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Abstract

A review of the literature indicates two major approaches in official crime rate analysis. The first approach postulates a positive correlation between recorded crime rates and a number of factors including police strength, organizational structure of social control agencies, opportunity, and social pathologies. The second postulate is based on Erikson's hypothesis of stability of deviance over time, namely that recorded crime rates in a given society will remain comparatively stable over time. We tested these approaches based on 15 years of juvenile delinquency statistics in Israel. Official statistics on both recorded juvenile delinquents and their recorded crimes were tested through time-series analysis. Results indicate significant yearly fluctuations in recorded crime rates and in the percent of juvenile delinquents. However, a constant rate of delinquency was found among 8 Israeli birth cohorts between 1952-1959. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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