James Q. Wilson is the preeminent thinker on crime and public policy (his Book Thinking About Crime is a criminal justice standard) and this book, Crime & Human Nature written with Richard J. Herrnstein, from almost 25 years ago is an example of how solid thinking stands up for a long time.
The opening paragraph is significant because it went against most of the prevailing criminal justice thought at the time, but it is still largely true.
“Predatory street crimes are most commonly committed by young males. Violent crimes are more common in big cities than in small ones. High rates of criminality tend to run in families. The persons who frequently commit the most serious crimes typically begin their criminal careers at a quite young age. Persons who turn out to be criminals usually do not do very well in school. Young men who drive recklessly and have many accidents tend to be similar to those who commit crimes. Programs designed to rehabilitate high-rate offenders have not been shown to have much success, and those programs that do manage to reduce criminality among certain kinds of offenders often increase it among others.” (1985, New York; Simon & Schuster, p. 19)