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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2014 Apr;49(4):559-71. doi: 10.1007/s00127-013-0783-y. Epub 2013 Oct 31.

The 1% of the population accountable for 63% of all violent crime convictions.

Author information

1
CELAM (Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Wallinsgatan 8 Plan 5, 431 41, Mölndal, Sweden, orjan.falk@neuro.gu.se.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Population-based studies on violent crime and background factors may provide an understanding of the relationships between susceptibility factors and crime. We aimed to determine the distribution of violent crime convictions in the Swedish population 1973-2004 and to identify criminal, academic, parental, and psychiatric risk factors for persistence in violent crime.

METHOD:

The nationwide multi-generation register was used with many other linked nationwide registers to select participants. All individuals born in 1958-1980 (2,393,765 individuals) were included. Persistent violent offenders (those with a lifetime history of three or more violent crime convictions) were compared with individuals having one or two such convictions, and to matched non-offenders. Independent variables were gender, age of first conviction for a violent crime, nonviolent crime convictions, and diagnoses for major mental disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders.

RESULTS:

A total of 93,642 individuals (3.9%) had at least one violent conviction. The distribution of convictions was highly skewed; 24,342 persistent violent offenders (1.0% of the total population) accounted for 63.2% of all convictions. Persistence in violence was associated with male sex (OR 2.5), personality disorder (OR 2.3), violent crime conviction before age 19 (OR 2.0), drug-related offenses (OR 1.9), nonviolent criminality (OR 1.9), substance use disorder (OR 1.9), and major mental disorder (OR 1.3).

CONCLUSIONS:

The majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by a small number of persistent violent offenders, typically males, characterized by early onset of violent criminality, substance abuse, personality disorders, and nonviolent criminality.

PMID:
24173408
PMCID:
PMC3969807
DOI:
10.1007/s00127-013-0783-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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