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Breaking the Cycle: Predicting and Preventing Crime

NCJ Number
Date Published
73 pages
Publication Series
This report summarizes the findings from eight workshops that focused on crime causes and crime prevention and involved more than 200 experts in criminology, education, law, statistics, and many other fields who have contributed to the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods.
This longitudinal research project is a collaboration of NIJ, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the MacArthur Foundation. The project is focusing on 70 study neighborhoods as well as official data from Federal, State, and local governments. The research is focusing on the role of community, family structure, ethnicity, gender, traumatic stress, health and biomedical influences, social networks, preventive interventions, moral development, and adult development in the origins and pathways of criminal behavior. The findings to date indicate that working with high-risk individuals before they turn to crime will give them a smoother start in life, reduce the number of crimes committed, and save money that would otherwise be spent in the criminal justice system. Some of the factors that identify children likely to become serious and persistent delinquents are known, but the indicators are not yet accurate enough to permit the targeting of individuals for early and sustained intervention programs. The project will identify patterns based on individual behavior, human development, and environmental context. Improving predictions, developing effective intervention programs, and changing social policy will save a considerable amount of money in reduced losses from crime, lower criminal justice expenditures, and the enhanced productivity of otherwise criminal persons. Figures, chapter reference notes, and appended list of project members

Date Published: January 1, 1994