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Towards Explaining Patterns and Trends in Youth Crime (From Psychosocial Disturbances in Young People: Challenges for Prevention, P 166-211, 1995, Michael Rutter, ed. - See NCJ-167699)

NCJ Number
D J Smith
Date Published
46 pages
This chapter examines the main findings from three traditions of research and analysis in an attempt to explain the continuing rise in the aggregate crime rate.
The first section of this chapter considers the relationship between age and crime and reviews explanations that attempt to account for the age-crime curve. The next three sections review the evidence on the continuity between crime and conduct disorders, on the individual characteristics of offenders, and on the social and cultural correlates of offending. This is followed by a discussion of secular trends in the aggregate crime rate and cross-national comparisons. The chapter reviews the principal theories to account for crime, with a focus on their ability to explain the rising crime rate in most developed countries. Perhaps the most important single fact about crime is that it is committed mainly by teenagers and young adults. Theories to explain patterns and trends of crime and conduct disorders fall into four broad types: dispositional, social control, opportunity or limited rationality, and sociological. Notes, figures, references