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Gender and Grime

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Introduction

UNIT TITTLE-SOCIOLOGY- UNIT B 21 JANUARY 2003 MOHAMMED EMAMY DRAFT RESEARCH / GENDER AND CRIME 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), cited by Taylor et al (2000), 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. The reason as to why their seems to be low crime rate for women is explained by Pollok (1950), cited by Haralambos, M. Holborn, M. Heald, R (2000), and the related chivalry theory to be the result of the higher numbers of men in the police force and the judicial system. Men have stereotypical views about women and how they should behave. Therefor they tend to be less harsh with them. However Pollok argued that this was only a minor factor. He stated that much of female crime was unreported. Moreover, he suggested that women's domestic roles gave them the opportunity to hide their crimes. Stanko and Hobdell also reflected polokk'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. This silence is, we are led to believe, a product of men's hesitation to disclose vulnerability." (Stanko and Hobdell, 1993: 400. Cited by Walklate 2001). Heidensohn (1989), cited by Giddens (2001), however dismisses the 'chivalry' idea and suggests that women offenders are branded as doubly deviant, firstly by ignoring appropriate female behaviour and also by breaking the law. Heidensohn points out the double standards within the criminal justice system, where male aggression is seen as natural phenomenon and female offences are explanations in 'psychological' terms. ...read more.

Middle

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) cites Dell (1970) findings, which show that magistrates in England and Wales are more likely to remand women in custody then men. ...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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