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Study sheds light for the first time on the development of youth crime over the life course in Germany

Is it possible to predict individual courses of violent crime in adolescence? Do tough penalties really act as a deterrent? How does watching violent movies affect youths? Criminologists consistently try to find answers to those and other questions.
The longitudinal study „Crime in the modern city” (CRIMOC), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for 12 years and conducted by SFB 882 Project Director Prof. Dr. Jost Reinecke (Project A2 “The Emergence and Development of Deviant and Delinquent Behavior over the Life Course and its Significance for Processes of Social Inequality“) and Prof. Dr. Klaus Boers (University of Münster, Department of Law), sheds light on these questions. The fundamental difference between this study and previous research is that cross-sectional studies only show snapshots and do not give any information about individual development of criminal behaviour. “There is no comparable study in Germany that captures delinquent behaviour of juveniles and young adults over the life course.” said Jost Reinecke, emphasising the value of the study. The latest results of the longitudinal research conducted in Duisburg were presented in Düsseldorf on May 22nd, 2014 at the state press conference.


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Neue Westfälische


Links between CRIMOC and the research of SFB 882 project A2 are the analysis of the same phenomenon and similar sampling universes: development of youth delinquency over the life course. The CRIMOC study comprises nine panel times which enable researchers to gain findings about developments in the age groups of 13-14 year and 23-24 year olds. Distal factors (e.g. social milieus, family school, peers) as well as proximal factors (e.g. attitude concerning violence, rules of law) are incorporated in diverse explanation models. The results of CRIMOC project are useful for the research of SFB 882 project A2, notably for replication. Besides the analysis of mechanisms of social inequality (which is not in the focus of CRIMOC), turning points and desistance from crime over the life course are investigated in particular.