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As in other areas of sociology, criminological studies have traditionally ignored half the population.

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Introduction

INTRODUCTION As in other areas of sociology, criminological studies have traditionally ignored half the population. An example of this is the account of social order and anomie. Merton (1930) argued that American society encouraged people to seek 'money success', and as the social structure was unable to provide unlimited opportunities for all, this resulted in a 'strain to anomie', which lead to different types of deviance. Therefore it has been argued by various sociologists that women should figure more prominently in various categories of deviance including crime. Female criminology is an issue, which has been neglected for many years by sociologists and criminologists. The reason as to why there seems to be low crime rate for women is explained by Pollok (1950), his work claims that the official statistics for woman are highly misleading and hide the true extent of female crime, much of which, he says, goes unreported. Pollock suggested that woman's domestic role of housewife/mother gave them the opportunity to hide crimes such as poisoning their relatives, and sexually abusing their children. He also argued that woman are naturally devious and as a result are more adept at concealing their crimes. Pollak attributed this to biology, as proof of their inherent dishonesty, he cited their concealment of menstrual pain both from men and from society, as well as their ability to fake orgasms. In addition, Pollok argued that the police, magistrates, courts and judges are more likely to be lenient towards woman once their crimes have been reported. Pollok referred to this as the 'chivalry thesis'. This suggests that because women are seen as subordinate, caring and weak they are thought to be incapable of malicious crime. According to this position, the reason female crime is under-represented in the official crime statistics is the inbuilt sexism in the legal process. Stanko and Hobdell also reflected Pollok's view of unreported crime. Writing in relation to men's fear of crime he stated: "Criminology's failure to explore men's experience of violence is often attributed to men's reluctance to report weakness. ...read more.

Middle

(Harvey et al 1992, cited by Walklate 2001, p.4). Fear of crime is also just as much effected by gender as reported crimes by males and females. Various criminal victimisation surveys from the Home Office, and elsewhere, clearly identifies young men as being at a greater risk from street crime then any other group of people. Nevertheless the British (1994)-crime survey showed that men were far less worried about falling victim of muggings. A total of 16 per cent of men said they were 'very' worried about the specific crime of mugging compared to 34 per cent of women. The pattern of a larger percentage of women's fear of being mugged is also reflected in other crimes such as burglary, car theft and walking alone at night. The higher percentage of fear of crime shown in the official statistics representing women is perhaps not unfounded. In 1995 women were about two-thirds as likely as men to be victims of violence; 20 years ago they were half as likely. Between 1992 and1994 the number of violent incidents involving a female victim averaged 4.6 million a year, nearly 14 million crimes during the 3-year period (U.S Department of Justice statistics homicide victims in the United States). The evidence from the U.S Department of Justice statistics (1992 -1994) also shows that between 1992and 1993 women were more likely to be victims of nonfatal violence by someone they knew (78%) than by a stranger (23%). Male victims were about as likely to be victimised by a stranger (49%) as by someone they knew (51%). For rape, robbery, and assault in 1992-93, female victims experienced 7 times as many incidents of violence by an intimate (present and former spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends) as male victims.With regard to the number of male and female prisoners, in the United Kingdom in 1990 a total of 1,164 women were imprisoned compared to a total of 32,260 male prisoners for the same year. According the Home Office statistics in 1992. Furthermore Carlen (1983) ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore by using quantitative data in the form of official statistics I gained the advantage of rating high on reliability. Subsequently my research results relating to types of crime, numbers of crimes, type of sentence and sentencing patterns in the United Kingdom and abroad can be checked. Other advantage of using quantitative data, which was obtained from secondary historical official records as well as more resent official records was that I was able to discover the overall pattern of crime in relation to gender. In addition, by using secondary qualitative data I was able to illuminate the reasons as to why women seem to commit less crime. This data was obtained from the research carried out by Honkatukia P�ivi (1998). He used unstructured interviews as part of his research, which is more likely to provide rich and vivid data that gives an in-depth perspective into the reasons why girls commit less crime and therefore establishing a high validity. Although interviews may be influenced by the presence of the researcher or bias shown on the part of the interviewer, as interviews are interaction situations. The self-report study carried out by P�ivi make it possible to estimate the real amount of crime committed by young women, however the validity of such surveys may be effected by the fact that respondents may exaggerate or alternatively not admit their crimes. Overall however by using the triangulation method in his research, hence by combining both quantitative and qualitative data it is possible to check the accuracy of the conclusions reached on the bias of each. Hence I found P�ivi's research and data to be valid. Likewise by using triangulation in my own research I have acquired a similar advantage. As neither qualitative research nor quantitative data can provide totally 'valid' or 'reliable' data. Therefore by combining both I was able to take advantage of the insight in to the relationship of gender and crime that each method provides. It seems that the proportion of offending behaviour is also greater amongst males then females and a higher percentage of males were found guilty of previous generations. ...read more.

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