10.17863/CAM.41833

Tracking Kidnappings in London: Offenders, Victims and Motives

Abstract

Research Question What was the nature of kidnappings in London during a fairly recent five-year period in the kinds of victims, offenders, motives, types of violence used and levels of injury? Data We analyse 924 reports of kidnap crimes recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service between 1st April 2006 and 31st March 2011. These data included free-text information drawn from case notes. Methods We establish mutually exclusive categories of kidnappings by codifying all crime records, after examining case notes and populated fields from the Metropolitan Police’s crime recording system. Descriptive statistics are used to portray the patterns and nature of these crimes. Findings. The application of a typology of mutually exclusive categories for these kidnappings shows that gangland/criminal/drugs-related cases comprised 40.5% of all kidnappings. Another 21% of all kidnaps were domestic or familial, including honour killings. Just over 10% were incidental to “acquisitive” crimes such as car-jacking, while 8% were sexually motivated. Only six percent were categorised as traditional ransom kidnappings. About 4% were categorised into a purely violent category, while 3% were categorised as international/political. Conclusions The investigative and preventive implications of these many social worlds mapped out by this typology are substantial. Each social context may require investigators to possess expertise in the specific social world of kidnapping, as distinct from what might be called expertise in “kidnaps” per se. Investigations and prevention might be re-engineered around targeted intelligence from these diverse social contexts

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This paper was published in Apollo.

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