Criminological research Essay
Longitudinal Approach to Chicago Crime Research The Project on Human Development in Chicago Research conducted a research regarding the historical origins of crime using the statistical longitudinal approach — eight-year-follow-up from 1993 to 2001 on 11,000 individuals with equal male to female ratio in nine different age groups selected at random from 70 different communities— and the developmental crime analysis using multi-field approaches from various related studies in criminology, sociology, psychology and biology.
The Project is based at Harvard School of Public Health and is jointly sponsored by National Institute of Justice and MacArthur Foundation. The project attempted to explain the psychological and criminological determinants of the city in response to the mounting crime rates from the years 1960’s to current. In lieu with this, the project also aimed to find ‘solutions’ through the aforementioned multi-disciplinary analysis combined with therapeutic intervention analysis.
Understanding criminal behavior entails identification of the source (from birth to adulthood), the developmental origin and environmental influences. Main areas for the study include individual differences, influences from family, school, peer and community, criminal careers, predictions of dangerousness. Data collection is by multistream STORI approach—self-reports tests and examinations, observational procedures (surveys and interviews), existing records, and informant reports. Community, as a determinant, is analyzed through systemic social observation.
Changes in family structure is measured at several factors including the individual and/or mixed effect of household environment, care providers, key figures , presence of extended family, quality of upbringing, and the relationships within. The impact of racism on construction of identity of the samples was also considered. Gender-specific roles was also investigated–— why males tend to be more violent and the females more into sexual and property offenses ¬— their differential response to developmental determinants, individuality, and social behavior with focus between adolescence-adulthood period.
Antisocial behavior as exhibited by criminal behavior is evaluated at traumatic stress (and PTSD), abuse and child development; the coping mechanism and resilience and cycle of violence hypotheses is evaluated in line with this. Aside from exploring the history and patterns of anti-socialism, the project maimed at creating intervention programs at the following age group to prevent recidivism: 0-6 (improved social skills and cognitive stimulation); and young adolescents (modeling, peer leader and educ films); young adults (probation and diversion programs).
Testing persistence-desistence hypothesis by using various theories [ (bio-psych development, social learning and control, social organization, network, rational choice and deterrence theory)] with focus on peer relations will also be included in the Project. The Project also aimed at creating a pragmatic, large-scale approach for crime prevention by testing their hypothesis on differential social organization, individual differences, peer groups and social networks.
The Project’s scheme is rather ambitious considering that it requires an 8 year statistical analysis, only 200 field experts and one co-sponsor (aside from the federal). While it is true that ‘meta-analysis’ can be applicable for such types of study, there are problems in statistical method sampling especially if the test samples ‘migrated’ or ‘died’ before the end of the project. Would the Project resort to attrition analysis?
The investigation may also be weak because it relies on questionnaires and interviews, and most criminals, in reality, rarely talk about their life. Technology should also be assessed for the study. Additionally, the methods used, although very extensive, may be very tiring to the staff. Although the objectives of the study are great, the methods require extensive staffing and careful management and (detached) association with the samples in the study.
Reference Earls, F. J. and Reiss, A. J. (1994). Breaking the Cycle. NIJ Research Report. 91 pp.