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Journal Article

Cyber-Offending and Traditional Offending over the Life-Course: an Empirical Comparison

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Weulen Kranenbarg, M., Ruiter, S., Van Gelder, J.-L., & Bernasco, W. (2018). Cyber-Offending and Traditional Offending over the Life-Course: an Empirical Comparison. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 4(3), 343-364. doi:10.1007/s40865-018-0087-8.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-4A07-1
Purpose: This paper argues that cyber-dependent offending differs in important ways from other types of offending, which poses challenges to established life-course criminological explanations. Moreover, this study examines to what extent life circumstances in both private and professional life are differentially related to cyber-offending and traditional offending.

Methods: This study analyzes longitudinal registration data of all adults who have been at least once suspected of a cybercrime (N = 870) and/or a traditional crime (N = 1,144,740) in the Netherlands during the period of 2000–2012. Using fixed effects panel models, within-person effects of household composition, employment, and enrollment in education on the likelihood of cyber-offending are compared with those for traditional offending.

Results: Similar results are found with respect to individual’s private lives. An individual is less likely to commit cybercrime as well as traditional crime in years in which that individual shares a household with a partner, whether with or without children, than in other years. For the professional life, several important differences are found. Employment and enrollment in education are not statistically significantly related to cyber-offending, whereas they reduce the likelihood of traditional offending. In fact, for these professional life circumstances, opposite effects are found in this population.

Conclusions: This first study to empirically compare cyber-offending and traditional offending over the life-course finds important similarities and differences. The results hint at the importance of possible cybercriminal opportunities provided by otherwise preventive professional life circumstances.