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Elsevier Science
Handbook of Crime Correlates

Handbook of Crime Correlates

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HANDBOOK OF CRIME CORRELATES Lee Ellis Minot State University, Minot, ND Kevin M. Beaver Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL John Wright University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH The Handbook of Crime Correlates gathers over 200 years of worldwide academic research into criminal behavior and consolidates those findings into 400+ tables to tell at a glance the definitive association of those variables to criminal behavior.
• How pervasive is homicide worldwide and are homicide rates going up or down?
• Is there a relationship between conduct disorder in children and adult criminal behavior?
• Does drug addiction primarily precede or postdate criminal behavior?
• To what extent do men and women differ in perpetration of specific crime categories? The Handbook of Crime Correlates offers a window into answering these questions by summarizing what the majority findings indicate, and providing the specific references in each case. Findings are broken down by world region, by type of crime, and by whether the variable in question has a positive, negative, or insignificant association to criminal behavior. Criminal behavior is broken down into separate offending categories of violent crime, property crime, drug offenses, sex offenses, delinquency, general and adult offenses, and recidivism. Accompanying each table is a description of what each table indicates in terms of the positive or negative association of specific variables with specific types of crime by region. This book should serve as a critical resource for criminal justice personnel and academics in the social and life sciences interested in criminal behavior. In no other place is such a wealth of academic research on criminal behavior consolidated, clearly indicating how a multitude of variables, from gender and religion to seafood consumption and season, relate to criminal behavior. • Contains over 400 tables of variables studied in relation to criminal behavior • Consolidates 200 years of academic research on criminal behavior • Positions findings by world region for easy comparison • Breaks down criminal behavior by 9 offending categories

References and all tabular materials can be found at our website:

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780123736123
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Publication date: 04/01/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lee Ellis earned his PhD from Florida State University in 1982. For most of his teaching career, he was professor of sociology at Minot State University in North Dakota. After retiring from MSU in 2008, Dr. Ellis accepted a two-year visiting professorship at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he conducted research. Now semi-retired, he continues conducting research and authoring articles and books including Handbook of Crime Correlates and Handbook of Social Status Correlates.

Read an Excerpt

Handbook of Crime Correlates

By Lee Ellis Kevin Beaver John Wright

Academic Press

Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-08-092009-2

Chapter One

Pervasiveness and Intra-Offending Relationships


1.1 Pervasiveness 1 1.1.1 Prevalence Estimates for Homicide 1 1.1.2 Percentage Estimates for Frequently Occurring Types of Offenses 3 1.1.3 Percentage Estimates for Antisocial Behavior and Chronic Physical Aggression 3 1.1.4 Criminal Versatility 3 1.1.5 Sequences in Criminal Offending 3 1.1.6 Trends in Delinquent/Criminal Offending 3

1.2 Intra-offending relationships 3 1.2.1 Officially Detected Violent Crime and Self-Reported Offending or Antisocial Behavior 3 1.2.2 Officially Detected Drug Crimes and Delinquency in General 3 1.2.3 Officially Detected Delinquency and Criminal or Antisocial Behavior 3 1.2.4 Adult Crimes, Official and Delinquency or Antisocial Behavior 6 1.2.5 Recidivism and Delinquency or Antisocial Behavior 6 1.2.6 Self-Reported Offenses in General 6 1.2.7 Self-Reported Drug Offenses 7 1.2.8 Conduct Disorders in Childhood and Early Adolescence 7 1.2.9 Antisocial Personality in Later Adolescence and Adulthood 7

The initial chapter of the book is devoted to exploring the pervasiveness of criminality and the relationships between various types of criminality. In other words, how extensive is criminal (and delinquent) behavior throughout the world? And, to what extent is one type of offending associated with another type.


Research pertaining to the prevalence of various categories of crime for different geographical locations and periods of time is summarized in the tables in this section of Chapter 1. Prevalence estimates are obtained by dividing the number of crimes in a given geographical area by the number of human inhabitants in that area. For comparison purposes, the results of these calculations are nearly always expressed in terms of the number of crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

1.1.1 Prevalence Estimates for Homicide

The earliest known estimates for the prevalence of homicide (murder) extend back into some medieval European cities. Nationwide estimates for Europe, however, did not begin to appear until several centuries later. The findings from these historic studies are summarized in Table 1.1.1 along with estimates from more contemporary times.

Examination of Table 1.1.1 reveals that overall there has been a dramatic downturn in homicide rates from earlier centuries. This table also contains estimates of "virtual murder" in several preliterate societies. Virtual murders are murders in all respects except that they occur where no written laws exist. Estimates are derived from anthropological interviews of members of foraging or tribal populations about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their friends and relatives. It should be noted that often only a few hundred persons are interviewed which typically yields results surrounding the death of no more than a few thousand persons. Such a limited number of deaths reported do not provide stable estimates because official murder rates are usually expressed in terms of rates per 100,000. Nevertheless, this research has provided an interesting (but cloudy) window into the prevalence of deaths due to violence in preliterate societies.

Comparisons across vastly different cultures should be tempered with the realization that modern emergency medical services have dramatically lowered the likelihood of death from wounds suffered in many assaults. One estimate was that the current homicide rate would be as much as five times higher if today's emergency medical services were the same as those provided as recently as half a century ago (A Harris et al. 2002).

1.1.2 Percentage Estimates for Frequently Occurring Types of Offenses

In statistical terms, murder is an extremely rare crime. For this reason, as noted in the preceding table, its occurrence is usually expressed in annual terms of per 100,000 population. Table 1.1.2 pertains to much more common types of offenses. Specifically, the percentage estimates (i.e., "per 100") of the following are summarized in this table: (a) recidivism, (b) overall self-reported offending, and (c) the self-reported use of illegal drugs.

Recidivism pertains to the commission of an additional offense after having committed an earlier offense (which is usually inferred based on a prior conviction). As one can see, the estimates of recidivism rates range from 30 to 90%, depending on the length of time following release from custody to whether or not parole revocations are included as part of the recidivism measure.

The studies of overall self-reported offending are derived from surveys in which subjects voluntarily report (usually anonymously) the number of illegal acts they recall having committed. Unless specified otherwise, these acts include both victimful crimes (such as assaults, thefts, and vandalism) and victimless offenses (such as drug use and curfew or truancy violations). Table 1.1.2 suggests that approximately 90% of people recall having committed at least one delinquent or criminal act by the time they have reached their 20s.

At least in recent decades, the single most frequently reported type of self-reported offense is drug-related (mainly the possession and use of prohibited drugs, especially marijuana). Table 1.1.2 shows that the percentage estimates of illegal drug use varies considerably from one country to another, and also vary considerably within countries and within subpopulations over time.

1.1.3 Percentage Estimates for Antisocial Behavior and Chronic Physical Aggression

In Table 1.1.3 one finds a summary of studies that were located in which empirical estimates were provided regarding the prevalence of antisocial behavior. As one can see, all estimates are under 10%, and they are usually closer to 2–5%. This is true for both childhood and early adolescent forms (known as childhood conduct disorders) and for the forms that emerge in late adolescence or adulthood (called antisocial behavior or psychopathy). Chronic physical aggression, on the other hand, has been estimated to be more common than antisocial behavior, although still under 10%.

1.1.4 Criminal Versatility

According to one study of female prisoners, those who were diagnosed as psychopathic were more likely than those who were nonpsychopathic to have committed a wide range of offenses (Table 1.1.4). A review of the literature of offenders generally reached the same conclusion regarding a link between psychopathy and crime versatility (Hemphill et al. 1998).

1.1.5 Sequences in Criminal Offending

A few studies of self-reported offending have examined the following question: Do drug offenses usually precede or follow involvement in other types of crime? As shown in Table 1.1.5, the pertinent studies have concluded that drug offenses usually follow the commission of other (usually victimful) types of offenses.

1.1.6 Trends in Delinquent/Criminal Offending

One study was located regarding trends in victimful offending. As shown in Table 1.1.6, this study concluded that in the United States, the rates of violent and property crimes decreased substantially between 1994 and 2003.


Numerous studies have been undertaken to determine whether or not the commission of one type of crime is associated with the commission of one or more other types. Results of these studies, along with research correlating involvement in crime with the diagnosis of an antisocial personality condition, are presented below.

1.2.1 Officially Detected Violent Crime and Self-Reported Offending or Antisocial Behavior

A few studies have investigated the connection between officially detected involvement in violent crime and either self-reported illegal drug use or a diagnosis of antisocial personality or behavior. As shown in Table 1.2.1, these studies have concluded that these phenomena are all positively correlated with one another.

1.2.2 Officially Detected Drug Crimes and Delinquency in General

As shown in Table 1.2.2, one study conducted in two countries found that persons arrested for marijuana possession are more likely than persons in general to also be arrested for delinquency.

1.2.3 Officially Detected Delinquency and Criminal or Antisocial Behavior

According to numerous studies of official delinquency, such behavior is positively correlated with a statistically significant degree with adulthood criminality and with self-reported offending. Also, persons who have been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder are more likely to be officially identified as delinquent than are their unidentified peers (Table 1.2.3).

1.2.4 Adult Crimes, Official and Delinquency or Antisocial Behavior

Table 1.2.4 summarizes findings concerning the relationship between an official identification as an adult offender and (a) involvement in delinquency and (b) a diagnosis of antisocial personality. The available evidence suggests that these phenomena are positively correlated with a significant degree.


Excerpted from Handbook of Crime Correlates by Lee Ellis Kevin Beaver John Wright Copyright © 2009 by Elsevier Inc. . Excerpted by permission of Academic Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

1. The Prevalence of Offending and Associations Between Different Types of Offending 2. Demographic Factors 3. Institutional Factors 4. Familial, Reproductive, and Peer Factors 5. Personality and Behavioral Factors 6. Cognitive and Mental Health Factors 7. Biological Factors 8. Crime Victimization and Fear of Crime 9. Epilogue: Grand Summary

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