Michigan State University Research Finds Criminal Arrests of Women Are on the Rise, Not So for Men

A new study by researchers at Michigan State University analyzed Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal arrest records for the period 1993 to 2012. The results showed that during that period arrest rates for men were down 12.5 percent. For women, the arrest rate increased by 26.7 percent. If only violent crimes were considered, the arrest rates for men were down 13.5 percent but were up a whopping 53.2 percent for women.

christina-dejong_lgChristina DeJong, an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State and a co-author of the study, said that it’s highly doubtful that women have suddenly “become more criminal.” What’s likely fueling the trend in part are changing police practices and dual arrest policies, under which police arrest both parties in a domestic assault and let the courts sort it out. “This is particularly troubling,” the study says, “given that much of the domestic violence committed by women consists of acts of self-defense.”

“We need to have a system where rape victims are treated seriously, where they can feel safe to report the crime and where they feel the justice system is going to be fair,” DeJong said. “I don’t think that’s the case right now.”

Dr. DeJong has been a member of the faculty at Michigan State since 1994. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in sociology. Dr. DeJong holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Maryland.

The article, “Police and the War on Women: A Gender-Linked Examination Behind and in Front of the Blue Curtain,” was published on the website of the journal Women and Criminal Justice. It is available here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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