Most people engage in crime at some point in their lives, but why does almost everybody stop soon after? And, why do a small number of offenders persist in crime? These two questions constitute the core of the field often known as life-course criminology. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to life-course criminology. It covers the dominant theories and methodologies in the field and equips you with all you need to succeed in your studies on the subject. The book: • Discusses the methodologies of life-course and longitudinal research • Explains and critiques the major theories of life-course criminology • Considers the issues of risk, prediction, onset, persistence and desistance of criminal activity • Draws on research from studies in Europe, the UK, US and Australia, including the Stockholm Life-Course Project Written by two leading figures in the field, this is an authoritative text that will guide you through your studies in life-course criminology, criminal career research, and developmental criminology.
Chapter 6: Onset of Crime
Onset of Crime
Onset of criminal behavior is perhaps the most studied phenomena in criminology. In classical criminological theory, onset is seen as the end result of social learning processes (Akers, 1985; Sutherland, 1947), low social and/or personal controls (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990; Hirschi, 1969; Reiss, 1951), drift (Matza, 1964), or certain adaptations to the experience of strain (Agnew, 1992; Merton, 1938), to mention just a few of the more well-known examples. Onset, in turn, is associated with processes of labeling (Becker, 1963), stigma (Goffman, 1963), and, as a result, secondary deviance (or, persistence) and continuity in the new behavior (Lemert, 1951), due to the societal reactions that onset tends to generate when detected by others.
Today, onset is also part of the ...