Millennials commit less crime than previous generations, UT research suggests

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Millennials may commit less crime than previous generations, according to new research from the University of Texas at Austin.

UT says according to the research, crime rates dropped among millennials born after 1985, whereas baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) were the generation most criminally active in modern times.

Researchers said crime is, in part, based off the life experiences people have as youths. Birth cohort, age, social and economic factors also play a role.

UT says most crimes are committed by people ages 15 to 25, with criminal activity decreasing or stopping between the ages of 25 and 40. This is called the age effect.

“Since criminal activity starts in the teens and peaks at about 18, this means improved conditions in childhood – families, neighborhoods, schools – were mostly responsible for the crime drop,” said Professor of Public Affairs Bill Spelman in a press release. He is the author of the report.

UT says crime has dropped since 1990, but not because of initiatives aimed at reducing crime. Researchers found crime reduction efforts made up less than half of the crime drop since 1990, and pretty much none of the crime drop since 2000.

Most crime reduction initiatives focus on active offenders and current criminal activity, but Spelman suggests the best way to decrease crime moving forward is to further help families, neighborhoods and schools.

“It’s time we shifted focus from stopping bad guys to helping kids be good guys,” Spelman said in the release.

The study was published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. Learn more about the research online here.

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