Document details for 'Modelling Escalation in Crime Seriousness: a Latent Variable Approach'

Authors Francis, B. and Liu, J.
Publication details Metron 73(2), 277-297. Springer Milan.
Publisher details Springer Milan
Keywords Escalation, aggravation, longitudinal data analysis,latent variable methods, heterogeneity, group-based trajectory modelling, growth mixture modelling, criminal careers, comparative study
Abstract This paper investigates the use of latent variable models in assessing escalation in crime seriousness. It has two aims. The first is to contrast a mixed-effects approach to modelling crime escalation with a latent variable approach. The paper therefore examines whether there are specific subgroups of offenders with distinct seriousness trajectory shapes. The second is methodological - to compare mixed-effects modelling used in previous work on escalation with group-based trajectory modelling and growth mixture modelling (mixture of mixed-effects models). The vailability of software is an issue, and comparisons of fit across software packages is not straightforward. We suggest that mixture models are necessary in modelling crime seriousness, that growth mixture models rather than groupbased trajectory models provide the best fit to the data, and that R gives the best software environment for comparing models. Substantively, we identify three latent groups, with the largest group showing crime seriousness increases with criminal justice experience (measured through number of conviction occasions) and decreases with increasing age. The other two groups show more dramatic non-linear effects with age, and non-significant effects of criminal justice experience. Policy considerations of these results are briefly discussed.
Last updated 2016-03-03
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