That the age–crime curve is a well-known and consistent correlate of crime often is taught as one of the major facts of crime in criminology courses. Yet the implications of the age–crime relationship for research methods, criminological theory, and practice remain a subject of debate. Largely prompted by Hirschi and Gottfredson’s (1983) strong assertions about the age–crime curve, scholars have continued to argue about its implications. Although Hirschi and Gottfredson argued that explanations accounting for the age–crime pattern are unnecessary, other scholars find various components of the criminal career to be relevant and fruitful avenues for research. Research in this tradition has increasingly turned to longitudinal designs, and theories specifically built around explaining the age–crime curve have become popular in recent years. The practical and policy implications of the curve have proved to be more difficult. The relationship between age and crime is complex, and researchers will likely continue to explore the various issues raised in this research paper.
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