In the western world, crime is known as a man's game, and women are largely left out of it. This is confirmed by the Department of Justice's research showing that four out of five violent offenders are men, but that almost half of the victims are women. Women are seen as more docile, less prone to violence, and responsible solely for families, but this isn't always the case. There is less information about women and the crimes that they commit, and the reason that they are largely overlooked is because women criminals are unexpected. Crimes in this sense are anything from petty theft to murder, and you'll see that women are involved all areas of crime.
Women's Crime Rates
In relation to the crime rates of men, women's crime rates have been rising as more and more women are being charged. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, since 1989 crime rates for men have been steadily decreasing. However, the rates for women are increasing, from less than twenty percent of total crimes to 25 percent in 2011. Since total crime rates have been steadily dropping, this fact has surprised many people. A 2013 report by the Sentencing Project estimates that this comes with increased women's equality; as women and men are seen as equal, women are more likely to be arrested and charged than in the past
The Crimes Women Commit
Women criminals are not only found in one area. The Bureau of Justice statistics also show that women have become involved in all areas of tracked crime, and have even surpassed men in the number of arrests for embezzlement. More commonly, women commit less violent crimes, like theft and burglary, while men dominate violent crimes.
Changes in Women's Prisons
With more women being charged and going to prisons, there are some differences between male and female prisons. Bureau of Justice statistics show that the amount of women incarcerated at the beginning of 2012 was a little over 110,000 versus 40,000 in 1990. Like the growth rate for crimes, women are being incarcerated at a higher rate for men. Then, once incarcerated, women tend to create family structures within the prisons, unlike men who are more solitary. This family structure replaces families left behind, providing a better way for women to cope with prison.
Famous Female Criminals
History is full of famous women who committed a lot of crime, some who were imprisoned, and some who weren't. Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde, assisted in robbing many banks, grocery stores, and rural gas stations. Lizzie Borden was accused of brutally murdering both of her parents, but she was acquitted because women weren't seen capable of such extremes. Sylvette Phyllis Gilbert, the "Church Lady Bandit," robbed many businesses and federal banks in Columbus, Ohio in the late 2000s. Mary Ann Cotton was convicted for poisoning over 20 people in the late 1800s.
Women have always committed crimes; it just wasn't until modern times that they were believed to be capable of becoming criminals. Currently, their rates are increasing and the prevalence of female crime is becoming more public. Though men still commit the majority of crimes, women are represented in the country's statistics, and in the prison system. In many areas of the world, women function differently than men, and that is shown in the types of crimes they commit, and what happens in prison. If current trends continue, women may become equal with men in the amount of crimes they commit.
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