CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tumminello et al. on Criminal Specialization

Michele Tumminello Christofer Edling Fredrik Liljeros Rosario N. Mantegna and Jerzy Sarnecki (Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences , affiliation not provided to SSRN , Stockholm University - Department of Sociology , University of Palermo - Department of Physics and affiliation not provided to SSRN) have posted The Phenomenology of Specialization of Criminal Suspects on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A criminal career can be either general, with the criminal commiting different types of crime, or specialized, with the criminal commiting a specific type of crime. A central problem in the study of crime specialization is to determine, from the perspective of the criminal, which crimes should be considered similar and which crimes should be considered distinct. We study a large set of Swedish suspects to empirically investigate generalist and specialist behavior in crime. We show that there is a large group of suspects who can be described as generalists. At the same time, we observe a non-trivial pattern of specialization across age and gender of suspects. Women are less prone to commit crimes of certain types, and, for instance, are more prone to specialize in crimes related to fraud. We also find evidence of temporal specialization of suspects. Older persons are more specialized than younger ones, and some crime types are preferentially committed by suspects of different ages.

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