Module: Understanding Homicide

Criminology - Understanding Homicide

Taught by Professor Fiona Brookman.

Homicide is considered the most serious of crimes; it is a relatively rare but high-impact event for those directly and indirectly involved. 

We are learning about different kinds of homicide (from serial killers at one extreme through to corporate homicide offenders at another). 

What drives an individual (or group) to take a life? Do killers make a conscious decision to kill? What influences their decisions (before, during and after the murder)?  

Which kinds of homicides do we hear most about and why? Which ones tend to be ignored?

We are also learning about different patterns and trends of homicide. Why does Japan have such a low homicide rate? Why is the rate in Africa so high? 

Is it true that the widespread availability of firearms in the USA is to blame for their high rate of homicide? What has caused the reduction in homicide in many parts of the world in the past few years? 

Finally, we look at how society responds to homicide.  

Can we prevent homicide? Can we make improvements to how the police investigate homicide?

These are some of the many questions that we address through interactive lectures, student-led workshops and specialist guest speakers (e.g. senior homicide detectives talking about their work).


Image shows NYPD Manhunt for Homicide Suspect: NYPD investigators and  a K9 unit coordinate a search for Juan Ramos, chief suspect in the stabbing death of Giovanni Rodriguez. Photograph: andykatz iStock Editorial