Crime and the Contemporary Woman: An Analysis of Changing Levels of Female Property Crime, 1960-75

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This report examines female property crime trends since 1960. Previous research on this issue has suffered because of a failure to specify the major questions on female property crime and because of inappropriate use of UCR arrest statistics. In this study, the central questions about female property crime are clarified and arrest rates are computed to determine the extent of change in female property crime since 1960. The effects of the women’s movement on female property crime are also examined. I conclude that female levels of property crime are rising. But it is only for the offenses of larceny-theft and fraud /embezzlement that female levels are increasing at a faster pace than male levels. Moreover, absolute differences still exist and have generally increased so that female property crime levels continue to lag far behind those of males. The pattern of the data also suggests that the upward trend in female property crime is not due to the women’s movement; that women are still typically nonviolent, petty property offenders; and that the “new female criminal” is more of a social invention than an empirical reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-584
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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