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Role of Neighborhood Context in Youth Co-Offending

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 52 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2014 Pages: 117-139
David R. Schaefer; Nancy Rodriguez; Scott H. Decker
Date Published
February 2014
23 pages
Despite co-offending being a core criminological fact, locating suitable peers has many challenges. Chief among these, given the risky nature of co-offending, is finding trustworthy accomplices.
The authors propose that neighborhoods serve as youths' most ready source of accomplices, and as such, their composition affects the likelihood of identifying suitable co-offenders. In particular, youth are more likely to co-offend in contexts with more peers of their race/ethnicity, less disadvantage, and greater residential stabilityall of which promote trust among neighbors. The authors tested their hypotheses using multilevel models applied to census data and official court records for 7,484 delinquent youth in a large metropolitan area. The results offer support for their hypotheses and provide greater insight into how individual and contextual factors combine to affect co-offending behavior. An implication of these findings is that many of the same neighborhood characteristics that reduce crime lead to a greater proportion of co-offending. (Published Abstract)