Crime prevention plans must recognise young offenders and victims are from same group

Programmes to deter young offenders from crime and schemes
supporting victims should be re-thought as often the target groups
are the same people, according to research sponsored by the
Economic and Social Research Council, writes Clare

Being a victim of crime at the age of 12 is one of the most
powerful indicators that a child will offend at 15 and offending at
the age of 12 brings a strong possibility of victimisation at 15,
the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime found.

The study, which tracked 4,300 young people, suggests this could
be because personality traits such as being impulsive and taking
risks lead to both offending and victimisation. In addition, young
people who get into risky situations together, such as late night
clubs, end up both committing offences and being victims of

The research, led by Professor David Smith and Dr Lesley McAra,
found that boys offend only slightly more often than girls at the
ages of 13-15 if every kind of offending is included. Girls are
more likely to smoke and drink than boys are by the age of 15, yet
there are higher levels of serious offending in boys compared with

A fifth of 15-year-olds are members of gangs, although only five
per cent belong to a gang with a name or sign. Offending is higher
among gang members, who are likely to be typically male, from
broken families and lower class backgrounds

Report available from

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