Correlates of Delinquency – Thursday, January 16, 2014
Various factors that are associated with delinquency – but doesn’t mean they are caused
Is social class related to delinquency?
Early studies based on arrest data
o The main way of measuring delinquency until the 1960s
o Virtually every study found that lower classcommunities had much higher arrest rates than
o Lowerclass youths are more likely to be arrested than middleclass youths
o Conclusion: social class was strongly associated with delinquency
BUT, selfreport studies disagreed
o Found little to no relationship between social class and delinquency
o Seem to challenge our personal experiences and common sense
If class is unrelated to delinquency, how can one account for the findings from arrest data?
o Arrest data is biased
Offences of lower class is more likely to come to attention of the police
Upper class youths can more easily hide their offending
Lower class are not more delinquent, but more likely to be caught
If class is unrelated to delinquency, how can one account for the perception that lowerclass juveniles
are more delinquency?
o Chambliss (1973) – “Saints” and “Roughnecks”
o Found same amount of delinquency, but
Delinquency of Saints was less visible
The Saints had better demeanor
People were simply biased in favour of the Saints and against Roughnecks
The later selfreport studies – major findings in the National Youth Survey
o Few or no class differences in most types of minor delinquency
o However, the lower class is more likely to engage in serious delinquency
More high rate offenders in the lower class
o Juveniles experiencing persistent poverty are more likely to engage in delinquency
Are race and ethnicity related to delinquency?
o Arrest data
Black/Latino/Native youth have higher delinquency rates
However, crimes committed by black/Latino/Native youths may simply be more likely
come to the attention of police ▯same as the case for social class
o Selfreport data
Race differences are quite small for minor delinquency (white and black youth have
similar levels), but are more pronounced for serious delinquency
Higher serious crime rate among black youth is due to a greater % of high rate
Most youths of all races are not very delinquency, but black youth are more likely to
be a high rate offenders
But, are race differences in serious delinquency explained by social class?
Are African Americans more likely to engage in serious delinquency because they are more likely to
be in the lower class?
o Most African Americans are not members of the lower class, but are more likely to be than
members of most other races [Type text] [Type text] [Type text]
o Compared to poor whites, poor AAs are more likely to live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods ▯
same SES, but worse conditions for AAs – systematic discrimination
Aboriginal Overrepresentation in Canada
Aboriginal youth make up 6% of the youth population (2006), but
o 27% remand
o 36% sentenced custody
o 24% probation (2008/2009)
Is age related to delinquency?
It is one of the two strongest correlates of crime
Crime rates are highest for peop