Relationship Between Gender And Crime

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Whenever this topic arises, the first thing that comes into our mind is 'women commit less crime than men.' In order to understand the true relationship between the gender and crime, we must look at some statistics. In the Statistics on Women and the Criminal Justice System, the proportion of adults who were victims of violence by sex or age indicates that men are much more likely than women to be the victim of violent crime. The risk of this violence was highest for young men aged 16 to 24 - 13.4%, and this trend decreases with age. For women a similar trend has shown, however with lower risks than men for all ages, such as 6.4% for women aged 16-24, although it is worth noting that according to BCS 2007/08, for domestic violence, 85% of the victims are women and 15% for men. The statistics in homicide the number of male convictions is 535 compare to 54 of female convictions in 2002/03; and in 2005/06, 447 of male convictions compare to 31 of female convictions. It is fairly obvious those males are more likely to commit a homicide than females, in approximately one out of ten of those convicted were female. Similar trends can be seen in sexual offences, fraud and technology offences, and offences dealt with by Youth Offending teams involving persons aged 10-17, and in this section the offences that show the most significant difference in percentage are vehicle theft and drug offences, which are both 92% of male convictions compare to 8% of female convictions. Also if we look into the figures of the persons arrested for notifiable offences and offences categories by sex in England and Wales, although the general trend remains similar to the ones I mentioned above, i.e. male convictions are the dominant.

Perhaps this trend could be explained by the theoretical work on masculinity. This theory based on the idea that gender was socially constructed and where encultured sex roles were ascribed to bodily difference. R. W. Connell looked at the key concepts of patriarchy, domination, oppression and exploitation through which men are deemed the powerful and this piece of theory is further focused and transformed into an understanding of complex and multiple masculinities which are known as hegemonic masculinities and subordinated masculinities, essentially Connell was suggesting that this masculinity has formed the dominant gender structure and this is reflected in our everyday life. Although Connell's work has been criticized as vague and unhelpful since how do we qualify 'masculine' and it does not explain the dimensions of unities and differences amongst men, and therefore this explains that male are more likely to commit and suffer from crimes due to their 'nature' of being the dominant ones, associated with toughness, power authority and competition and hence leads to aggression and violence.

Messerchmidt has also brought another idea by using Connell's framework, he developed the idea of gender as a 'situational accomplishment' and of crime as a means of 'doing gender'. He addresses race and class alongside gender in his theorization of these categories as 'structured action'; and the idea is that masculinity can be seen as a crucial point of intersection of different forms or structures of power. However, this idea also received some criticism for it is not clear whether these masculinity theories leave us in terms of comprehending crime. As Hood-Williams puts it, "the radical question is 'whether the term masculinities' adds anything to the analysis of criminal events or is it an empty tautology signifying nothing more than the things men and boys do".

Katz perhaps has the most advanced and useful analysis on the study of crime. He focused on the foreground factors of the experience of crime and its moral emotions; such as excitement, seduction elements in which attracts an individual to commit a crime. It suggests that perhaps the elements of desire, risk-seeking are more important than the fact that an offender has a masculine identity. Frosh et al exemplify some of these themes in their analysis of boys as 'active agents'; their everyday notion of 'Macho' behavior, and makes them 'popular' and 'cool', all these are shaped by social structures and individual agency, for example, movies or films involve thieving and how they live in glory and luxury can be very influential, youngsters might act in a similar way to show their heroism or just to impress the people around them, or even merely to satisfy one's curiosity without considering the consequences. Is this an implication that gender does not play quite the essential role as we assumed, if that is the case then how do we explain the trend from the statistics - males are more likely to convict than females?

The USA has been analyzing the recorded increases which show that between 1980 and 2003 the female percentage of all arrests increases from one-fifth to one-tired for simple assault, they suggested that the rise in girls' violence is due to a variety of factors; this includes the recent changes in law enforcement practices and the juvenile justice system, they claim that the rise has less to do with underlying behavior, but to do with changes in law and policing towards less serious crime and also with less biased or more efficient responses to girls' aggression. Therefore, it is indicating that perhaps the gender is not causing the difference in official statistics, but the gradual change in the traditional biased views on the 'masculinity' on the two genders.

To conclude, we could argue that the gender-gap is narrowing due to the policy-makers and law enforcers and it does prove that perhaps gender does not play such a big role. However we could not ignore the fact that there is such a massive difference in the gender-gap. I believe that there is no definite answer to this issue, we must analyze with further examination and the evidence of future trend between the two genders.