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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).
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