Homicide and Violent Offenders Identified in the Court and Their Delinquency Trajectories in Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Rolf Loeber, University of Pittsburgh
Eric Lacourse, Universite de Montreal
Doni Lynn Homish, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

rajectory analyses based on self-reports or on multiple-informant reports are inheritently limited by the fact that they do not deal well with low base-rate events, such as homicide. Also, it remains to be seen to what extent homicide offenders and index violent offenders, as identified from court records, map on trajectories of delinquency based on information from multiple informants. The present paper presents the results of trajectory analyses on the oldest sample of the Pittsburgh Youth Study (N = 506). Trajectories were based on information from the youth, parent, and teacher. Severity scaling of serious delinquency and violence formed the basis for these analyses. The results show that homicide offenders were positioned mostly on the most deviant trajectories of serious offending. This also applied to violent index offenders. However, the homicide and index violent offenders were more spread over the serious and less serious violent trajectories. The findings are discussed in terms of future trajectory analyses, characteristics of individuals' development toward homicide and violence, and the timing of preventive interventions.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006