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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Crime specialization is one of the most researched and often-debated criminal career parameters. To date, the concept of specialization has been approached mainly from a static viewpoint whereby crime specialization and criminal versatility have been conceptualized as two opposite end of a continuum. Emerging research based on longitudinal data, however, has led to the emergence of a dynamic-oriented perspective where specialization and versatility can occur during one’s career. In this essay, the evolution of the concept of crime specialization is highlighted along with associated theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and empirical issues stemming from this gradual change. Policy implications and directions for future research on the development of criminal careers are highlighted.

Keywords: criminal careers, crime specialization, criminal versatility, behavioral consistency, longitudinal data, dynamic-oriented perspective, policy implications

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