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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of America defined a violent crime in its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program as, those offenses which involve force or threat of force. According to this program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault (Violent Crime, 2010). Gender plays a significant role in analyzing the crime effects. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast violent crime rate between men and women and analyze gender gap in violent crimes.
To date, the vast majority of studies, research and surveys on a gender role in violent crimes have examined the issues surrounding women’s increased involvement in the violent crimes throughout the world. In terms of recorded criminal violence in the USA in 1991, 89% of all those arrested for violent offences were male and 11% women. In England and Wales in 1989, 89% of all violent offences were committed by men and 11% by women. In Canada, in 1991, 88% of all those charged with violent crime were men and 12% women (Understanding Violence By Women: A Review of the Literature, 2012). In the United States, in 2002, there were 9,015 men arrested for murder and non-negligent manslaughter compared to 1,092 women; 19,884 men were sentenced to jail for forcible rape while only 278 women were; 69,369 men were arrested for robbery and women accounted for a mere 7,973 arrests; and, finally, 270,905 men were arrested for aggravated assault compared to 68,532 women. Overall, for violent crimes in America, in 2002, men were nearly five times as likely to be arrested as women. These statistics are approximately consistent across all societies and the countries in the world (Gottschalk, & Lee, p.64). These studies show that, though the number of female offenders is growing with time, it represents only a fraction of the violent crimes perpetrated in our society. Although it may be true that some violent crimes committed by women go unreported or unnoticed due to mainly gender sympathy, male dominance in the violent crimes cannot be ignored.
There is no plausible theory in criminology and in the field of psychology, which can explain the cause of human violence. Males often are socialized to be more aggressive and violent than females. Historically, female gender roles have not provided females with the opportunity to engage in crimes. The social norms decrease the involvement of women in violent crimes. There are similarities as well as differences between the male and female offenders, regarding the characteristics of the offense and the victim. Mostly, women offenders operate alone. If they become involved with others, the group is likely to be small, temporary and accompanied by men. Female violent offending is often related to domestic interpersonal conflict, and the victims are generally close people like parents, husbands, boyfriends, children or other relatives than the strangers. Compared to male, female violent offenders have been found to have less prior sentiment, have lower rates of psychopath and are less likely to recidivate. There are, however, some similarities in circumstances of men and women while engaging in violent crimes. Concerning socio-demographic characteristics, both male and female violent offenders were often found to have a history of adverse childhood domestic constellations, poor socio-economic backgrounds, equal rates of previous psychiatric hospitalization, less education and unemployment at the time of a crime (Rossegger et al., 2009).
Violent crimes are constantly threatening the peace and stability of society. The understanding of gender roles and their impact on crime rates might be helpful in reducing the prevalence of the crimes and the effect they have on society. Using this information, better preventive measures could be created to prevent male and female crime. Thus, the cognition of gender factor in violent crimes is important to develop effective legal policies against it.
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