Street Youth Predatory Crime: A Test of Control Balance Theory

Stephen W. Baron, Queen's University
David R. Forde, University of Memphis

Utilizing a sample of 400 homeless street youth the paper explores the role control balance plays in the generation of crime. In particular it examines the argument that the amount of control that one is subject relative to the amount of control one can exercise (the control ratio) affects the probability that one will engage in a deviant act. Using vignettes designed to represent the predatory acts of violent crime, serious property crime, and minor property crime the paper tests whether these youth's sense of control over their poverty, shelter, hunger and other living conditions, along with their perceptions of risk, thrill, moral beliefs, and peer support influences their participation in various types of predatory offenses.

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Updated 05/20/2006