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Melissa Bemiller, PhD - Augusta University. Augusta, GA, US

Melissa Bemiller, PhD

Assistant Professor | Augusta University


Professor Bemiller's research focuses on violent victimization: homicide, sex crimes, and portrayals of violence in mass media.



Professor Bemiller's research focuses on violent victimization: homicide, sex crimes, and portrayals of violence in mass media. Her expertise lies in the research and prevention of child abuse and homicide.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Sex Crimes

Child Abuse


Violent Victimization

Portrayals of Violence in Mass Media

Murdering of Children

Articles (6)

Fatal Factors for Preschoolers Victims, Offenders, and Context

Homicide Studies

Janice E. Clifford, Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller*, John P. Jarvis, ...

2016 This research examines how victim and offender characteristics, as well as contextual factors are related to the lethality of assaults for children less than 5 years old...,

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Undercover Online: An Extension of Traditional Policing in the United States

International Journal of Cyber Criminology

Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller

2011 This study examines law enforcement personnel who work undercover chatting investigations in order to catch online sexual predators...

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MAOA, Drug Selling, and Violent Victimization

Criminal Justice Review

Stephen J. Watts, Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller, James C. McCutcheon


Involvement in drug markets is a significant risk factor for criminal victimization. Separately, the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene has been identified as correlating with risky and antisocial behaviors and moderating the effects of environmental risk factors on antisocial behaviors. Using a sample drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 8,860), we explore whether MAOA genotype moderates the effect of drug selling on violent victimization. Results show that drug selling increases violent victimization among males, but not females. Additionally, the effect of drug selling on violent victimization among males is greater among the carriers of the 2R/3R alleles of MAOA, providing evidence of Gene × Environment interaction. These results appear despite a number of controls that potentially make the drug selling–violent victimization relationship spurious. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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Shooting for Accuracy: Comparing Data Sources on Mass Murder

Homicide Studies

Lin Huff-Corzine, James C. McCutcheon, Jay Corzine, John P. Jarvis, Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller, Mindy Weller, Matt Landon


Although researchers have questioned their coverage and accuracy, the media routinely are used as sources of data on mass murder in the United States. Databases compiled from media sources such as newspaper and network news programs include the New York Police Department’s Active Shooters file, the Brady Campaign Mass Casualty Shootings data set, and the Mother Jones database. Conversely, official crime data have been underutilized by researchers who study mass murder (for exceptions, see Duwe, 2007; Fox & Levin, 1998). In this study, we compare similarities and differences for mass murder cases in the United States as portrayed by selected mass media sources. Then, we turn our focus to a comparison of the Uniform Crime Reports’ (UCR) Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Our primary focus is on mass murders involving four or more fatalities—not including the perpetrator—that have occurred between 2001 and 2010. Implications for enhancing the comprehensiveness and quality of mass murder data with the goal of increasing their usefulness for guiding prevention and risk mitigation efforts also are discussed.

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The Murdering of Children

Homicide and Violent Crime

Melissa J. Tetzlaff-Bemiller

This chapter aims to present an overview of what constitutes child murder, including definitions, history, prevalence, risk factors, offender motivations, and theoretical understanding.

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Understanding the cyber-victimization of young people: A test of routine activities theory


Candice E. Griffith, Melissa Tezlaff Bemiller, Lance Y. Hunter


Research on cybervictimization focuses on a variety of behaviors. The present study focuses on four behaviors: hacking, having obscene photos shared, bullying, and stalking/trespass to test the Lifestyles Routine Activities Theory (LRAT). Much of the research on cybervictimization uses LRAT to help explain how some groups of individuals are susceptible to becoming victims. We surveyed young adults, aged 18-25, using a paid Qualtrics sample and a convenience sample from a southern university. Using binominal logistic regression, we test the likelihood of victimization across the various behaviors and with the three main elements of LRAT, motivated offender, suitable target, and absence a capable guardian. We found that online dating was the most likely way to be exposed to a motivated offender, that visiting explicit websites made one a suitable target, and knowing how to set privacy settings helped guard against victimization.

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