Public enemies: A demographic analysis of federal fugitive wanted posters
Type of Degreethesis
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The primary purpose of this study is a determination of whether fugitives that comprise most wanted fugitive lists differ from those that make up wanted fugitive lists. Specifically, do federal law enforcement agencies adhere to the criteria set forth by them when adding offenders to most wanted lists? To address this question, an empirical analysis was performed using data retrieved from wanted posters published by the United States Marshal Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to law enforcement agencies, most wanted fugitives typically have histories of violence, extensive criminal records, pose a great risk to public safety, and are likely to be captured due to publicity gained from a most wanted status. The results confirmed this claim indicating that a significantly greater percentage of most wanted fugitives were charged with murder, were charged with more than one offense, had a higher mean number of charges, were considered armed, were affiliated with a street gang, employed multiple aliases, had a higher mean number of aliases, used false dates of birth, and were in the United States than wanted fugitives. Additionally, a binary logistic regression revealed that being considered armed and being born in the United Sates were both significantly positively correlated with placement on a most wanted list. The secondary purpose of this study is a determination of whether federal fugitives differ from the population of federal arrestees with regard to crime type, race, and sex. To achieve this objective, an analysis was performed using data retrieved from wanted posters published by the United States Marshal Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The results indicate that a greater percentage of the fugitive sample was charged with eight types of crime than the arrestee population. No significant differences with regard to race or sex were found. However, due to differences in sample size, statistical significance should not be assumed.