On the future of the individual longitudinal age-crime curve

Marc Le Blanc
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health: CBMH 2020, 30 (4): 183-195

BACKGROUND: This article serves as our memorial for the outstanding contribution of Rolf Loeber to developmental criminology. His salient paper on the future of the study of the age-crime curve (2012) is the focal point.

AIMS: Follow some research trails that Rolf Loeber proposed in his 2012 paper.

METHODS: Recent data on official offending from the Montréal Two Samples Four Generations Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Studies (MTSFGCLS) are analysed. The data were gathered for two generations of juvenile court males; five birth cohorts born around 1960 and followed from age 8 to 61, and five birth cohorts born around 1980, males and females traced from age 12 to 45. The age-crime curves are presented for the total prevalence. Epidemiological data are displayed for career descriptors: number of years active in offending, frequency, variety, onset, offset and duration.

RESULTS: The age-crime curves of the two generations display the habitual shape reported in the literature. The epidemiological data shows that the population sample has a much lower curve in comparison to the court sample; this sort of difference is also observed between females and males.

CONCLUSION: The difference between the two generations in the age-crime curves are interpreted in light of three evolutions in Québec from 1960 to 2000: (a) a radical change in the delinquency law, social and criminal justice policies, and treatment for juvenile delinquents; (b) a reduction of the juvenile and adult crime rates; (c) a significant increase in the wellbeing of the population on education, health and welfare services.

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