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Kidnapping: a criminal profile of persons convicted 1979-2001.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date01/2007
JournalBehavioral Sciences and the Law
Journal number1
Volume25
Number of pages16
Pages69 - 84
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Kidnapping has been a neglected crime in criminological research. In fact, there has been a dramatic increase in the yearly numbers of police recorded kidnapping offences in England and Wales in the last 25 years, but this has not been matched by a similar increase in convictions. This study focuses on the official criminal histories of the 7042 males and 545 females who were convicted at least once for kidnapping between 1979 and 2001. Of these, 3.9% of the males and 2.6% of the females had convictions for kidnapping on more than one occasion. We examined two subgroups to ensure long observation periods for prior and subsequent convictions. Of those convicted of kidnapping in 2001, around one-half (51.1%) of the males and around one-third (36.6%) of the females had previous convictions. The previous convictions consist of a wide range of offences, with the most common being theft and violent offences. A 20-year follow-up of those convicted in 1979-81 showed that three in five males and one in three females are subsequently convicted on at least one more occasion for a standard-list offence. An examination of convictions for other offences brought to court at the same time as the kidnap offence enabled a typology of kidnaps to be proposed. Those kidnaps with co-convictions of an acquisitive nature declined over the period, whereas other types, including sexual and violent, showed rises. Changing shifts in the nature of kidnaps have important policy implications.