Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Age-Crime Curve

  • Rolf LoeberEmail author
  • David P. Farrington
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_474


One of the most consistent findings across studies on offending in different countries is the age-crime curve (Farrington 1986; Tremblay and Nagin 2005). The relationship between age and crime is of an asymmetrical bell shape, showing that the prevalence of offending (the percentage of offenders in a population) tends to increase from late childhood, peaks in the teenage years (around ages 15–19), and then declines from the early 20s, often with a long tail (Fig. 1). The sharp increase during adolescence in the curve reflects an increase in new delinquency recruits during that period, and the rate of recruitment tends to slow down subsequently (Smith et al. 2002). The age-crime differs from developmental trajectories (qv) of offending in that the age-crime curve indicates the prevalence of offending by age of populations of individuals, whereas developmental trajectories make distinctions between subgroups of offenders, such as life-course persistent offenders and...
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Recommended Reading and References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK