A copycat crime is a criminal act that is modelled or inspired by a previous crime that has been reported in the media or described in fiction.
The copycat effect refers to the tendency of sensational publicity about violent murders or suicides to result in more of the same through imitation. It is also the name of a book on the subject by Loren Coleman.
It has been shown that most of the persons who mimic crimes seen in the media (especially news and violent movies) have in most cases prior criminal records, prior severe mental health problems or histories of violence suggesting that the effect of the media is indirect (more affecting criminal behaviour) rather than direct (directly affecting the number of criminals).
- Attack the Gas Station, a 1999 film that inspired copycat crimes
- Copycat, a 1995 film about a copycat serial killer
- Copycat suicide
- Scream 2, a 1996 film about a copycat killer
- Crime mapping
- Fear of crime
- Gun violence
- Hate crime
- Insanity defense
- Sex crime
- Social policy
- The Following, a 2012 TV series about copycat crimes
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, an animated television series where police are investigating a string of copycat crimes inspired by "The Laughing Man"
- Loren Coleman, (2004) The copycat effect: How the media and popular culture trigger the mayhem in tomorrow's headlines, Simon and Schuster, NY.
- Surette, R. (2002). "Self-Reported Copycat Crime Among a Population of Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders". Crime & Delinquency 48 (1): 46–69. doi:10.1177/0011128702048001002.
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