Offenders who frequently commit crimes when they are young eventually turn to more serious offending in adulthood and impose far greater costs than those whose offending peaks during adolescence, say researchers Mark Cohen of Vanderbilt University, Alex Piquero of Florida State University, and Wesley Jennings of the University of Louisville in the journal Criminology & Public Policy. The experts say preventing individuals from becoming chronic offenders could lead to a cost savings of more than $200 million. The journal is edited by Florida State University for the American Society of Criminology and is available to society members or by subscription. Journalists who want access should message email@example.com.
Crime likely costs the U.S. $1 to $2 trillion a year, Robert O'Brien of the University of Oregon writes in the journal. O'Brien believes this figure probably underestimates the true costs of crime. Also in the journal, Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago and National Bureau of Economic Research notes the importance of focusing on the ratio of benefits to costs of prevention efforts and not just the benefits. Ludwig suggests using information about the criminal involvement of parents when identifying the offending groups most at risk for frequent offending because of evidence about strong intergenerational correlations in offending behavior.