Strategic Offences in the Criminal Career Context
affiliation not provided to SSRN
British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 42, Issue 2, pp. 395-411, 2002
The objective of this study is to identify those first offences which indicate a high risk for a continued criminal career, and those offences for which this risk is low, i.e. to identify those offences which might be termed strategic offences, and those which would not. Insights of this kind provide an important foundation for strategies in the field of crime policy. If the object is to reduce the level of recruitment into a delinquent lifestyle, then it is probably more worthwhile to concentrate on measures focused on those individuals convicted of high-risk offences rather than on those convicted of low-risk offences. The study is based on data from the register of those convicted of criminal offences in Sweden and includes all persons from the 1960, 1965, 1970 and 1975 birth cohorts who have been convicted of criminal offences. The findings indicate that three offence types can be characterized as strategic offences. The crime most readily identifiable as a strategic offence is vehicle theft, but non-vehicle thefts and robbery (including mugging) are also predictive of a long and serious subsequent career in delinquency. Shoplifting and motoring offences, including drink driving, are indicative of a low risk of becoming a chronic offender. The study concludes that from the perspective of crime policy, it is important to make use of these results in order to identify if possible the group of individuals most at risk of continuing along the criminal career path.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 29, 2008
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