Developmental Theories of Crime

Developmental and life-course criminology (DLC) theories aim to explain within-individual changes in offending and antisocial behavior over time. In particular, they aim to explain (a) the development of offending and antisocial behavior from the womb to the tomb, (b) the influence of risk and protective factors at different ages, and (c) the effects of life events on the course of development. Whereas traditional criminological theories aim to explain between-individual differences in offending, such as why lower-class boys commit more offenses than upper-class boys, DLC theories aim to explain within-individual changes in offending over time, and especially why offending increases to a peak in the teenage years and then decreases.

This entry reviews some early criminological theories because their postulates provide the building blocks of most ...

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