Age as a Criminological Variable

  • Ezzat A. Fattah
  • Vincent F. Sacco


Since the dawn of scientific criminology, age has been identified as the most important criminological variable. On the basis of their statistical studies of criminality, Guerry and Quetelet declared that age is the factor that has the greatest impact on crime. In 1839 Quetelet wrote:

of all the causes which influence the development of propensity to crime, or which diminish that propensity, age is unquestionably the most energetic.


Property Crime Senior Citizen Elderly Male Arrest Rate Disorderly Conduct 
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Chapter Two: Recommended Readings

  1. Covey, H.C. and Menard S. 1987 Trends in Arrests among the Elderly, The Gerontologist, 27 (5):666–672.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cullen, F.T. et al. 1985 The Rise of the Elderly Offender, Will a New Criminal be Invented? Crime and Social Justice, 23:151–165Google Scholar
  3. Hirschi, T. and M. Gottfredson. 1983 Age and the Explanation of Crime. American J. of Sociology, 89(3): 552–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Inciardi, J.A. 1987 Crime and the Elderly: A Construction of Official Rates. In C.D. Chambers et al. (Eds) The Elderly: Victims and Deviants, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. pp. 177–190.Google Scholar
  5. Rowe, A.R. and C.R. Tittle. 1977 Life Cycle Changes and Criminal Propensity. The Sociological Quarterly, 18:223–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Shichor, D. 1985 Male-female Differences in Elderly Arrests: An Exploratory Analysis. Justice Quarterly, 2 (3): 399–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Steffensmeier, D.J. 1987 The Invention of the “New” Senior Citizen Criminal. Research on Aging, 9 (2): 281–311.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ezzat A. Fattah
    • 1
  • Vincent F. Sacco
    • 2
  1. 1.School of CriminologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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