Wednesday, 25 November 2009

New Book: Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster

Kelly Frailing, one of our Ph.D. students, has recently co-edited a book titled Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster in conjunction with her Master's advisor Dee Wood Harper:

The sudden disruption of the normal flow of human activity in the form of disaster gives rise to both pro-social and antisocial behavior. For some, disaster is an opportunity to take advantage of others’ misfortune and increased vulnerability. Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster has two principle objectives; to understand why and how crime occurs in the wake of disasters and how the criminal justice system responds to disasters and the crime that follows.

This volume is a collection of original essays by sociologists, criminologists and law enforcement professionals, most of whom have had first-hand experience with the impact of disaster on the criminal justice system. Part 1, Historical and Theoretical Aspects of Disaster and Crime, provides a discussion of crime and disaster in an historical context and proposes a typology that locates certain types of crime in the different phases of disaster. Part 2, Natural Disaster, Disorder and Crime, examines a variety of crimes, such as looting, robbery, drug dealing and fraud in the wake of disasters, with one chapter suggesting that some disasters themselves are crimes. Part 3, The Criminal Justice System Response to Disorder and Disaster, examines specific disasters as case studies from September 11, 2001, through Hurricane Katrina to Mumbai. The nation’s disaster response infrastructure also comes under close scrutiny.

Crime and Criminal Justice in Disaster is exceptionally timely considering the natural disasters which have occurred in the opening years of the 21st century and the ubiquity of the terror threat. These events have led to national and international concern for how the public sector in general and the criminal justice system in particular responds to disasters and crime. While designed primarily as a text for courses in criminal justice, criminology, homeland security and emergency management, the essays also have a broader audience appeal for readers interested in these issues.

See here for more details. It's published in 2010 so watch out, it looks like a very engaging, timely and, importantly, up-to-date collection.

Although this is probably too narrow a theme for this book, I'd be interested to know if there's anything about 'looting in the time of disaster'. Looting often features somewhere in the news when a disaster happens and it can often hold very different meanings. I have read two newspapers today- one of them said that there has been looting in Cockermouth in the aftermath of the floods and one said there hasn't. Has anyone ever done an analysis of the representations of looting in the media?

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