Environment affects crime gender gap

December 7, 2010
Environment affects crime gender gap
A new study by Gregory Zimmerman finds difference between men and women in committing violent crimes is smaller in poor neighborhoods

While women in general commit far fewer violent crimes than men, a new study by a Northeastern University professor finds the difference between the genders is much smaller in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The research on the "gender gap" appears in the December issue of the journal . The study, coauthored by Gregory Zimmerman, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern, shows that environment plays a more significant role in women’s behavior.

"This narrowing of the arises because exposure to violent peers is greater in disadvantaged neighborhoods for both males and females, but females are more strongly influenced by their peers than are males," said Zimmerman.

"Our research found that females are typically more influenced by peers because they tend to have more intimate friendships than do males. Violent peers exert a stronger influence on behavior when the relationships with these peers are more intimate," he said.

The study utilized data collected from 1994 to 2001 by the Project of Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods — an interdisciplinary study that examined how individual, family, and contextual factors contributed to youth development.

Zimmerman and his coauthor, Steven Messner of the State University of New York at Albany, say their results reaffirm the fundamental principle of feminist : Explaining criminal behavior and other social phenomena requires understanding of how gender shapes daily interactions, relationships and behavior patterns.

Explore further: Study: Women at least as violent as men

Related Stories

Study: Women at least as violent as men

May 24, 2006

Women are at least as violent as men, concludes a controversial University of New Hampshire survey of 13,600 college students in 32 nations.

Study shows males are more tolerant of same-sex peers

February 11, 2009

Women have traditionally been viewed as being more social and cooperative than men. However, there is recent evidence that this may not be the case. In fact, studies have shown that men maintain larger social networks with ...

Parolee releases spike violent crime, study suggests

September 1, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- California lawmakers may want to rethink a cost-cutting proposal to release at least 27,000 inmates from state prison in light of a new study linking parolees to increases in violent crime.

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.