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UF / Criminology and Criminal Justice / CCJ 4934 / What is the age crime curve?

What is the age crime curve?

What is the age crime curve?


School: University of Florida
Department: Criminology and Criminal Justice
Course: Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: criminology
Cost: 50
Name: Exam 1 Study Guide Criminal Careers
Description: Completed study guide based on what was given to us in class.
Uploaded: 01/22/2017
5 Pages 258 Views 1 Unlocks

Exam 1 Study guide  

What is the age crime curve?

1. Defining life course perspective  

- Life course is not a new theory- it is a perspective that is distinct from  theory because it focuses on the duration of an individual’s involvement  in criminal behavior

- Theories are focused on a life course period like adolescence  - Life course thinks about interconnected trajectories in a person’s life and  follows their line of development- life trajectories can act with reciprocal  effects

o Criminals given equal opportunity, good quality employment will  reduce their criminal trajectory  

2. Elder’s 4 tenants of the life course perspective

Age/developmental change is a continuous process occurring through life (trajectory)

Trajectories in different dimensions of life have reciprocal effects on one another Development is influenced by social and historical conditions  

What is the meaning of the life-course-persistent pathway in criminology?

Optimizing development through interventions is most effective if sensitive to  development needs in particular age periods  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the method used by both social science and natural science?

3. Advantages of using LC perspective  

Advantages of life course perspective

∙ Provides explanations for multiple dimensions of criminal behavior o Research often focuses on taking random samples and having them  self-report on delinquent acts- compare individuals and their  

variation in committing certain types of crime

o Onset, rate (lambda which fluctuates)

∙ Offenders are based on developmental considerations- development is an important component to understanding offending  

What is the meaning of the second group is adolescent limited in criminology?

Don't forget about the age old question of Who is defined as a criminal?

o American medical association involved in abolishing juvenile death  penalty- brain's prefrontal cortex does not develop until 25

∙ Precursors and consequences of criminal behavior  

o e.g. oppositional defiance disorder in young children precursor to  some criminal behavior  

∙ Developmental changes occurring over time can explain changes in  delinquency and criminal behavior  

4. Cullen’s address to the American society of criminology  

- Cullen argues a paradigm shift is necessary from adolescent limited  criminology to a life course perspective

o Paradigm= set of empirical laws that are accepted  

- ALC is unable to account for about 80% variation in crime  

- Life course perspective can examine how individuals change over time

5. The history and beginnings of life course criminology

Criminal career debated between Gottfredson-Hirschi and opponents ∙ G/H argued that there is no need for longitudinal data in the  developmental perspective We also discuss several other topics like Is the world good or evil?

∙ Less expensive to use cross sectional data- predictors of crime are  general so not necessary to examine as life progresses

∙ Crime predictors remain constant

∙ Other side: need to do longitudinal research  

o Showed different risk factors associated with different dimensions  of a criminal career- onset, frequency etc. If you want to learn more check out What is the meaning of naturalistic observation in psychology?

o Without longitudinal data, cannot examine crime  

Glueke and Glueke study’s Stanford study set up opposing evidence to  differential association and stated individual differences existed that  promote criminal behavior in some

6. The age crime curve

a. What does it say about crime

i. States that crime peaks in adolescence from about 13-18 years  old, then reduces

ii. Crimes are most frequently committed within this age range  during transition into adulthood and desire to break away from  parental control  

b. Limitations in explaining criminal trajectory

o Measurement limitations on age crime curve

o Conviction cannot be used as reliable measure because crimes go  undetected

o As age increases, likelihood of conviction decreases  

c. Moffit and the age crime curve trajectory

Moffit- developmental taxonomy

∙ Two pathways that exist that are masked under age crime curve ∙ Life course persistent pathway- relied on Wolfgang's work o Provide detailed theoretical explanation of risk factors  

explaining small percent of high rate offenders persistent  

through life course If you want to learn more check out Is there a difference between new guinea and papua new guinea?

o Antisocial behavior- ADHD, oppositional defiance, etc. in early childhood- determine why

o What leads to persistence is something different

∙ Second group is adolescent limited

o Delinquency in adolescent years is statistically normal

o 95% engage in some form of delinquency

∙ 1993 studied followed up 2003- developed statistical techniques  to identify developmental pathways

o Root based trajectory analysis- assess distinctive trajectories  of offending in longitudinal data; informs if Moffit is correct

shows that there were more than 2 pathways

d. Quetelet and age crime curve in France  

1831 Quetelet

 Age and propensity of crime Don't forget about the age old question of What are the four criteria for revenue recognition?

 France during 1826-1829

 Observed that crime peaked during late teens

 Most studied issues in criminology

 Most stable empirical finding  

 Childhood crime is uncommon  

 Onset increases rapidly in late childhood/early adolescence (12- 16)

 Reaches peak during middle to late adolescence (16-18)

 Starts rapid decline in emerging adulthood  

7. Major life course studies discussed in class

a. Major findings discussed for each study

i. Project on human development in Chicago neighborhoods - Examined causes/paths in juvenile delinquency that  

contributed to adult crime and drug abuse

- 80 communities in Chicago examined for violence. Both  

males and females, as well as mixed ethnic groups and 9  

different age groups measured


ii. Unraveling juvenile delinquency study or crime causation study  - Done in 1939 in Boston with 1000 white males ages 10-17 from disadvantaged neighborhoods

- Used a matched design (case by case), measured age,  

intelligence, neighborhood and ethnicity

- Follow up done when participants were in 25-32 age range - Found early onset of criminal career lead to a persistent  


- Stability- if they were delinquent in the past it was very  

likely they continued to be delinquent in the future  

iii. Wolfgang Philadelphia cohort study

- Done in 1972 to trace the delinquent career of 9945  

participants. Measurements taken on the participatns 10th 

and 18th birthday

a. Found that 35% involved with min. one police  


b. 6% involved for 52% of all delinquency. Onset  

consistently linked to persistent, serious criminality  

iv. Moffit Health and Human development study

- Complete birth cohort started in 1975- sampled 1037  

males and females from New Zealand’s South Island.  

Measurements were taken in two year intervals  

- Childhood predictors of later health and behavior were  

evident when measurements taken

a. Focused developmental study on how individuals  

changed in their behavior

- Sex differences in offending existed as did unique  

neuropsychological variations in the offender groups

v. Farrington Cambridge study  

- Prospective longitudinal study on 411 London males  

started in 1961. Measurements taken in 9 waves (at 9  

different ages)

- Found property crimes most commonly committed. Most  crime committed up to age 17

- 40% males convicted up to age 40, average onset was  

18.6 while most desisted by 25

- Found that a small number of offenders accounted for a  

substantial amount of both self reported and official  


b. Causes and correlates of delinquency (Rochester, Denver, and  Pittsburgh studies)


a. What is trajectory

b. Life course transitions and turning points

c. Terms explaining stability

d. Difference is explanations provided for stability

i. Population heterogeneity means that traits linked to criminal  behavior vary in the population. High level of stability seen over  periods of development are solely accounted for by traits that  differ in the population.

- Those who are frequently labeled criminal at one period of development also commit crimes frequently relative to  

others at another time

- This stability is attributed to a trait difference e.g.  

differences in self-control

ii. State dependence- not a trait based explanation. Actual  

behavior at earlier period of LC sets up snowball effect over  

time. High frequency of offending leads to consequences  

e. Relative stability ad absolute

i. Absolute- person compared to himself; high in offending at time  1, stay consistently high at time 2. Low level offending is also  consistent

ii. Relative stability- comparing person A’s level of offending  relative to sample over different periods of time

iii. These capture two different aspects of stability  

f. Inter and intra individual

i. Change within the individual over time for offending  

g. Longitudinal and cross sectional studies

h. Prospective and retrospective studies

i. Cohort studies

j. Benson’s definitions of age (chapter 1)

i. Social age

ii. Biological age

9. Criminal career terminology

a. Participation and current participation

b. Onset

c. Frequency (lambda)

d. Versatility

e. Duration

f. Desistance  

g. Criminal career  

h. Career criminal

10.Two theories on continuity and change

a. Moffit’s dual taxonomy

b. Sampson and Laub age-graded informal social control theory

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