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Scaling Up From Convictions to Self-Reported Offending

NCJ Number
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2014 Pages: 265-276
Delphine Theobald; David P. Farrington; Rolf Loeber; Dustin A. Pardini; Alex R. Piquero
Date Published
October 2014
12 pages
The main aims of this study were to estimate the number of offences that were committed for every one that leads to conviction, and to estimate the probability of an offender being convicted.
On average, 22 offences were self-reported for every conviction. This scaling-up factor increased with age and was the highest for moderate theft and the lowest for serious theft. The probability of a self-reported offender being convicted was 54 percent. This percentage increased with the frequency and seriousness of offending and was always higher for African-American boys than for Caucasian boys. These race differences probably reflected differences in exposure to risk factors. More research is needed on scaling-up factors, on frequent and serious offenders who are not convicted, on self-reported non-offenders who are convicted and on why African-American boys are more likely than Caucasian boys to be convicted. Data for the current study were obtained from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, which followed up 506 boys from age 13 to age 24 years, in interviews and criminal records. Self-reports and convictions for serious theft, moderate theft, serious violence and moderate violence were compared. (Publisher abstract modified)