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

Marleen Weulen Kranenbarg*, Stijn Ruiter, Jean Louis van Gelder, Wim Bernasco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-364
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Cybercrime
  • Fixed effects panel models
  • Life-course
  • Longitudinal comparison
  • Traditional crime
  • Cyber-dependent crime


Dive into the research topics of 'Cyber-Offending and Traditional Offending over the Life-Course: an Empirical Comparison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this