Children of crime suspects more often heard by the police

08/07/2008 15:00

Young adults whose parents had been crime suspects were more often heard by the police than their peers. More young adults whose mothers had been crime suspects were heard by the police than young adults with fathers who had been crime suspects.

Children tend to copy parents´ criminal behaviour

If parents with young children are heard by the police, the risk for their children to show criminal behaviour will increase. In 2005, one in eight people aged between 18 and 22 were crime suspects in the period since 1996. For children whose parents were crime suspects in the past, the risk of showing criminal behaviour is one quarter higher.

Young adult crime suspects, 2005

Young adult crime suspects, 2005

Relation with mother stronger than with father

Mothers with a criminal record affect their children’s behaviour more than fathers with a criminal record do: 32 percent of children of mothers who were suspected of crimes in the past will be suspected of crimes themselves later in life, as against 24 percent of children of fathers with a criminal record. If both parents have a criminal past, the risk for children to follow in their parents´ footsteps is over 40 percent.

Young adult crime suspects by criminal behaviour parents, 2005

Young adult crime suspects by criminal behaviour parents, 2005

Risk highest for children of frequent offenders

Children of frequent offenders run a higher risk of being heard by the police. Over 18 percent young adults, whose fathers were questioned by the police only once, were suspected of criminal behaviour later in life. With 59 percent, children whose mothers are frequent offenders run the highest risk.

Parents of young adults and young adult crime suspects, 2005

Parents of young adults and young adult crime suspects, 2005

Fathers and sons more often heard by the police

Fathers and sons are more often suspected of criminal activities than mothers and daughters. In nearly 6  percent of cases, only the fathers of young adults were crime suspects, in 1.6 percent of cases only the mothers. The percentages apply to both sons and daughters. Sons are heard by the police nearly four times as often as daughters. Nearly 1 percent of young adults had parents who had both been in contact with the police.

Gregory Besjes and Ruben van Gaalen