Chapter 5: correlates of crimes
A correlate of crime is a variable that is related to crime. The two strongest correlates of crime are
age and sex.. Note that correlation does not mean causation correlation is a necessary, but not
sufficient, condition for causation. Correlations data often helps us in testing our theories that we
might have regarding the causes of crimes. Thus it helps us come up with theories that we can then
further test. Always think of a crime as caused by multiple factors that combine to produce effects.
AGE AND CRIME
Universally, young people commit more crime than older people. This is true of most types of crime.
The age group is mostly btw 1520 and peaking at 18 (peaked in the 18 to 24 yearold age group). In
2009, approximately a third (34%) of murder victims and almost half (49%) of the offenders were
under age 25. In many cases we find that these age groups are overly represented (i.e. make up only
12% of general population but 31% of all cases) and we see mostly property crimes in these cases.
However, Different crimes peak at different ages. For example one exception is political crime and
certain types of corporate crime (white collar crimes) where young people lack access to the means
of committing the offences so older age people do these.
How can we explain the rise and fall of crimes then?
Change in population structure: Since the young are overrepresented we can conclude that if the
number of adults in the population in that particular age group decrease, their should be a decrease in
crime ( exactly what we saw in baby bummers of 1980). But this is one of many.
MATURATIONAL REFORM(MR): the idea that as young want the role of adults in society but
they don’t get it so to be like an adult, they commit a lot of crime. But as they reach Adolescence,
which is a time of transition, and as people get older, they develop attachments and commitments
(such as permanent jobs and marriage) that restrain their misbehavior. 2) theft decreases as now they
have financial support and no longer dependence on peers. 3) Vandalism and valance is when the
young’s self esteem decrease as he is ashamed by the school teachers in front of peer. To get that SE
back in front of peer, he resort to these activities. As you leave school, no effect on SE ▯ back to
normal now. (Some don’t agree with this like having some work▯finance▯+ correlation with crime).
Majority of the support is for MR in that MR is increase if marriage/employment/graduation from
school occurs vs MR delayed if gang is joined (social variables involved)
BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF AGING: As you age, you physical ability to commit crimes
decreases a lot.
Skill level: MORE SKILLED AT EVADING DETECTION AS THEY GET OLDER.
SEX AND CRIME :
Men are much more likely to commit crimes than women. This varies by offense men are most
likely to commit violent and serious property offences (based on statistics men are more homicide
viction & offenders then females). Also men are more of sexual assault vs females mostly
Rates are closest for minor property offences (shoplifting, bad cheques) and mainly in youth
then adults. But females are beginning to move into crimes that were previously men
dominated but they tend to be less severe like theft of a less value/violent. but again, still
females are minor crimes like petty property crimes to which females are traditionally
associated. So gender has narrowed but disparity still exists.
Females rate for serious crimes have increased but lower then men still.
The rate at which woman are charged with assault more then doubled while rate of
men assault and serious crimes and common assault decreased.
The gap btw female and male charged with assault has narrowed a lot. Chapter 5: correlates of crimes
Adult female charge rates for serious property crimes have decrease since mid 1990s
and their theft of an item other then motor=decreased a lot then serious property crimes
( but less likely to be reported to police.
Adults males charge rates have declined to a greater degree BUT remain higher that
females rates stated above.
Various explanations for the sex differences:
Biological & psychological factors ( men and woman are different in these two natural
aspect like hormones and body strength)
Otto Pollak: Supposed ‘greater cunning & deceitfulness’ of women (woman are just as
likely and are better able to plan and escape using these treats)
Chivalry thesis: Preferential treatment by law enforcement agents & agencies (staffed by
male and thus feel they have obligation towards the females and thus are more generous
towards them compare to males. They think also males do most of the things)
CONVERGENCE THEORY: AS WOMEN’S ROLES BECOME MORE LIKE MEN’ (i.e.
there roles change as society structure changes, and thus expectation changes), CRIME
RATES WILL CONVERGE. There is Crosscultural evidence in that Increase in women’s
crime during last half of 20 century supports convergence. But these are Limited to petty
theft and fraud (perhaps feminization of poverty rather than convergence). Some believe that
this is feminization of poverty:
Research: post secondary education and female in labour force increase ( show convergence
into men’s role), and fertility rate of females decrease ( traditional roles decrease). Thus
supports convergence theory. However, chivalry thesis might be more applicable. BUT,
others argue, that woman offenders are poor, young, undereducated, and unskilled, suggesting
females crimes at least has socioeconomic factor which is why leads to property crimes
NOW ( so increase in property crimes seem to suggest police no longer following chivalry
thesis and increase socioeconomic disparity seems to be the cause for this)
Race and crimes in US (see notes):
Minorities are overrepresented (their population since in general is small but in jails they represent a
lot of people) A vastly disproportionate number of federal death sentences come from counties with
high minority populations that are located in districts that are heavily white overall (see Cohen &
Smith 2010). Even in death penalty, race does matter (depends on who does it, where the crimeà
The case of Missouri: Both federal districts in Missouri display the racial demographics that are
racially diverse: urban county surrounded by heavily white suburban counties. Thus , Missouri has
returned more federal death sentences than New York, California, and Florida combined (geographic
dynamics do play a role). Thus can be further seen in that The three districts in which it has been
hardest for the feds to get a death sentence (District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Southern
District of New York) are all majorityminority. Ddominated by minority (as the crime is constant,
where minority is dominant, the death penalty is not given. Thus where a crime is committed plays a
huge role ( in overall, we see more black/more males death sentences)
Race and crime in Canada (aboriginals)
Aboriginals (minority) people are over represented in CJS (Canadian justice system). Some suggest
this is due to over police surveillance by these specific groups (I.e. blacks being stopped more then
anyone else). We also see 40% increase in imprisoning of aboriginals, get more severe punishment
even when the crime is constants and are Not granted parole, and are revoked if given parole, most of Chapter 5: correlates of crimes
them are given less punishment but then they can’t pay the fines so end back up in jail. They are
known to be more accused of more of violent and property crime.
There seems to be considerable difference across the country of aboriginals in correctional facility
(Alberta=40% in jails). Those in jails are more likely to be young, low education, low employment,
unstable families, previous contact with justices system, negative peer association and so on.
Other data: 10* more likely to be accused of homicide, (perhaps age composition might