Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Steven Hecht

Committee Member

Tina Jaeckle

Committee Member

Alex Edmonds


harm-focused policing, social harm, social harm index, uniform crime report


This study examined the perceptions of Volusia County citizens and patrol deputies regarding the severity of social harms attributed to incidents of criminal activity. Despite the widespread assessments of crime, the perceptions of associated harms remain unclear. Developing a social harm index may provide current insight into the opinions of harm as perceived by both the public and law enforcement agencies. Using a sequential explanatory mixed method design, patrol deputies from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and residents of Volusia County, Florida, were invited to complete a series of surveys and follow-up interviews. This study aimed to compare participant ratings on the severity of social harms that result from incidents of criminal activity, specifically those listed under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Part II offenses. It also sought to determine participant descriptions of the various social harms that can result from incidents of criminal activities and their reasonings for each social harm severity rating.