Trends in Female (and Male) Crime: An HLM Analysis of the Impact of Changing Family Structure on Levels of Violence, 1970-2000

Jennifer Schwartz, The Pennsylvania State University

ABSTRACT
Little research has been directed toward explaining trends in female violence and differences across communities in levels of female offending. Moreover, although original theoretical explanations of the ecological distribution of crime were dynamic, that is, rooted in theories of community change, modern models of these processes have remained static (i.e., cross-sectional). This paper compares the influence of macro-structural variables on female and male violent offending for 1970-2000 through the use of county-level sex-disaggregated arrest data from the Uniform Crime Reports merged with county-level Census data. Specifically, the analysis addresses: 1) whether spatial patterns of county-level female violent crime are similar to those for males for 1970 through 2000; 2) how changes in the structural features of communities, particularly in the family institution but also in the economy, drive female and male rates of violent crime; and 3) the extent to which these changes differentially impact female and male criminal behavior. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) techniques appropriate for repeated measures are used to assess how changing social and economic conditions impact trends in levels of violent offending for females and males.





















Little research has been directed toward explaining trends in female violence and differences across communities in levels of female offending. Moreover, although original theoretical explanations of the ecological distribution of crime were dynamic, that is, rooted in theories of community change, modern models of these processes have remained static (i.e., cross-sectional). This paper compares the influence of macro-structural variables on female and male violent offending for 1970-2000 through the use of county-level sex-disaggregated arrest data from the Uniform Crime Reports merged with county-level Census data. Specifically, the analysis addresses: 1) whether spatial patterns of county-level female violent crime are similar to those for males for 1970 through 2000; 2) how changes in the structural features of communities, particularly in the family institution but also in the economy, drive female and male rates of violent crime; and 3) the extent to which these changes differentially impact female and male criminal behavior. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) techniques appropriate for repeated measures are used to assess how changing social and economic conditions impact trends in levels of violent offending for females and males.













Little research has been directed toward explaining trends in female violence and differences across communities in levels of female offending. Moreover, although original theoretical explanations of the ecological distribution of crime were dynamic, that is, rooted in theories of community change, modern models of these processes have remained static (i.e., cross-sectional). This paper compares the influence of macro-structural variables on female and male violent offending for 1970-2000 through the use of county-level sex-disaggregated arrest data from the Uniform Crime Reports merged with county-level Census data. Specifically, the analysis addresses: 1) whether spatial patterns of county-level female violent crime are similar to those for males for 1970 through 2000; 2) how changes in the structural features of communities, particularly in the family institution but also in the economy, drive female and male rates of violent crime; and 3) the extent to which these changes differentially impact female and male criminal behavior. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) techniques appropriate for repeated measures are used to assess how changing social and economic conditions impact trends in levels of violent offending for females and males.





























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Updated 05/20/2006