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Bezbednost, Beograd
2020, vol. 62, iss. 1, pp. 23-47
article language: Serbian
document type: Original Scientific Paper
published on: 18/05/2020
doi: 10.5937/bezbednost2001023B
Sociodemographic characteristics of the homicidal population
aUniversity of Criminal Investigation and Police Studies, Belgrade
bUniversity of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy

e-mail: valentina.baic@kpu.edu.rs, ivana.radovanovic@kpu.edu.rs, milanoljaca@ff.uns.ac.rs

Abstract

The criminal act of murder is considered to be one of the more serious criminal offenses, since the person is deprived of the basic and most important right, and that is the right to life. Psychologists have always shown a great interest in this kind of violent delicts, as well as interpersonal violence in general. Attempting to explain and understand this type of violent behavior, they proceeded, most often, with studying the personality interaction and its sociopsychological environment. On the other hand, by studying the most important modalities of sociodemographic features, in our work, we tried to determine them from an etiological side, the bearers of this criminal activity more precisely, keeping in mind that murder is one of the most difficult forms of interpersonal violence, which is, unfortunately, a part of our everyday lives. The sample included 138 male prisoners aged 24-78 who were serving a prison sentence in Penitentiary Rehabilitation Institutions in Niš, Požarevac, Padinska skela, and Sremska Mitrovica, due to the crimes and killings they had committed. Respondents completed a questionnaire made for research purposes, which collects general sociodemographic data, as well as data related to earlier criminal activity. The results have shown that the majority of killers belong to the age structure of 31 to 40 years and that they were born or have had a place of residence in urban areas. The structure, in terms of social and working status, was diverse, starting from unskilled workers, workers without interest, craftsmen, and technicians of various professions, to private entrepreneurs, engineers, etc. In terms of other sociodemographic characteristics, the results of the survey have shown that they were convicted persons who had completed high school in the largest percentage, that they had been employed before serving the prison sentence, and that they were of a medium socioeconomic status, with about half of the respondents saying that they had incomes higher than the average net salary in Serbia. Regarding criminal activity, the highest percentage of killers had previously been convicted for crimes committed in the field of property delicts, including robbery, as well as violent delicts, including murder. In an attempt to derive some general conclusions on the phenomenological features of homicide, based on sociodemographic characteristics, we are brought back to one of the previously mentioned statements about the significance of psychological and situational factors in the manifestation of criminal behavior. Namely, the ones including age, education, employment, occupation, marital status, economic circumstances. The nature of the place of birth and place of residence can hardly be considered as reliable indicators of an increased risk for participation in the criminal activities of the homicidal population. Nevertheless, this, and other empirical research support the fact that the killers are a heterogeneous population, in a phenomenological sense, with respect to demographic characteristics, and that social features are only the breaking point of several etiological factors.

Keywords

homicidal population; murder; sociodemographic characteristics; convicted population

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