Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Moffitt, Terrie E.: A Developmental Model of Life-Course-Persistent Offending
The relationship between age and crime presents a wonderful conundrum for criminologists. It is simultaneously one of the most accepted and yet least understood empirical realities of the field. The aggregate age distribution of crime is nearly universal. On average, criminal offending starts in pre-adolescence, increases rapidly during adolescence, peaks around age 17 (for most offenses), and then rapidly declines during the transition to young adulthood. Criminologists are in agreement on this point—and have been for quite some time. There is considerable disagreement, however, as to what this aggregate age-crime curve represents. Specifically, do individual patterns of criminal offending mimic the aggregate curve? What conclusions about individual patterns of behavior can be reached based on the age-crime curve? One school of thought articulated and embodied by Travis Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson is that the age-crime curve is invariant. That is, it is essentially the same for all individuals. The counterposition ...