|Degas, A Crime Family?, 1860|
Research has revealed that crime tends to concentrate in families and that it also tends to be transmitted across generational lines. The current study expanded on this line of research by examining the familial concentration and transmission of crime in a sample of sibling pairs. Analysis of data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) revealed that 5% of all families accounted for more than 50% of all criminal arrests. Additional analyses revealed between-sibling similarity and intergenerational transmission in being arrested, being sentenced to probation, being incarcerated, and being arrested multiple times. Structural equation models (SEMs) were also estimated to examine the mechanisms that might account for the familial concentration and transmission of crime. These SEMs provided evidence indicating that the concentration and transmission of crime was due, in part, to genetic factors as well as mating patterns.
Let's not challenge the most compelling stat, that 5% of all families account for more than 50% of all criminal arrests. If it's true, what does it mean? The article implies that there may be genetic factors, mating factors and I would add perhaps a culture of crime within families factor. But the culture of crime is not the family planning their criminal acts like JFK's folks helping him take the presidency.
No, there's something sadly sinister here as well. Police work is much easier when law enforcement officers simply tag entire groups of families, friends, churches and schools as potential criminals. Find the criminal, find the affiliations, then fill the jails.
It's clear that in Largo Florida police angered parents by over-branded 500 youths as gang members. And each of them was watched and even harassed. I often gets calls from people who say that officers are constantly stopping their vehicles, sending unreliable drug sniffing dogs looking for anything to arrest them without search warrants establishing any reason to believe there's misconduct. A Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer sees entire families wrecked with every generation facing imprisonment, the fabric of justice that keeps most of us safe being the noose that chokes others.