of producing better evidence regarding how to improve liberty. The means through which research findings, even if recognized as accurate, can be transferred into general practice is a critical difficulty for experimental criminology. There are two approaches of putting experimental research into practice. One is 'bottom—up discretion,' in which crime victims, police officers, judges, probation officers, and others consider experimental outcomes when making choices one at a time. Another approach is 'top-down guidance,' in which Ministers or an independent evidence-assessment agency, such as NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence), appoint committees of practitioners and researchers to develop succinct operational guidance based on systematic reviews of experimental evidence. Also, there are certain cases mentioned and described in this research paper which are related to criminology. KEYWORDS: Criminology, Domestic violence, Causation of Crime,Offences.
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Experimental criminology is a field of criminology that uses experimental methods to answer questions about crime. These experiments are typically conducted in real-world settings, such as prisons, police departments, and schools. Experimental criminologists use a variety of methods, including randomized controlled trials, to test the effectiveness of different interventions aimed at preventing crime or reducing its impact. One of the main goals of experimental criminology is to identify what works in crime prevention. This is important because it can help policymakers make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and implement programs. Experimental criminology has also been used to test the effectiveness of different policing strategies, such as hot spots policing and community policing. Another goal of experimental criminology is to understand the causes of crime. By understanding the factors that contribute to crime, researchers can develop more effective interventions. Experimental criminologists have studied a variety of factors that may contribute to crime, including poverty, social disorganization, and individual characteristics such as impulsivity and low self-control. The topic of experimental criminology arose in response to the numerous questions that legislators have about what causes crime. To this goal, experimental criminology is defined as the application of advanced experimental methodologies to better understand the causes and consequences of crime. In order to completely comprehend crime and the social justice system, experimental criminology relies on the work of criminologists, statisticians, and other social scientists. Experimental criminology research can use a variety of methods, including randomized controlled trials, case-control designs, instrumental variables, and natural experiments. Experimental criminology is a relatively new field, but it has already made significant contributions to our understanding of crime. It is a valuable tool for policymakers and practitioners who are working to reduce crime and improve public safety.

The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment

In the early 1980s, the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The goal of the study was to figure out what was the most effective law enforcement response to domestic violence calls.

To do so, they collaborated with the Minneapolis Police Department on an experiment. When officers were dispatched for a misdemeanor domestic violence call, they were randomly assigned to one of three different responses. The experimental group was randomly assigned to two different precincts, while the control group was divided into two precincts in Minneapolis.

Officers participating in a misdemeanor domestic violence call would have a pad of color-coded report forms with them. Which response they would give would be determined by the color:

1. Take the offender into custody.

2. Remove the offender for at least 8 hours from the scene.

3. Provide assistance to both the offender and the victim.

This was the stimulus used in the experiment. Officers would then draught a short report and submit it to researchers. Six months after the call, researchers would contact the victims to see if there had been any subsequent cases of domestic violence. The pretest measure was the misdemeanor domestic violence rates prior to the experiment, and the posttest measure was the follow-ups with the victims.

The findings indicated that arrest was the most effective option, though the results were inconsistent when the study was replicated later. Despite this, many police departments adopted arrest policies based on these findings in the 1980s.

The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment

This groundbreaking study discovered that traditional routine patrol in marked police cars has no effect on crime levels. It also has no effect on the public's sense of safety. The experiment proved that police departments in urban areas can successfully test patrol deployment strategies and manipulate patrol resources without jeopardizing public safety. Patrol is regarded as the most important aspect of police work. Each year, the United States spends billions of dollars to maintain and operate uniformed and often well-equipped patrol forces. The assumption underlying such deployment has been that the presence or potential presence of officers patrolling the streets in marked police cars deters people from committing crime. But the validity of this assumption had never been scientifically tested. And so, in 1972, with funding and technical assistance from the Police Foundation, the Kansas City Police launched a comprehensive, scientifically rigorous experiment to test the effects of police patrol on crime.

Surprisingly, when the level of patrol was changed, citizens did not notice a difference. Furthermore, increasing or decreasing the level of police patrol had no discernible impact on residential and commercial burglaries, auto thefts, larcenies involving auto accessories, robberies, or vandalism–crimes traditionally thought to be deterred by random, highly visible police patrol. Across the experimental beats, the rate at which crimes were reported to the police did not differ in any significant or consistent way. Different levels of patrol had no effect on citizen fear of crime. Citizen satisfaction with the police was also low.  “Ride-along” by observers during the experiment also revealed that 60 percent of the time spent by a Kansas City patrol officer typically was noncommittal. In other words, officers spent a considerable amount of time waiting to respond to calls for service. And they spent about as much time on non-police related activities as they did on police-related mobile patrol.

Various case studies on experimental criminology

In 1993, a quasi-experimental study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention looked into whether a two-day jail term for first-time DWI offenders served as a substantial deterrence for future offences. Two judges in Hennepin County, Minnesota, were principally responsible for sentencing DWI offenders in this study. One judge was notorious for sentencing first-time drunk drivers 73 percent of the time, while the other judge only did so 14 percent of the time. According to the study, 60 of the 383 criminals sentenced by both judges were reconvicted within 23 months of their first term. There was no discernible difference between those sentenced by one judge and those sentenced by the other, implying that jail time, at least in this case, did not serve as a specific deterrence to future criminality.

Ramnaresh And Others v. State Of Chhattisgarh:

The fact that someone other than the accused was suspected of committing the crime at one point in time would lose its significance once the investigation was completed and a report under Section 173 Cr.P.C. was filed before a court of competent jurisdiction, unless the Court finds that someone else is also liable to be summoned as an accuse after hearing the report. Given the evidence gathered during the investigation, the possibility of PW6, Dhaniram, committing the crime is ruled out in this case. There isn't a shred of evidence pointing to Bhupendra for commissary in any of the cases before us and the accused was not declared as accused.

The present appeals are directed against the concurrent judgments of conviction and award of capital punishment. The four defendants (the appellants in this case) were found guilty of violating Sections 499, 376(2)(g), and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and were sentenced by the Additional Sessions Judge, Pendra Road, District Bilaspur, in a judgement and order of sentence dated November 20, 2007.

On 27.7.2007 Suresh aged 7 years, who lived with his mother Maheshwari (PW1) at Karkudal village in Vridhachalam Taluk, left his residence in the morning as usual, at about 8 a.m. to attend his school at Vridhachalam. Suresh was a class II student at Sakthi Matriculation School at Vridhachalam. Each morning, he along with other students from the same village, would leave for school, in a school van at about 8.00 a.m. The same school van would bring them back in the afternoon at about 4.30 p.m. On 27.7.2009, Suresh did not return home. After this, his mother filed a complaint. In this case, the court held that, “Having given our thoughtful consideration to the submission advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for the appellant, we are of the view, that the instant submission is wholly misplaced and fallacious. Insofar as the instant aspect of the matter is concerned, reference may be made to the judgment rendered by this Court in Sucha Singh’s case (supra)”.

This appeal involves an issue of criminal culpability presenting mixed questions of fact and law and a theme of juvenile justice a criminological Cinderella of the Indian law-in-action.

Hiralal Mallick v. State Of Bihar

Hiralal Mallick, the lone appellant before us, toddled into crime alongside his two older brothers when he was a 12-year-old boy. The three were all found guilty of the murder of Arjan Mallick in accordance with Section 302 read with Section 34 of the I. P. C. The trial judge impartially sentenced each defendant to life in prison. Following an appeal by all three, the High Court ordered that the convictions under S. 302 (read with Section 34) I. P. C. be converted into ones under S. 326 (read with Section 34) I. P. C. This resulted in a reduction of the co-accused's punishment to a rigorous 8-year sentence. The third defendant, the appellant before us, was given regard for his young age of 12 (at the time the crime was committed), and the court, in an atmosphere of compassion, leniently sentenced the kid to a harsh four-year jail term.

Difference between criminology and criminal justice


The most important aspect of the name is "ology," which effectively means "study of." Criminology is the study of crime, just as psychology and sociology are the study of the mind and society, respectively. Criminology is a social science that falls under the umbrella of sociology.

Criminologists look into, examine, and offer guidance on all aspects of criminal behaviour, from its causes to its consequences. The study of criminology helps us understand how, why, when, and where crimes occur. It also helps us establish policies and procedures for handling them and preventing them.

Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is essentially criminology in action. Criminal justice represents the society response to crime, whereas criminology is the study of crime. The criminal justice system is made up of many parts that enforce laws, look into crimes, try and convict criminals, and provide rehabilitation for those who have been convicted.

Police officers, detectives, and investigators play a major role in the criminal justice system. The same is true for probation officers, wardens, and corrections officers. A police dispatcher in a municipality to a position with the federal government such as the FBI all is examples of jobs and vocations.


Crime, criminal conduct, and the criminal justice system are all studied in criminology. While this encapsulates the heart of the subject, there has been much discussion regarding what constitutes criminal activity and how it differs from other socially deviant activities. Natural law explanations, moralistic explanations, labeling explanations, social harm explanations, and legalistic explanations are the five sorts of definitions of crime that have come out of this dispute. In contrast to natural law and moralistic definitions of crime, labeling or critical definitions argue that no behavior is inherently illegal, and that the will of the majority of society members is not always significant in determining whether or not a behavior is criminal. Crimes, on the other hand, are defined as such by people in positions of power. Labeling theorists bolster these claims by pointing out that the wealthy and powerful are significantly more likely than the poor and powerless to avoid criminal prosecution. Furthermore, when the wealthy are prosecuted for crimes, they are less likely to be dubbed "criminals," a moniker usually reserved for the poor and minorities, due to their social status (which they share with people in positions of power). Other approaches to defining crime have relied on more practical issues, such as social harm. According to harm-based definitions, crime is any behavior that violates core human rights or causes individual or social harm. Despite the efforts of hard-line positivist criminologists who seek to identify biological traits that predispose people to criminal behavior and rational-choice theorists who claim that people commit crimes of their own free will, most criminologists agree that sociological factors play a significant role in criminal behavior. According to criminological research, no single socioeconomic factor has proven to be an accurate predictor of criminal behavior. However, some factors appear to influence the frequency, volume, and type of crimes committed in specific countries, regions, and communities.


Criminologists' work touches practically every element of social life. Specialized skills and training, complex number-crunching abilities, and a large deal of fieldwork engaging with colleagues within and outside criminal justice, as well as the general public, are all required for crime investigation. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the topic of criminal justice originated in the twentieth century as an attempt to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement in light of increased due process and other rights for criminal offenders. In the 1980s and 1990s, qualitative descriptive assessments of the functioning of specific criminal justice agencies became more popular in the study of criminal justice. Such challenges are at the heart of contemporary debates concerning the civil-rights-law-enforcement nexus. With several studies suggesting the need to address systematic racism in many aspects of the justice system, future criminologists will play a critical role in ensuring a more equitable justice system.














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