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Aging out

The process by which individuals reduce the frequency of their offending behavior as they age. It is also known as spontaneous remission, because people are believed to spontaneously reduce the rate of their criminal behavior as they mature. Aging out is thought to occur among all groups of offenders

Career Criminal

A person who repeatedly violates the law and organizes his or her lifestyle around criminality

Chivalry Hypothesis

The idea that low female crime and delinquency rates are a reflection of the leniency with which police treat female offenders

Chronic Offenders

according to Wolfgang, a delinquent offender who is arrested five or more times before he are she is 18 and who stands a good chance of becoming an adult criminal; such offenders are responsible for more than half of all serious crimes

Cleared crimes

Crimes are cleared in two ways: when at least one person is arrested, charged, and turned over to the court for prosecution: or by exceptional means, when some element beyond police control precludes the physical arrest of an offender

Continuity of Crime

The view that crime begins early in life and continues throughout the life course. Thus, the best predictor of future criminality is past criminality

Cross-sectional survey

Survey data derived from all age, race, gender, and income segments of the population measured simultaneously. Because people from every age group are represented, age-specific crime rates can be determined. Proponents believe this is sufficient substitute for the more expensive longitudinal approach that follows a group of subjects over time to measure crime rate changes

early onset

A term that refers to the assumption that a criminal career begins early in life and that people who are deviant at a very young age are the ones most likely to persist in crime

Expressive crimes

Crimes that have no purpose except to accomplish the behavior at hand, such as shooting someone

instrumental crimes

Offenses designed to improve the financial or social position of the criminal

liberal feminist theory

Theory suggesting that the traditionally lower crime rate for women can be explained by their second-class economic and social position. As women's social roles have changed and their lifestyles have become more like those of men, it is believed that their crime rates will converge.

Masculinity Hypothesis

The view that women who commit crimes have biological and psychological traits similar to those of men


A research technique that uses the grouped data from several different studies

National Crime Victimization Survey

The ongoing victimization study conducted jointly by the Justice Department and U.S. Census Bureau that surveys victims about their experiences with law violation

National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS)

A program that requires local police agencies to provide a brief account of each incident and arrest within 22 crime patterns, including incident, victim, and offender information

Part 1 Crimes

Another term for index crimes; eight categories of serious, frequent

Part 2 Crimes

All crimes other than index and minor traffic offenses. The FBI records annual arrest information for Part 2 offenses


The idea that those who started their delinquent careers early and who committed serious violent crimes throughout adolescence were the most likely to persist as adults


All people who share a particular personal characteristic, such as all high school students or all police officers

Retrospective cohort study

A study that uses an intact cohort of known offenders and looks back into their early life experiences by checking their educational, family, police, and hospital records


Selecting a limited number of people for study as representative of a larger group

self-report survey

A research approach that requires subjects to reveal their own participation in delinquent or criminal acts

systematic review

A research technique that invovles collecting the findings from previously conducted studies, appraising and synthesizing the evidence, and using the collective evidence to address a particular scientific question

three strikes

Policies whereby people convicted of three felony offenses receive a mandatory life sentence

Uniform Crime Reports

Large database, compiled by the FBI, of crimes reported and arrests made each year throughout the United States


A sample of subjects whose behavior is followed over a period of time

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