Changing patterns of offending behaviour among young adults.

Soothill, Keith, Francis, Brian, Humphreys, Leslie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3756-4710 and Ackerley, Elizabeth (2008) Changing patterns of offending behaviour among young adults. British Journal of Criminology .

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This paper focuses on the offending behaviour of different generations. It considers the convictions of six cohorts involving 31,456 young adults aged 16-20 in the early 1970s, the late 1970s, the early 1980s, the late 1980s, the early 1990s and the late 1990s. Using latent class analysis, 16 offence clusters for males and five offence clusters for females were identified. For both males and females, the proportions of the population convicted in the 16-20 age group have declined. Among the males, 'versatile' clusters are increasing and 'specialist' clusters, with some exceptions, are rapidly declining. Among females, the proportions in the versatile cluster have increased appreciably, while the specialist cluster of violence has increased and that of shoplifting has decreased. We suggest that the impact of these changes has not been fully understood by important official definers of crime, such as judges and magistrates.

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