Heterogeneity in Delinquency

Alex R. Piquero and Douglas B. Weiss

in The Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195385106
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Heterogeneity in Delinquency

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice
  • Measurement of Crime


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This article gives an overview of the heterogeneity observed in delinquency and criminal careers. It begins with a discussion of the classic age–crime relationship, which has formed the basis for much of the theoretical, empirical, and policy discussion regarding crime and criminals. Following this, it discusses the criminal career framework that parcels the longitudinal patterning of criminal offending into different dimensions, and overviews the theories it helped to generate. Furthermore, the article reviews some of the key empirical investigations that have assessed hypotheses emerging from these theories. It then highlights several promising future research directions that are anticipated to help fill some of the gaps in understanding the heterogeneity among offenders. It concludes with a brief discussion about the policy implications emerging from theoretical and empirical literature surrounding offender heterogeneity.

Keywords: heterogeneity; delinquency; age–crime relationship; investigations; crime; criminal career

Article.  7437 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice ; Measurement of Crime

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