Senior Citizen Crime -- Going Up or Going Down? An Analysis of 1970-2000 Trends

Jennifer Schwartz, The Pennsylvania State University
Darrell Steffensmeier, The Pennsylvania State University

Using arrest statistics from the Uniform Crime Reports for the years 1970-2000, this paper evaluates whether the level and seriousness of senior-citizen crime is escalating, as some commentators have suggested. Our analysis addresses (1) whether the rate of increase in elderly crime is greater than the increase in the elderly population, (2) whether the rate of increase among the elderly is greater than for other age groups, and (3) whether the profile of the elderly offender has changed to reflect more serious involvement in crime. We also examine gender differences in elderly crime trends.

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Updated 05/20/2006