It’s no surprise that as humans, we love to talk about, mull over, and dissect crime. Understandably, it can be inferred that studying criminals and crime lends itself as a poignant source for understanding human psychology. Many have come to believe that in some small way, the relatability in terrible circumstances can breed understanding and compassion amongst our fellow humans. This concept has become so widely recognized, that we have collectively created a burgeoning entertainment industry built solely on the pillars of crime, politics, and profiling criminals. From Narcos, to Hawaii 5-O, Orange is the New Black, Cops to CSI, and everything in between, it is clear that crime can be very culturally powerful. So, what do we find so intriguing in all of this? Perhaps it’s witnessing the extremes of the human condition, maybe it’s learning about real statistics, or identifying with the characters themselves. Exploring the drama that is perhaps devoid in our seemingly ordinary lives. Though this article is not necessarily about popularized crime TV shows, it is about exploring crime and why and how criminals carry out the offenses and transgressions they do. Below are a handful of fascinating crime statistics and facts to absorb.
The Undeniable Facts About Age
We like to think that maturity, or lack thereof, is something that needn’t be married to age. That a young person can exhibit exceptional maturity, and contrastingly, a person with many years can still act as a child. However, there is one constant when examining crime, and that constant is a direct correlation linking specific crimes with a certain age group. Age statistics are concerningly accurate, and these numbers are largely to do with the fact that a young person’s brain is not fully developed until roughly 25 years old. A quote by Dana Goldstein reporting for The Marshall Project illustrates this concept well.
“Criminal careers are short for a number of reasons. Neuroscience suggests that the parts of the brain that govern risk and reward are not fully developed until age 25, after which lawbreaking drops off. Young people are more likely to be poor than older people, and poorer people are more likely to commit crimes. (More affluent, middle-aged offenders who commit corporate crimes are a smaller group, about whom there is not much research.) Single and childless people break the law more often than married people or parents. Some crimes are simply too physically taxing for an older person to commit.”
She continues to explain these statistics further, right down to exact types of crime and their largest contributing age groups.
“Homicide and drug-arrest rates peak at age 19, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, while arrest rates for forcible rape peak at 18. Some crimes, such as vandalism, crest even earlier, at age 16, while arrest rates for forgery, fraud and embezzlement peak in the early 20s. For most of the crimes the F.B.I. tracks, more than half of all offenders will be arrested by the time they are 30.”
-Dana Goldstein, The Marshall Project
While these stats may be unsavory to digest, they make sense. A person is only capable of breaking a law under very specific circumstances, and when existing outside of those circumstances of parameters, the need for such criminal acts is significantly reduced, if necessary at all.
What’s The Time?
Similar to age, certain crimes carry a consistent threat, one related to time of day. This is another (un)surprising finding, that people tend to commit certain crimes based on the circumstance of time. Various factors being available natural light, concealed darkness, after school hours, workday hours, nighttime hostility (hours of the day people tend to drink more, etc). Here is a stat from
“Nearly one-fifth (18%) of juvenile violent crimes occur in the 4 hours between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on school days. A smaller proportion of juvenile violent crime (13%) occurs during the standard juvenile curfew hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (inclusive of both school and nonschool days).” -National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
Without question, there are major gender discrepancies in crime nationally, as well as on a global scale. Because we’re mostly examining U.S. crime, we’ll focus on American statistics for relevancy purposes. Men are much more likely to commit crimes, as well as be the recipient of a crime. This finding is largely due to inherent human gender roles, levels of testosterone, power dynamics, and gang involvement. Women tend to be much less violent, angered, and a female brain is found to develop slightly faster than a male’s (in late teens, early 20’s as opposed to mid-’20s with males). The relative ability to reason and make judgments varies greatly by age during this high-risk time in a young person’s life.
“In 2018, there were 10,306 murder offenders in the United States who were male, which is more than seven times the number of female murder offenders in the same year. However, there are many murder offenders where their gender is unknown.” –Statista Research Department, Oct 10, 2019