chapter  11
20 Pages

Camouflage-collar Crime: An Examination of Wildlife Crime and Characteristics of Offenders in Florida

ByMatthew Crow, Tara O’Connor Shelley and Paul Stretesky

Crimes committed in rural environments are relatively understudied in criminology (Bachman 1992; Weisheit and Wells 1996). Various wildlife crimes, for instance, have been particularly overlooked by mainstream criminology, and include a variety of infractions committed against terrestrial, aquatic, and amphibian animals. The lack of attention devoted to wildlife crime is somewhat puzzling, as research suggests there is significant public concern about environmental crime (O’Connor Shelley et al. 2011). Moreover, nearly three decades ago, Hummell pointed out that ‘significant amounts of deviant behavior and crime occur in the forms of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products’ (Hummell 1983, p. 256; see also South and Bierne 2006; Forsyth et al. 1998; Muth 1998). Instead, the discipline of criminology has been, and continues to be, preoccupied by violent crime even though it is an infrequent occurrence relative to other crimes (Burns et al. 2008; Gibbons 1972; Lynch 1990; Ross 1961). A central explanation for this scholarly inattention is the belief that wildlife crime is ‘folk crime’ (Forsyth et al. 1998). Folk crime is viewed as harmless or an unimportant deviant activity that does not rise to the construct of street crime (Eliason 2003; Eliason 2006; Forsyth 1993; Forsyth et al. 1998; McSkimming and Berg 2008; Muth 1998; Muth and Bowe 1998; Payne et al. 2005; Ross 1961; O’Connor Shelley and Crow 2009). And yet, despite the historical lack of attention to the topic from most criminologists, Eliason (2008) argues there is an increased interest in wildlife crime with the emergence of ‘green criminology’ (see also Beirne 1999; Granfield and Colomy 2005; Zilney et al. 2006).