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Targeting Crime Prevention to Reduce Offending: Identifying Communities that Generate Chronic and Costly Offenders

NCJ Number
Troy Allard; April Chrzanowski; Anna Stewart
Date Published
September 2012
8 pages
This study from the Australian Institute of Criminology examined whether some communities generate chronic and costly offenders.
The major finding from this study was that chronic offenders in Queensland were not randomly distributed among geographic areas. The data revealed that 68.1 percent of postal areas had none or a low proportion of the population that were considered chronic offenders, while in 10 percent of the locations, over 9.1 percent of the population were considered chronic offenders. The data also revealed that the areas with the highest concentration of chronic offenders were characterized by high proportions of Indigenous youth, and high levels of disadvantage and remoteness. In addition, the study found that in terms of costs, the top 10 percent of the most costly postal areas accounted for 50.5 percent of the total cost of chronic offenders and 35.2 percent of the total cost of all offenders in the study sample. The primary purpose of the study was to determine whether chronic offenders in Queensland were randomly distributed among different geographic areas. Data for the study were obtained from a longitudinal offender cohort of all individuals born in Queensland in 1990 who had committed an offense when they were between the ages of 10 and 20. Using this sample (n=14,171 offenders), the researchers examined 4 things: to identify the number of offender trajectories; to explore whether communities generated chronic offenders; to identify communities that carry the cost burden of chronic offenders; and to investigate offender residential mobility. The findings revealed that chronic offenders were not randomly distributed among the different geographic areas, but rather were concentrated in areas defined by high populations of Indigenous youth, and high levels of poverty and remoteness. Implications for policy and intervention strategies are discussed. Tables, figures, and references