Crimes Older Adults Commit
Despite their very low profile among those who commit crimes, older adults have proven themselves capable of committing the full spectrum of criminal offenses, from misdemeanors to heinous violent acts. Fortunately, the relative frequency of offenses committed by older adults follows essentially the same pattern as that of younger offenders: the less serious crimes occur far more frequently. Period effects, at least those in the 1990s, also seem to apply equally across generations—the fairly dramatic downturn in serious crime in the U.S. between 1995 and 1999 occurred among those sixty-five and older just as it did among those age eighteen to twenty-nine.
Specifically, then, what types of crime are older adults most likely to engage in? National Uniform Crime Report data covering 1998 indicate that the ten offense categories for which older adults are most likely to be arrested, in descending order of frequency, are: DWI/DUI; larceny/theft; drunkenness; assault; aggravated assault; disorderly conduct; white-collar crime; drug offenses; liquor violations; and sex offenses.
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