Understanding Violent Criminals
Insights from the Front Lines of Law Enforcement
by David J. Thomas
June 2014, 220pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-2925-3
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-2926-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Understanding violence requires understanding the mindset of the offender.

What causes people to commit violent crimes? The case studies in this book enable readers to evaluate the motivations behind crimes ranging from arson to rape to gang violence.

Violent crime remains a major problem in America: in 2011, there were more than 1.2 million violent crimes committed in the United States. To better grasp the complex reasons behind this disturbing statistic, author David J. Thomas—a police officer and forensic psychologist—conducted an in-depth examination of violent crime to pinpoint why some individuals intentionally inflict pain and suffering upon others. In this book, readers are given access to excerpts from police interviews for each spotlighted crime in the case studies, offering a unique inside look at the true motivations of the criminal. The case studies include examples of arson, crimes against children, gang violence, human trafficking, murder, rape, and robbery. The work also explores the psychology associated with each crime, addresses evidence of corresponding personality types, and delves into victimology.


  • Provides compelling insight into criminals who commit the acts of robbery, rape, murder, crimes against children, human trafficking, gang violence, and arson
  • Presents case studies and unpublished studies to discuss issues such as victim selection, belief systems, motivations, and decision making
  • Brings to light the psychological trauma that the victims of crimes experience and the impact that these experiences have on their personal and professional lives
  • Allows readers to compare and contrast the typologies of each of the criminals discussed in the text as well as the associated theories in order to identify any commonalities
  • Ideally suited for criminal justice students, police officers and investigators, private investigators, criminal justice professors, forensic psychologists, criminologists, and anyone with an interest in criminal behavior
David J. Thomas, PhD, LMHC, is associate professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. His published works include Praeger's Police Psychology: A New Specialty and New Challenges for Men and Women in Blue. Thomas holds a doctorate in forensic psychology.


"Powerful! This is a book for anyone interested in crime, crime reduction, or offender behavior. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers."—Choice, January 1, 2015
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