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Life-Course Criminology. Age-Crime Relationship Stability and Change in Offending. The Age-Crime Relationship, 1997. Arrest Rate. 4000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0. Property Crimes, peak age = 16. Violent Crimes, peak age = 18. 10 20 30 40 50. Age at Arrest.

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Life course criminology

Life-Course Criminology

Age-Crime Relationship

Stability and Change in Offending


The Age-Crime Relationship, 1997

Arrest Rate

4000

3,000

2,000

1,000

0

Property Crimes, peak age = 16

Violent Crimes, peak age = 18

10 20 30 40 50

Age at Arrest


Is the age crime curve misleading
Is the Age/Crime Curve Misleading?

  • Data is AGGREGATE

    • It could hide subgroups of offenders, or “offending trajectories”

  • Data is Cross-Sectional

    • Doesn’t track stability/change over time

  • Data is OFFICIAL

    • Cannot tell us about the precursors to official delinquency (childhood antisocial behavior)


New and old ideas
New and Old Ideas

  • OLD

    • Crime is the province of adolescents

    • Theories of delinquency most important

  • New

    • Why do some age out of crime while others don’t?

    • Why is criminality so stable over time?

    • What causes crime at different stages of life?


Antisocial behavior is stable
Antisocial Behavior Is Stable

  • Correlation between past and future criminal behavior ranges from .6 to .7 (very strong)

  • Lee Robins- Studies of cohorts of males

    • Antisocial Personality as an adult virtually requires history of CASB

  • CASB as early as age 6 related to delinquency

  • More severe behavior has more stability

    • “Early onset delinquency” powerful indicator of stability


But there is change
But there is CHANGE

  • 1/2 of antisocial children are never arrested

  • The vast majority of delinquents desist as they enter adulthood (mid 20s)


Explaining stability and change in antisocial behavior i
Explaining Stability and Change in Antisocial Behavior I

  • TRAIT Explanation

    • Individuals posses a trait that is stable and criminogenic

    • Trait established early in life (before delinquency)

    • Explains stability, but change (desistance)?

      • If trait is stable, why do people desist from crime?


Explaining stability and change in antisocial behavior ii
Explaining Stability and Change in Antisocial Behavior II

  • Cumulative Continuity

    • Initial antisocial behavior (regardless of cause) has CONSEQUENCES

      • Knife off opportunity, labeling, attract delinquent peers...

    • Because the consequences (social circumstances) can change, desistance is plausible


Types of developmental theory
Types of Developmental Theory

  • General theory

    • Cause of antisocial behavior same for everyone

    • People may start offending later or earlier depending on when they are exposed to the same sorts of risk factors

  • Taxonomic Theory

    • Different types of offenders exist


Developmental taxonomies
Developmental Taxonomies

  • Developmental Taxonomy?

    • All offenders are not the same, all crime is not caused by the same causal forces

    • There are at least two unique “offending trajectories” present

      • One groups maybe very stable in their offending

      • Another might might have a brief delinquency career

    • Kids are on different offending trajectories for different reasons


Review
Review

  • Explaining Stability and Change

    • Why are some kids antisocial early in life?

    • Why is antisocial behavior so stable?

    • Why, amidst stability, is there so much change?

  • Three Types of Theories

    • Continuity

    • Continuity and Change (Sampson and Laub)

    • Continuity or Change (Moffitt)


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