Patterns of Deviance underlying the Age-crime Curve: The Long Term Evidence

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Abstract

The high prevalence of delinquent behaviour in the teenage years is well documented. The phenomenon that is the age-crime curve, which tends to peak in the mid to late teens, is widely agreed to cross both jurisdictional and temporal boundaries. However, analysis at such an aggregate level conceals important underlying differences between individuals and within different offence types. Furthermore, shifts in prevalence rates are not necessarily mirrored by such consistent changes in incidence rates (see Farrington, 1986). The plethora of cross-sectional studies carried out have been unable to shed light on the nuances of individual offending careers. Using longitudinal data collected from the first five sweeps of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, this paper shall explore patterns and trends in delinquent behaviour of a single age cohort from 12 to 16 years of age. Trends in both prevalence and incidence shall be explored in an attempt to explore the relationship between these two fundamental aspects of offending behaviour. And some exploratory work will be done to identify distinct groups of offender based on their involvement in delinquency over the course of their early teens.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • crime trends; age-crime curve; developmental criminology; longitudinal
  • ESYTC

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