module specification

SS7080 - Crime and Offender Patterns (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Crime and Offender Patterns
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
160 hours Guided independent study
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   4,500 word essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Evening

Module summary

This module allows students to identify and critically assess patterns in specific forms of crime and offending behaviour, as well as to consider the prevalence, characteristics and typologies of specific types of offence. Models used to explain crime and offender patterns, as well as recidivism and desistance, will be considered. These will be related to the wider theoretical criminological field.

To begin with, the module is structured around identifying and evaluating key patterns and characteristics of recorded crime and offending behaviour, with a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on the UK. The module also aims to present and assess explanatory models used to explicate crime trends, and changes in offending patterns.

The module then focuses on specific types of offence category (including violent and sexual offences, financial, organised crime and environmental crime), and identifies specific trends. As a corollary, the escalation of offending behaviour and the concept of criminal 'career' is evaluated.

The third and final element of the module centres on an analysis of 'serial offenders', and the ways in which offender and geographic profiling might (or might not) assist in understanding and detecting such offenders.

Module aims

At end of module students will be able to identify and critically assess patterns in specific forms of crime and offending behaviour
They will be able to consider the prevalence, characteristics and typologies of specific types of offence.
They will be able to use various models to explain crime and offender patterns, as well as recidivism and desistance.


Lectures are built around key themes, including the following:

• The extent of offending and criminological theories
• Official figures
• Self-report studies
• Diversity of offending
• Co-offending
• Spatial analysis of offending
• Recidivism and desistance

Learning and teaching

Teaching will usually consist of an hour lecture followed by a seminar. All students must attend the sessions, and prepare for them as necessary. Students are expected to read and research outside of formal teaching times for between 6 and 7 hours per week and are encouraged to bring to the sessions relevant supporting material (such as photographs, diagrams, and newspaper or internet reports).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

• gain an overview of related criminological theoretical models
• critically evaluate trends in crime and offending behaviour
• identify and assess explanatory models of crime and offending
• understand the prevalence and characteristics of key forms of offending (such as   violent crime)
• identify and comprehend trends in the escalation of offending behaviour
• demonstrate an enhanced knowledge of research conducted in the field of offending patterns
• demonstrate an understanding of the use and efficacy of offender and geographic profiling

Assessment strategy

The essay is due for submission in week 13. Essay titles will be published in week 7. The essay will count for 100% of the assessment and students will be able to submit formative essay plans prior to submission. There will also be formative presentations during seminars.


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