SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Background

The main aim of this research was to compare the official criminal careers of two samples of males living in the same small area of South London but born seven years apart.

Method

The research compared 377 Cambridge study males born in 1952–54 with 310 Inner London study males born in 1959–60. The Inner London males were affected by the introduction of police cautioning in London in 1969–70.

Results

The two samples had an identical cumulative prevalence of convictions (37%), but the Inner London sample had an additional 4% of boys cautioned. The two samples had an identical rate of recorded offences. Males in the Inner London sample had an earlier age of onset, a shorter criminal career, and less continuity in offending. However, chronic offenders in the Inner London sample had longer criminal careers.

Conclusions

Cautioning may have led to more official recording of occasional offenders and to the worsening of the criminal careers of chronic offenders, but it may also have benefited less serious offenders. Copyright © 1999 Whurr Publishers Ltd.