This paper aims at identifying different causes, which contribute to gender differences in crimes. Primary focus is made on discovering actual facts regarding the subject under consideration. However, specific attention is paid to observations and perceptions of gender differences as a background for research. Therefore, this study is based on several theories such as gendered, anomie, conflict, control, labeling, and differential association theories. Moreover, statistical data retrieved from the latest available FBI reports is reviewed in order to find out whether the abovementioned reflections are related to the real world, i.e. identifying the male-female ratio among those involved in criminal activities. In addition, the emphasis is put on misjudging criminal activities based on gender of a suspect and drawing recommendations for avoiding such misjudgments.
As the result of conducting this research, it is concluded that men are more frequently involved in criminal activities compared to women. More than that, there are significant differences between genders and crimes they are most commonly engaged in, as men commit most major crimes, while women are actively involved in poverty-related criminal activities. In addition, physical strengths and aggression, as well as the lack of social control over activities of young men, are factors, which identify gender gaps. Together with the overall perception of women as synonyms with beauty and safety, these factors contribute to the establishment of a biased criminal justice system, which is featured by misjudging men. From this perspective, recognizing that gender differences do exist and promoting equality when it comes to solving cases are the most relevant recommendation for enhancing the effectiveness of the criminal proceedings system and eliminating bias.
Gender is one of the major factors, which has a robust impact on determining socially appropriate behavioral patterns and developing acceptable social standards. It can be traced in all aspects of human interactions. In this way, criminal activities are no exception. It is often believed that males are more predisposed to becoming engaged in criminal activities compared to females. Therefore, the paper at hand aims at identifying patterns of criminal activities among men and women with the focus on both perceptions of the role of gender in criminal involvement, which leads to gender-based misjudgments, and actual facts related to underlying causes of gender differences in criminal activities. The central objective of this study is to find out whether a common biased assumption that men are more frequently involved in criminal activities than women is based on real-life grounds or it is a misjudgment, which should be forgotten because of lacking statistically significant support.
The paper at hand consists of several chapters. The first one is introductory, which sets the scene of the research. It includes a thesis and research questions as well. The second chapter is a literature review, which serves as a background for the whole study and explains the sources of the problem. In the third section, relevant theories are addressed in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the issue analysis. The fourth chapter reviews research methodology and study design to make the research process clear. In sections five and six, findings are indicated and their analysis is provided. Finally, there is a concluding chapter, which provides the research summary and its implications on the sphere under investigation as well as limitations.
Regardless of the growing concerns around the issue of discrimination, gender is one of the most significant factors leading to bias in judging criminal activities, as individuals are often misjudged due to their gender. This challenge is significantly influenced by the social acceptability of gender-related stereotypes, thus severely aggravating the problem of criminal justice.
In order to achieve the major research objectives, i.e. identify gender patterns in criminal activities and make an attempt to explain them, it is essential to address several research questions such as:
- What is the distribution of criminal activities among males and females?
- What contributes to gender patterns of criminal activities?
- What assumptions can explain gender differences in crime involvement?
In order to select sources for the literature review, a thorough online search was conducted. Google search engine was chosen as a primary instrument for locating appropriate sources of information. There were several search requests such as women and criminal activities, men in criminal activities, gender predisposition to criminal activities, gender bias in criminal justice, male and female offenders, gender specificities of criminal activities, male offenders, female criminals, girls and boys in crimes, gender distribution of criminals, etc. No limitations regarding the publication of the source were imposed. In this way, both scholarly and non-scholarly studies were analyzed. Moreover, the focus was made on locating statistical sources and surveys in order to help draw accurate conclusions. At the same time, papers were chosen without regard to the country of publication in order to guarantee comprehensiveness of literature review and analysis of different perceptions of gender patterns in criminal activities. Nevertheless, it was decided to refer only to papers and articles published or posted since 2006 so that all findings are relevant and up-to-date and risks of drawing inaccurate conclusions are diminished.
Background of Gender Differences in Crime Activities
The problem of gender-based bias in viewing criminal activities has a strong social and psychological ground. It is connected to the belief that males are more predisposed to committing crimes compared to females. This assumption is true for all cultures and crime categories. In fact, it has become a socially acceptable stereotype and its nature is universal (Youth Justice Board, 2014). According to Annison, Brayford, and Deering (2015), such a perception of gender specificities of crime rates affects not only social affairs but also the sphere of justice and crime prevention, as more attention is paid to male-focused strategies for decreasing crime rates. However, it is critical to point to the fact that women became involved in traditionally manly activities (Youth Justice Board, 2014). That is why supporting gender bias in judging criminal activities is irrelevant in the modern world.
Still, it is critical to understand the causes of such phenomenon as gender difference in crime activities. Some of the factors, which contribute to its existence, include biological attributes and social norms. They contribute to making a society and legal system biased. That is why they will be reviewed in details in the following subsections. Except for physical and sociocultural factors, there are as well other grounds for determining gender-based predisposition to committing crimes. They are known as opportunities for becoming involved in criminal activities and motivation for crimes. In case of crime opportunities, it is vital to recall gender segregation. Here, it is critical to point to common positions occupied by men and women and the influence they have on determining opportunities for involving in criminal activities. That said, because of excessive discrimination in selection and recruitment and constant control over their performance, women have fewer opportunities for committing crimes (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014).
Crime opportunities are closely connected to motivation for becoming involved in criminal activities. In this case, it is essential to note that motivation differs because of the social burden imposed on men and women. For instance, risk-taking varies due to the fact that men find taking risks acceptable if it promises status improvement or financial gains. IN the other hand, women will commonly accept risk if it is critical for protecting their family members or relationships. Nevertheless, both men and women are unlikely to commit a crime in case of high possibility of shame and ruining their reputation (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). Altogether, it means that gender differences in criminal activities derive from social stereotypes.
The Challenge of Gender-Biased Judgment
The problem with the perception of gender and its relation to becoming involved in crime activities is that it often leads to misjudgment. In other words, in some cases, innocent males are found guilty even if they were not engaged in a particular crime activity due to their gender. On the other hand, some females get away with crimes because it is socially unacceptable to view women as criminals, especially capable of committing grievous and major crimes (Batchelor, Buran, & Brown, 2011). This challenge is closely related to failing to understand differences between gender, which serve as risk factors for becoming involved in criminal activities and can be valuable for developing appropriate crime prevention strategies (Cools, 2010).
Still, it is essential to understand that there are several significant determinants, which constitute to the existence of gender differences in criminal activities. First and foremost, organizations of gender are varying. From this perspective, gender is a set of socially acceptable norms, which predetermine the perception of men and women. At the same time, these standards have a direct influence on the moral development and social control of males and females, which later influences the way both are seen by society as a whole and legal system. That said, based on physical attributes such as weakness and beauty, women are believed to lack the skills and opportunities for committing crimes. For the same reason, it is assumed that the require protection. More than that, it is assumed that women are morally incapable of becoming involved in criminal activities because they are biologically programmed for taking care of others, i.e. they cannot do harm to people (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014).
Furthermore, social norms are supplemented with social control. It is socially acceptable to restrain girls and grant freedom to boys. Because of it, women are commonly limited in ties with the outer world and witnessing criminal activities, which minimizes the risks of becoming a criminal in adulthood. This biased assumption has a direct influence on shaping the perception of men and women, as it is further believed that females cannot be criminals due to excess social control. Finally, it is generally perceived that females lack aggression and biological potential for committing crimes, especially major ones. That is why they are often viewed as innocent, while men with vast biological potential are assumed to be violent and aggressive (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). Social determinants mentioned above make the criminal proceedings system biased and contribute to common gender-based misjudgment.
Gender Differences and Crime Involvement
Gender has a robust impact on engagement in criminal activities, as it is one of the major factors, which influences worldview and, as a result, contributes to the perception of social norms, the process of socialization, social control, opportunities for committing crimes, and seeking justice (Cullen & Wilkox, 2011). That us why it is critical to recognize that there are both similarities and differences between men and women when it comes to understanding causes of crime involvement. First and foremost, it is essential to note that males and females are similar due to the fact that, in most cases, involvement in criminal activities is closely connected to the process of socialization and a criminal’s background such as socioeconomic status, contacts with criminal system and gangs, homelessness, and various addictions such as drugs and alcohol (Hanks, 2007; Heimer, 2015). In this way, early childhood is the most critical period in life, which determines predisposition to criminal activities. That said, if children and young people become aware of the ineffectiveness of criminal proceedings system and are common witnesses of crimes, the risks of becoming a criminal in adolescence and adulthood are extremely high.
Nevertheless, there are some significant differences. For instance, females are commonly engaged in criminal activities because of their past experience related to abuse and victimization (Arnull & Eagle, 2009). It means that in case if a woman was a victim of assault or witnessed similar incidents, there are high risks of becoming a criminal. It is especially true and critical in case of small girls and adolescents, as an early experience of violence determines predisposition to cruelty and acceptability of crimes once they grow up (Heimer, 2015). However, it as well should be highlighted that sexual assault or harassment in adulthood is also a ground for committing crimes.
As for males, they are commonly unprotected from witnessing the criminal justice system imperfections and illegal activities. In other words, there is always a higher risk of contacts with criminals and gangs, which affects the process of socialization and makes crime activities appropriate in the eyes of boys and young men (Heimer, 2015). The challenge is aggravated if adolescents live in distant regions or those featured by the commonality of criminal activities. The same is true if they witness operation of gangs or individual criminals, which get away with crimes. Moreover, physical strength and aggression are other factors, which make men more predisposed to leading criminal lives (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014).
This research will be conducted on the ground of several theories, which focus on explaining the causes of offending patterns from the gender-based perspective and within a broader social context. Therefore, gendered, anomie, conflict, control, labeling, and differential association theories will be addressed. All approaches except for the gendered theory are referred to as traditional ones. They focus on the primary causes of criminal activities. In most cases, there are no direct references to gender. However, regardless of oblique points related to gender, they are still applicable to assessing crime patterns because of the availability of a wider context. All of the selected theories will be grouped based on the approach to determining the role of gender in predisposition to committing crimes.
Gendered theory of crime focuses on explaining gender-related causes of involvement in crime activities and differences between men and women. This approach is based on the finding that historically there were fewer instances of crimes committed by women compared to those perpetrated by men. Regardless of the changing ratio, this bias has turned into a universal truth. Therefore, according to this theory, the primary cause of gender bias and gender-based engagement in criminal activities is the existence of inequality in society (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). From this perspective, males and females are unequal not only in protection from becoming involved in criminal activities but also in reporting crimes (Cools, 2010). In this way, girls are often overprotected in childhood so that witnessing imperfections of the criminal proceedings system is minimal.
On the other hand, boys are given more freedom, which is often explained by the necessity of granting independence to them, thus increasing risks of getting involved in gang activities and crimes. More than that, this assumption is closely related to the universal belief that men are more frequently engaged in criminal activities and need less protection and attention from the system of criminal justice. On the other hand, women are viewed as weak and constantly requiring protection. Moreover, this theory addresses economic vulnerability of females, which adds to shaping patterns of female offending (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014).
In this way, a gendered approach to understanding motivation for becoming involved in criminal activities explains gender differences in crime involvement by the accessibility of criminal opportunities and organization of gender. From this perspective, men are often biased due to the fact that women are synonymous with beauty and innocence, which is not related to criminal activities. At the same time, due to overprotection and physical weakness, they have fewer opportunities for committing crimes.
Anomie and Conflict Theories
These approaches center on investigating major causes of becoming involved in criminal activities. According to these theories, it is an individual’s background that stimulates crimes. It means that those who live in poverty and witness crimes make up the risk groups and are more predisposed to becoming engaged in criminal patterns (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). In this case, a primary emphasis is made on socially acceptable variations of success, i.e. wealth and financial status. So, poor and disadvantaged are more likely to become criminals in order to comply with the appropriate image of success even if it is connected to illegal activities. This approach is a universal one and does not pay specific attention to gender differences in crime patterns. Nevertheless, it is still applicable to investigating gender-based involvement in crimes because it is generally acceptable that men’s success and financial independence more likely to be questioned. In this way, if women are less interested in material values than men, the corresponding male-female crime rates are lower and gender crime gap is wider.
Social Process Approaches
Social process approaches include such theories as labeling theory and differential association theory. From this perspective, people tend to act in a way their social group sees them. It means that if the criminal justice system poses labels, there is a higher risk of becoming a criminal. It is connected to the creation of opportunities for developing crime-related skills and tying such social bonds (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). The same is true in case if society in general poses labels on particular individuals. In similar cases, these individuals are commonly excluded from normal social activities. They are deprived of equal opportunities for finding work and reaching a socially acceptable level of financial success. In this way, some people are forced to become involved in criminal activities and act in compliance with labels imposed on them.
These theories view gender differences in crime patterns as opportunities for gaining skills necessary for committing crimes. From this perspective, imposed labels are inseparable from social control. In this case, men are more frequently labeled than women. It means that men have more opportunities for developing crime-related skills. On the other hand, women are not labeled. However, they are more strictly controlled by society. So, the gender gap in crime activities is wider, as there are fewer negative stereotypes related to women so that they have limited space for criminal activities.
This approach is related to the background of an individual. It assumes that environment and socialization process shape perception of worldview. From this perspective, in case of coming from a dysfunctional or disproportional family, having inadequate access to knowledge and material values, there is a higher risk of becoming involved in offending patterns (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). All of these determinants are closely connected to the process of socialization and social bonds. From the perspective of the control theory, poorer social bonds are synonymous with higher risks of becoming engaged in criminal activities. In view of this assumption, it is vital to note that women are brought up with the focus on developing strong social bonds and becoming actively involved in socialization processes. On the other hand, men are educated to be independent. So, it results in a wide gender gap in criminal patterns due to the fact that female socialization is greater and their social bond are tighter compared to those of males.
This research is a descriptive study. Because it aims at discovering trends in gender-related causes of offending patterns, the mentioned choice is a relevant one. There are several motivations for choosing this study design. First and foremost, it is the desire to explain the roots of the existing problem. That is why a thorough analysis of already published literature and statistical data is an appropriate strategy for drawing conclusions. Moreover, the descriptive nature of the research eliminates the need for developing hypotheses or making up research samples, which are a must for other study designs. It is beneficial for guaranteeing flawlessness of the research and avoiding challenges in drawing accurate conclusions.
Furthermore, gaining an in-depth understanding of the current state of the problem under investigation and determining primary trends instead of the perception of gender differences in offending patterns are the focus of the study. It means that due to the necessity of evaluating the change of the considered phenomenon, this study design is the best option, as qualitative or quantitative research designs will not be helpful for achieving the stated research objective and finding answers to developed research questions. Finally, the descriptive study design is an appropriate choice because all conclusions and recommendations will be made based on articulating actual facts related to gender differences in criminal activities instead of conducting a separate research involving respondents. It means that risks of bias and inaccuracy of collected data are minimal.
As it was mentioned above, this study is a descriptive research, which focuses on gender differences in offending patterns. There are two levels of the approach to conducting this research. The foundation of this study is a thorough literature review. It is critical for understanding motivation of getting involved in criminal activities and gender differences. This stage is the incorporation of findings from different scholarly and non-scholarly papers, as well as National Youth surveys, aimed at studying the problem under investigation. The second level of the methodology is a comprehensive analysis of statistical data. All conclusions will be made based on a comprehensive table, which will incorporate data retrieved from the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Uniform Crime Reports.
The rationale behind focusing on FBI data only is the fact that the study aims at estimating the scope of the problem within the national context, i.e. the United States is the country under investigation. For this reason, there is no need to analyze criminal data retrieved from governmental agencies of other countries. Moreover, only overall trends will be studied, i.e. no emphasis will be put on the situation across states. Finally, both the latest available data and some historical figures will be included in order to analyze the change of gender distribution in crime rates. As for recommendations, some historical case studies will as well be taken into consideration in order to guarantee their comprehensiveness and accuracy (Erooga, 2012).
This research consists of several interrelated steps. Clearly determining them is critical in order to guarantee flawlessness of the study and diminishing risks of failing to answer all research questions and achieve research objectives. First and foremost, existing data will be collected. The focus will be made on FBI Reports and National Youth Surveys. Nevertheless, sources selected for literature review will not be ignored due to the fact that they as well contain valuable information regarding existing trends in gender distribution in crime patterns. The second step is an in-depth analysis of obtained data with the aim of identifying national trends in offending patterns. This stage involves the creation of the comprehensive table, which will represent the statistical findings.
It will incorporate different groups of crimes, as well as arrests, and gender distribution with the aim of finding out a male-female ratio of crime activities. The third stage of the research is dedicated to drawing conclusions and offering recommendations for decreasing crime rates bearing in mind gender-related causes of becoming involved in criminal activities. This stage is inseparable from the findings retrieved from FBI reports as well as those gained from a thorough literature review. Except for these steps, it is essential to recognize that the study has several limitations in order to offer way to fill the existing gaps in the future research. However, regardless of them, it is of great social importance. Defining implications for the area under investigation and directions for the future research, as well as pointing to the most significant limitations, which might have affected the accuracy of conclusions, is the final stage of the research. More than that, it is critical to mention that specific attention will be paid to formatting and adequate representation of research findings, as it is as well one of the central steps necessary for completing this study.
The United States is a country, which is no exception to the universal rule of offending patterns between genders, as generally fewer females are involved in criminal activities or arrested. This statement is true for all categories of crimes except prostitution, which is traditionally a women-ruled industry. This trend is universal for all states of the country. It is essential to note that there is no correlation between race and gender. It means that regardless of racial and ethnic background, the rate of female criminals is lower compared to male (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). The same is true about the age distribution of criminals, as commonly more male adolescents under 18 are involved in criminal activities compared to girls of the same age.
Statistical data reveals several figures pertaining to gender-related offending patterns. First and foremost, among those arrested, there are more than 80 percent of males, while women constitute around 20 percent of people put under arrest (Suter, 2011). This ratio differs across groups of crimes. However, the average figure is 80 to 20 as mentioned above. At the same time, women make up smaller rates of known offenders compared to men. That said, there are around 20 percent of known offenders among women. Among them, serious offending patterns make up around 5 percent (Annison et al., 2015). Furthermore, there is a difference between various categories of crimes. That said, women are most commonly involved in poverty-related crimes – thefts, burglary, forgery, embezzlement, and fraud. This group of crimes is the largest one in case of women, as it makes around 20 to 50 percent of arrests (Heimer, 2015).
Speaking of male-dominant criminal activities, this group of crimes constitutes around 20 percent of all cases (Annison et al., 2015). Still, in case of poverty-related crimes, there is an interesting trend because only in the instance of embezzlement, the percentage of female criminals is higher compared to males. As for men, they are traditionally involved in crimes characterized by physical strength and aggression – homicides, assaults, etc. (Heimer, 2015). Still, they occupy the highest ranks in all groups of crime rates.
Moreover, it is essential to note that the quantity of crimes committed by women has constantly been increasing since the 1970s (Heimer, 2015). Nevertheless, the increase stopped at the beginning of the twenty-first century, as since 2006, all crime rates have been decreasing. As for now, only in case of rape and larceny-theft, there is a significant increase of criminals among women. Additional information regarding offending patterns between genders is provided in Table 1 below.
However, it is critical to note that fewer women are sentenced to custody compared to men – 3 and 10 percent, respectively (Annison et al., 2015). Moreover, in most cases, women receive a fine more frequently than men – 77 and 61 percent, respectively (Annison et al., 2015). Finally, female criminals are less commonly sentenced to social service compared to males – 10 and 15 percent, respectively (Annison et al., 2015). At the same time, the instances of violence against an arrested person are nearly the same among males and females – around 33 percent (Annison et al., 2015).
Table 1. Offending Patterns Between Genders in the United States: Arrest Trends.
|Males||Females||M, %||F, %|
|Offences||2006||2015||Change, %||2006||2015||Change, %||2015|
|Forgery and counterfeiting||41,028||22,493||-45,2||27,291||12,418||-54,5||64,7||35,3|
|Motor vehicle theft||59,234||36,177||-38,9||13,416||10,286||-23,3||78,8||21,2|
|Drinking and drugs|
|Driving under the influence||738,512||508,633||-31,1||187,306||167,327||-10,7||75,1||24,9|
|Sex and sex-related crimes|
|Sex offenses (excluding prostitution and rape)||47,168||29,862||-36,7||3,488||2,494||-28,5||92,3||7,7|
|Against family and children||60,217||41,552||-31,0||19,351||16,825||-13,1||71,3||28,7|
|Other offenses (excluding traffic)||1,902,249||1,477,329||-22,3||575,732||520,470||-9,6||73,9||26,1|
|Curfew and loitering law violations||40,653||12,963||-68,1||20,016||6,491||-67,6||71,8||28,2|
Note. This table is constructed based on FBI reports (Arrests by Sex, 2016; Ten-year arrest trends, 2016).
Based on the findings of the research, it is evident that the overall situation in the criminal proceedings system is constantly improving. Over a ten-year period, which was addressed in the study, there was a decrease in almost all groups of crimes. In case of male criminals, there was an insignificant increase in larceny-theft, which made up around 1 percent. As for the most astonishing changes, it is essential to point to curfew and loitering law violations (-68,1%), gambling (-46,2%), suspicion (-55,8%), disorderly conduct (-44,3%), arson (-47,0%), liquor laws (-58,1%), fraud (-46,6%), forgery and counterfeiting (-45,2%), and prostitution (-39,6%). As for other categories, the changes were as well significant and summed up to around 15 to 30 percent. Speaking of the most insignificant shifts in crime rates, they are witnessed in rape (-2,8%). It means that additional effort should be made to address this challenge (Ten-year arrest trends, 2016). Still, the overall trend is positive due to the fact that over a ten-year period, there was a 25,6 percent decrease in crimes committed by males (Ten-year arrest trends, 2016).
As for crime rates among female criminals, there was an outburst of criminal activities in rape (+117,5%). Moreover, there was an increase in larceny-theft (25,9%). In case of other categories of crimes, significant success was achieved, which is supported by decreases in crime rates. For instance, curfew and loitering law violations (-67,6%), forgery and counterfeiting (-54,5%), suspicion (-62,5%), liquor laws (-55.3%), and fraud (-59,5%) experienced the most positive shifts. As for other crime groups, the decrease rates were nearly the same and remained within the frame of 10 to 30 percent (Ten-year arrest trends, 2016). However, there were as well categories with the slightest decreases such as other assaults (-3,9%) robbery (-0,4%), and aggravated assault (-4,6%). Still, the general trend is positive because of the 11,8 percent decrease in crime rates among women (Ten-year arrest trends, 2016).
At the same time, it is essential to focus on the male-female ratio, as it is one of the central research objectives. As mentioned above, prostitution is the only women-dominated category of assaults because, in this case, around 64 percent of criminals are females. Moreover, in one crime croup, the distribution is almost equal. It is embezzlement – 49,8 percent of men and 50,2 percent of women. The same is true fro larceny-theft – 56,8 percent of men and 43,2 percent of women. In other crime categories, the rate of male criminals is significantly higher than that of females. For instance, in fraud and forgery and counterfeit, this figure is around 65 percent.
In case of aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, stolen property, vandalism, driving under the influence, drug abuse, disorder conduct, liquor laws, vagrancy, suspicion, and other assaults, it is between 70 and 80 percent (Arrests by Sex, 2016). Moreover, arson, public drunkenness, murder, burglary, and robbery are areas of concern featured by 80 to 88 percent of male dominance. Finally, rape, weapons, and sex offenses other that prostitution and rape are the most critical challenges due to the fact that around 90 to 95 percent of criminals are men (Arrests by Sex, 2016). This distribution might be of particular value for developing recommendations aimed at increasing effectiveness of the criminal justice system. This assumption is motivated by the fact that targeting needs of different groups of population and recognizing gender specificities in crime involvement might be more productive that implementing a universal crime prevention strategy.
Analysis of Research Findings
According to the abovementioned research findings, women are less involved in criminal activities compared to men. At the same time, they are more frequently engaged in poverty-related crimes, which do not require physical strength. From this perspective, the gendered theory of crimes can be applied, as it points to the economic vulnerability of women (Schwartz & Steffensmeier, 2014). It means that it is possible to make an assumption that in case of having enough resources for living, these crimes would have been easy to avoid. The same is true in case of prostitution. It is a traditionally female-dominant crime group. However, in most cases, young women are forced to become involved in criminal activities due to the lack of protection. So, from the perspective of gendered theory, providing adequate social protection and enhancing economic invulnerability of women might be helpful for coping with this challenge.
On the other hand, statistics demonstrate that female criminals either remain unknown or get away with fines. At the same time, they are sentenced to immediate custody in fewer cases compared to men (Heimer, 2015). These figures point to either imperfections of the criminal justice system or the significant robustness of gender bias in the American society, as it is believed that these are men, who are more likely to commit crimes, not women. These findings can be explained in view of social control and labeling theory. On one hand, men act according to the imposed label and are judged respectively. On the other hand, women are perceived as the synonym with beauty and care. That is why they get away with fines and social work. However, because this research focuses on facts instead of perceptions, it is possible to state that females are indeed less likely to choose offending patterns.
At the same time, it is essential to pay specific attention to the very figures of crimes and the way they change over time. As it was stated, women constitute less than 20 percent of those arrested (Suter, 2011). However, this figure has constantly been growing since the 1970s, which means that, statistically, the issue was continuously aggravating and overall rates are drastically notable compared to men (Heimer, 2015). Nevertheless, since 2006, the system has witnessed significant positive changes, as the overall crime rates among women decrease with the exclusion of larceny-theft and rape (Ten-year arrest trends, 2016). This change can be explained by the general positive shifts in the criminal proceedings system, as the drops in crime rates are significant.
Finally, it is critical to point to the total number of arrests and male-female ratio. As mentioned in the findings section, in most cases, crime groups are male-dominant. It means that most crimes are committed by men. However, at the same time, the overall number of men among criminals is higher. From this perspective, it is essential to pay specific attention to the overall number of committed crimes instead of the percent change. The rationale for making this statement is the fact that percentages often distort reality so that it is complicated to estimate the real change. For instance, in case of rapes, there was a drastic increase in crime rates among women – by almost 120 percent. However, taking a closer look at numbers reveals that in 2015, there were 409 instances of rapes committed by women compared to 188 in 2006. On the other hand, in case of rapes carried out by men, there was a decrease by 2,8 percent. Nevertheless, numerically, the figure remained nearly the same – around 13,000 instances of rapes perpetrated by males (Ten-year arrest trends, 2016).
Conclusions and Recommendations for Improving the System
In conclusion, it is essential to state that female offenders are a relatively small group of criminals compared to males. In most cases, they are involved in poverty-related crimes, which points to women’s economic vulnerability and the need for social protection. As the figure of female criminals is constantly increasing, it is possible to hypothesize that this phenomenon is explained by either stated social equality, i.e. granting women rights and career opportunities equal to those of men, thus decreasing their chances of financial protection, or the improvement of the criminal justice system, i.e. revealing instances of crimes committed by crimes. At the same time, it is critical to note that gender-related bias is still a significant matter of concern in the modern US society due to the fact that, in most cases, women either get away with fines or social work instead of being sentenced to imprisonment. The existing gap is drastic, as men are judged more strictly.
Nevertheless, it is critical to note that it is still possible to address the challenge of extremely high criminal rates and criminal justice inequality. There are several ways to achieve this objective and diminish the risks of gender inequality in the criminal proceedings system. For instance, recognizing that both males and females could become criminals so that they should be treated equally might become the foundation of the new effective system. It means that differences between genders should become the background of the crime prevention mechanism instead of affecting the operation of the justice system. That said, increasing awareness of the criticality of gender differences and actual male-female ratios in crime rates is the first step for enhancing the effectiveness of the whole system and moving toward justice and equality in society. Moreover, it is critical to keep in mind the male-female ratio when improving the system. For instance, rape and sex offenses prevention strategies should focus primarily on men, while prevention of prostitution should target women. Finally, strategies aimed at preventing embezzlement and larceny-theft should incorporate the needs of both men and women due to nearly the same gender distribution.
Even though this research is of significant practical value and reveals several options for conducting further studies, there are some critical limitations, which should be mentioned. First and foremost, the study is descriptive in nature. For this reason, research findings are not tested quantitatively to prove the central research assumption. Regardless of the fact that testing and calculations are not necessary in case of choosing a descriptive research design, drawn conclusions are theoretical in their nature and should be addressed and referred to with caution. Moreover, the research focuses only on statistical data and some scholarly and non-scholarly papers. It means that there is a risk of failing to gain an in-depth understanding of gender-related stimuli, which contribute to differences in crime rates and offending patterns between males and females.
Even though a thorough literature review was conducted, motivations for becoming involved in criminal activities are left behind due to the fact that the selected sources addressed different states and contexts as well as timeframes. Furthermore, because the study focuses on statistical data, only vague recommendations could be drawn, as it does not pay specific attention to perceptions and motives for becoming involved in criminal activities. In addition to it, the paper focuses only on the case of the United States. More than that, no state distribution is taken into consideration, which makes the paper highly specialized and eliminates an opportunity for making accurate assumptions regarding motives for involvement in crime activities across states and different regions of the globe.
Potential Significance and Implications for Future Research
The conducted study is of significant importance for the area under investigation – criminal proceedings system. There are several arguments, which prove this statement. First and foremost, the research is beneficial for understanding the overall trends in gender patterns of crime activities. Even though there were numerous other papers on the same topic, this study incorporates the findings from different sources and countries, thus contributing to the comprehensiveness of findings and conclusions. More than that, this research has significant advantages compared to other studies in the same area of interest due to the fact that it provides and analyzes the latest available data retrieved from the FBI reports. In general, it addresses both most common causes and motivations for becoming involved in crime activities determined on the basis of an in-depth literature review and gender ratios in crime patterns.
Based on the limitations of the research and its potential significance, it is possible to state that there are several directions for the further research in this area. They are different in the proposed nature of the study and geographical scope of investigation. For instance, conducting the research aimed at identifying gender rates in crime patterns across states would be beneficial for estimating peculiar trends in criminal activities in the United States and determining the safest and the most dangerous regions in the country. The same research might as well reveal gaps in the efficiency of the criminal justice system. More than that, there is a potential option for conducting a mixed research, which would analyze not only statistical data retrieved from the latest FBI reports but also the perception of crimes and motivations for getting involved in criminal activities based on interviewing criminals. Furthermore, it would be beneficial to compare data from the United States and other countries, e.g. differing in income and level of economic development in order to find out whether crime rates and gender gap differ with regard to overall changes in the socioeconomic status of citizens.
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