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Co-Offending and Patterns of Juvenile Crime, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2005
20 pages
Publication Series
This study of juvenile offenders in an urban center focused on three features in co-offending (more than one person involved in committing the crime): the age of offenders, recidivism, and violence.
The study identified 400 juvenile offenders from police tapes that listed 60,821 juvenile arrests in Philadelphia in 1987. Half the sample was drawn from a list of offenses that police recorded as solo offenses, and the other half was drawn from a list of co-offenses. Some information about the number of offenders was available in just over 95 percent of the incidents. The study found that offenders age 13 and under were more likely to commit crimes in pairs and groups than were 16- and 17-year-old offenders. Approximately 40 percent of juvenile offenders committed most of their crimes with others. Co-offenders were also more likely than solo offenders to be recidivists. Further, only the co-offenders committed high numbers of violent crimes. When young offenders affiliate with offenders who have previously engaged in violence, the result is an apparent increase in the likelihood that they will subsequently commit a violent crime as co-offenders. These findings suggest the importance of early intervention for young offenders who engage in co-offending, since this is a factor that increases the risk for recidivism and escalating violent behavior. 8 exhibits and 18 notes

Date Published: December 1, 2005