Expressed Beliefs Concerning the Demographic Characteristics of Various Types of Criminal Offenders


Expressed Beliefs Concerning the Demographic Characteristics of Various Types of Criminal Offenders


Raqota Berger

Center for Criminal and Psychological Studies, Los Angeles, California


International Journal of social research

People often think of certain demographic characteristics when they are asked about particular kinds of criminal offenders and behaviors. Having set beliefs and attitudes about particular kinds of social groups often comes with negative labeling, stereotyping, and unfavorable treatment. This study examined what came into the minds of 573 people when they were asked about specific kinds of criminal groups or offenders. The findings from this study confirmed that there are clear patterns in the ways that people tend to think when they are asked about the demographics of criminal offenders. Research participants from all demographic backgrounds generally displayed common thoughts and beliefs about which types of people fall into specific offending categories, such as serial killers being White, gang members being Hispanic, prison inmates being Black, drug addicts being White, and outlaw bikers being White. Across all categories it was found that most people think of males when it comes to criminal offending. Other clear patterns revealed included thoughts about offenders typically being young and from the lower class; although there were some deviations from this for certain types of offenders and groups (e.g., outlaw bikers). The findings from this study should be useful across a number of fields such as psychology, criminology, sociology, social work, and corrections.


Keywords: criminal offenders, serial killers, gang members, outlaw bikers, prison inmates, stereotypes, beliefs, demographics

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How to cite this article:
Raqota Berger. Expressed Beliefs Concerning the Demographic Characteristics of Various Types of Criminal Offenders. International Journal of Social Research, 2020; 4:38. DOI: 10.28933/ijsr-2019-12-3005


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