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First published online December 13, 2013

The Routine of Mass Murder in China


Using data obtained from 165 mass murders in China, this research examines the crime of mass murder through a routine activities perspective as it relates to the location of where they occur (rural areas), while taking into consideration the motivation (revenge and profit), and most common weapon (knife) used. This adds to the literature on mass murders and routine activities theory from an area (China) where little academic research has been published regarding this crime.

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Susan M. Hilal is an Associate Professor in the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University. She has published a variety of articles in both trade and peer-reviewed journals as it relates to the topics of police education, volunteerism, and juvenile justice issues.
James A. Densley is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University and author of How Gangs Work: An Ethnography of Youth Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). He earned his Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College). Densley’s recent publications appear in Social Problems, Crime & Delinquency, and the European Journal of Criminology.
Spencer D. Li is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at University of Macau. His research interests include juvenile delinquency, corrections, substance abuse, and research methodology. His publications have appeared in leading academic journals in criminology and criminal justice.
Yan Ma is a doctoral student in criminology at University of Macau. She has been involved in several empirical studies relating to juvenile delinquency and violent behavior in China. Some of her work has been published in Chinese academic journals.

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Article first published online: December 13, 2013
Issue published: February 2014


  1. Mass Murder
  2. Routine Activities Theory
  3. China
  4. Motivation

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Published online: December 13, 2013
Issue published: February 2014



Susan M. Hilal
Metropolitan State University, Brooklyn Park, MN, USA.
James A. Densley
Metropolitan State University, Brooklyn Park, MN, USA.
Spencer D. Li
University of Macau, Taipa, China.
Yan Ma
University of Macau, Taipa, China.


Susan M. Hilal, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Metropolitan State University, 9110 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, MN 55445, USA. Email: [email protected]

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