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Linking Crime Rates to Relationship Factors: The Use of Gender-Specific Data

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 34 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2006 Pages: 317-329
Celia C. Lo; Hua Zhong
Date Published
May 2006
13 pages
This study examined gender-based factors in relationships that exerted differing social-control influences according to gender, thus producing different arrest rates for males and females.
The study found that female unemployment was linked to female violent crime. Employment offers workers an opportunity to develop relationships that foster, especially in women, strong informal social controls on violent behavior. It is possible that women, more than men, may rely on the friendship networks in the context of employment. The authors advise caution, however, in explaining property crimes according to gender-based unemployment rates, since the effects tend to be related to the specific type of property crime. In addition to the factor of employment/unemployment as a gender-based factor in violent crime, the study found the intimate connection with a spouse provided an informal social-control factor, deterring deviance among men and, even more strongly, among women. The analysis of crime rates for each gender found that both men and women were more susceptible to criminal impulses when divorce rates increased, with this pattern being strongest among women. These findings suggest that factors which influence broad trends in unemployment and divorce rates can indirectly affect crime rates. Future research should explore these trends and factors in more detail. The study obtained 1989-1991 adult arrest data for all reporting jurisdictions in Ohio from the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The authors then matched each jurisdiction to locales appearing on the Internet in the 1990 Census Lookup. Only comparable, matched jurisdictions were included in the sample. Dependent variables were arrests for index crimes committed in the 173 jurisdictions between 1989 and 1991. The independent variables measured pertained to marriage and employment as they were experienced by men and women. 4 tables and 63 references