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SOC*2700 Ch 15.pdf

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SOC 2700
C Yule

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Chapter 15 Developmental Theoriesassume that different factors may have different effects on offenders of different agersexplain crime in the context of the life court the progression from childhood to adolescence to adulthood and ultimately to old agesome criminologists argue that these developmental theories do not contribute anything new to criminology a major debate about this issue was engaged by the 80s centering around the relationship between age and crimeThe Great Debate Criminal Careers Longitudinal Research and the Relationship Between Age and Crimea 1972 study found the 6 of juveniles accounted by 52 of all juvenile contacts involving felony offensesthis led to the idea that there was a small group of active career criminals who accounted for a very large portion of crimethis led to the idea that crime rates could be reduced dramatically by locking up these chronic offendersthe idea of career criminals and criminals careers are very differenta career criminal is thought to be a chronic offender who commits frequent crimes over a long periodcriminal career does not imply anything about the frequency or seriousness of the offending it simply suggests that involvement in criminal activity begins at some point in a persons life continues for a certain length of time and then endsit has long been known that crime rates rise rapidly throughout the adolescent years peak in the late teens or early twenties and steadily decline from then onthe traditional view has been that the decline in this curve after about age 20 is due primarily to changes in frequencythe number of of offenders remains the same but each offender commits fewer offensesin contrast career criminal researchers suggest that the decline is caused by a changein participationthe number of offenders declines but each remaining offender still engages in a high rate of offendingthe debate on the relationship between age and crime led to a particularly ferocious dispute about the type of research that is required to test these theories much prior research in criminology looked at aggregate crime rates eg burglary rates in a given citycareer criminal criminologists focused on the patterns of crimes committed by individual criminals over a certain period rather than on aggregate crime rates within a particular locationthey tended to use longitudinal researchmost other criminologists have used crosssectional research which compares different individuals at the same time Criminal Propensity Versus Criminal Careerthe debate boiled down to a debate between the criminal propensity and the criminal career positions
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