Women commit less crime than men and their crimes are typically less serious, violent, and profitable. Most investigations of this “gender gap” in offending consider differences in social control or socialization. This helps explain overall crime participation disparities, but cannot account for the sex-segregated character of offending. Building on ethnographic research and feminist labor market analyses, our study explores how gender affects access to criminal opportunities. Using NIBRS data, we examine the effect a male co-offender has on women’s offending. We find that the presence of a male co-offender broadens women’s criminal involvement in distinctive ways.
Women commit significantly less crime than men and the crime they commit is typically less serious, less violent, and less profitable. This has been true for as long as social scientists have been measuring crime. Relative to men, women’s crime participation rates have remained remarkably stable over time. In spite of the potential theoretical significance of this finding, the discipline of criminology has been slow to consider gender at all, much less conceptualize crime as a gendered activity. This has prompted numerous calls for researchers to pay greater attention to the relationship between gender and crime and critiques into criminology’s near-exclusive focus on men
1.1 Background of the study
The persistence and rise of crime continues to damage the social fabric of the society especially in the country’s’ urban areas. Crime is not a new phenomenon both locally and internationally but the intensity and nature of crime is different within different borders. Crime also does not distinguish between the developed and developing countries such as Kenya which continue to grapple with the effects of increased incidences of criminal activities in its urban areas. An emerging trend of crime in the urban areas reflects an increase in youth participation in violent criminal activities which has been associated with the rising unemployment rates among the youth which is far more explicit in urban areas. Onoge (1988) in Adebayo (2013) perceives crime as dysfunctional as it threatens the stability of society and it is therefore, a social problem that requires a concerted effort towards finding a lasting solution to it. It undermines the social fabric by eroding the sense of safety and security
Urbanization, especially in the developing world, has been accompanied by increased levels of crime, violence and lawlessness. The growing violence and feeling of insecurity that city dwellers are facing daily is one of the major challenges around the world. The world’s population is becoming increasingly urban, and three-quarters of the urban population growth occurs in developing countries. Global studies show that 60% of all urban residents in developing countries have been victims of crime, at least once over the past five years, 70% of them in Latin America and Africa. Majority of these crimes are committed by the youth as Salagaev (2003) reports that the number of young people who committed crimes rose from 80 million in 1992 to 150 million in 2000. In 2005, individuals under the age of 25 accounted for nearly 45% of all arrests for violent crimes and 50% of arrests for murder (Watson-Thompson, Fawcett & Schultz, 2008).There are various reasons that have been identified as influencing youth involvement in criminal activities. Prior and Paris (2005) find that most of the youth are in crime because of poverty, which drove them into criminal acts for survival; Maseko (2009) points to youth peer pressure and rebellion against parental authority; Erickson (2001) observes that drugs also lead the youth to crime; Ojo (2012) lists broken homes and low education attainment as leading to criminal activities. Agbor, Taiwo and Smith (2012) contend that youth in Africa hold great potential as drivers for economic growth through participation in labor markets and also as consumers. However, a large youth population that is not gainfully employed can also be a liability, further undermining growth prospects. Salagaev (2003) and Muhammad (2008) agree it is primarily the outcome of multiple adverse social, economic and family conditions.