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Determining What Makes A Career Criminal The career criminal or more pointedly those individuals who participate in criminal acts on a regular basis for both a central and constant source of income has generally a specific set of identifying factors which while conclusive in laymens terms fail to meet the criteria necessary for scientific inquiry While definitions exist as to what a career criminal is the research methods employed in determining these definitions are a large point of contention for criminal justice theorists especially due to their potential and virtually imminent inclusion to modern hypothesis on the subject These research methods include longitudinal data collection and compilation cross-sectional data collection and compilation and as at least one group of theorists argue the most efficient method informative interviewing The longitudinal research method employs a data collection technique which focuses on the duration of a particular act--in this case the so-called criminal career--based not upon specific incidents but the length of time measured between such acts Blumstein Cohen and Farrington 1988 That is an individuals propensity for criminal conduct in a so-called career mode would be measured first by the original act as an origin then with the succeeding acts until a final point became evident Therefore such a research method would logically conclude that an individual who performed or participated in criminal conduct on two occasions several years apart would be considered a career criminal It is for this reason that criminal justice theorists differ as to the applicability and relevance of the longitudinal research method Blumstein Cohen and Farrington 1988 Since the longitudinal research method could construe two independent--or even two interdependant--criminal acts as the foundational make-up of a career criminal theorists may hypothesize incorrectly as to the actuality of an individual having a career based in criminal behavior Because it is widely believed by opponents of the longitudinal research method that the mere occurrence of two criminal acts spaced out over an individuals
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