flickr / Kevin Dooley flickr / Kevin Dooley
Natural Born Killers

The Top Baby Names Linked To Criminal Behavior

It’s imperative that your baby’s name be representative of the person they will grow into. It should also connect them to their heritage, prevent them from being bullied on the playground and sound super awesome preceding the statement “ … You killed my father, prepare to die.”

But is it possible to inadvertently set your little Inigo towards murderous feelings simply by giving him a (badass) name? Some research would suggest … maybe?

Ernest Goes On A Murderous Rampage
Back in 2009, Shippensburg University researchers published a splashy paper in the Social Science Quarterly. The study suggested a child’s given name could correlate to juvenile delinquency based on oddness or unpopularity. Which explains why all the jails are chock full of Poindexters.

flickr / Lars Plougmann

flickr / Lars Plougmann

Names which had the biggest correlation to youthful hooliganism at the time of the study included Alec, Ivan, Malcolm, Ernest and Tyrell. The last one being obvious, because of course it’s going to get rough when you’re playing the Game of Thrones.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers suggested that for every 10-percent increase in name popularity there was also a 4-percent decrease in kids engaging in wholesale lawlessness.

The idea was not to shame kids with strange names. However, the study did prompt questions about whether these kids experienced societal bias in sentencing, or police profiling. Researchers also cautioned that unpopular names are sometimes linked to toxic social and family structures. Those dynamics are more likely the root cause of the crime. You know, instead of seething anger because you’ve been named Sue.

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Randy’s Into Drugs. Alan Is A Murderer.
A much more contemporary survey, released in the spring of 2016 by a housing security company scoured 30,000 national arrest records to find which names were tops for certain crimes. Weirdly, Gargamel was not on the list anywhere.

flickr / Oquinn norton

flickr / Oquinn norton

When considering criminal names per state, Lawrence was the top criminal name in Nevada and New Mexico (though it should have been Walter, obvs.) In New York state, Scotts were the biggest criminals. Dominating the Carolinas? A bunch of bad Bobbys. Of course that could be due to Flay’s BBQ Throwdowns. Most of them were murder!

Broken down for crimes, Johnnys were most likely to assault you and commit fraud (but also totally kill during the last dance of the season at Kellerman’s resort). Randys were most likely to be busted for drugs. Alans would stab you in the face until dead (a.k.a. murder). Ambers, the sole female name on the list, would totes skip parole (to attend a Guns N’ Roses concert most likely).

The conclusion here? It’s hard to say. If you’re a superstitious person, maybe don’t name your kid Alan or Amber? In the grand scheme of things, there is so much more than your kid’s name affecting the probability of their criminality. Most of it has to do with parenting. Just a teensy bit depends on whether or not you you scream “Avenge me!” to your little Inigo as an Alan stabs you in the face.