What Kind of Crimes Do Females Commit?

Written by teressa rose ezell
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  • Introduction

    What Kind of Crimes Do Females Commit?

    According to a 2001 special report from the United States Department of Justice, 0.5 per cent of the adult female population -- or 581,000 women -- were either incarcerated as of that year, or had been incarcerated at some point. The rate of incarceration for women has risen sharply in recent years, and by 2005, 7 per cent of state prison inmates were women. Drug and property crimes, prostitution, child abuse and white collar crimes are among those most frequently committed by women.

    Although crime is more common among men, women also commit jailable offences. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Drug and Property Crimes

    A history of drug dependence predisposes women to commit crimes, particularly property crimes. According to The Sentencing Project, 29 per cent of the women in state prison systems as of 2003, were incarcerated for a drug offence, and 30 per cent for a property offence. Furthermore, almost one-third of the incarcerated women committed crimes in order to buy drugs.

    Obtaining money for drugs is a factor in many crimes committed by women. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

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    Statistics cited by Law.com paint a grim picture for females who commit the crime of prostitution. According to the website's 1996 statistics, 80,000 people are arrested annually for prostitution, and 70 to 80 per cent of those are female. Approximately 40 per cent become prostitutes as young as 16 or 17 years of age. Ninety-two per cent express the desire to quit prostitution, but remain trapped due to financial circumstances. A situation of a crime within a crime occurs for at least 58 per cent of female prostitutes, the percentage who report physical assaults. Unreported attacks would likely bring that statistic even higher.

    The majority of female prostitutes commit the crime out of economic desperation. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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    Child Abuse

    According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, females account for 59.3 per cent of all child abuse perpetrators, both familial and non-familial. Among parents who abuse their own children, mothers alone commit 40.5 per cent of reported child abuse, and an additional 19.3 per cent of reported cases are committed by the biological mother along with another person.

    The majority of child abuse cases involve the mother, either alone or not. (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

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    White Collar Crimes

    As women have become more prominent and successful in the corporate sector, the rate of high collar crimes such as fraud, insider trading and embezzlement by women has risen as well. According to Kristen Gerencher of Market Watch, women accounted for only 27 per cent of all fraud arrests in 1970, but accounted for 44 per cent in 1999. Forgery and counterfeit arrest statistics show a similar pattern, with women constituting 24 per cent of those arrests in 1970, and 38 per cent in 1999. Gerencher quotes Don Rebovich of the National White Collar Crime Center as speculating that the rise is due to the increased opportunity for women to commit such crimes, along with the temptations and pressures the corporate world presents.

    Women now commit more white collar crime than in previous decades. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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