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date: 19 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

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

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