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Prevalence and Characteristics of Co-Offending Recruiters

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 28 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2011 Pages: 325-359
Sarah B. van Mastrigt; David P. Farrington
Date Published
April 2011
35 pages
This study examined the characteristics of offenders in the United Kingdom who commit crimes with a large number of co-offenders.
Previous examinations of co-offending have identified a subset of high-rate offenders who commit crimes with a large number of co-offenders, most of whom are younger and less criminally experienced. These so-called "recruiters" are of particular interest to researchers and practitioners, because of their potential role in facilitating offending onset and recidivism among their co-offenders. In this paper, data on 61,646 individuals detected by a large UK police force are used to identify offenders who fitted the recruiter profile, and to compare their individual and offending characteristics with those of non-recruiters. In total, 86 recruiters were identified. In multivariate analyses, recruiters were found to be older than non-recruiters and were typically involved in property crimes. In addition, they tended to offend in criminal groups that were more heterogeneous and stable than non-recruiters. These findings suggest that a small but identifiable group of recruiters can be detected using official data and that these individuals may be important targets for police attention and court treatment. (Published Abstract)