NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Women Committing Crime

August 12, 1999

While overall crime rates are dropping nationwide, women are committing more felony crimes and violent crimes, according to Justice Department statistics.

  • Since 1980, the number of women in state and federal prisons has increased more than fourfold.
  • Drug offenses, vandalism and assaults by women have increased annually for the last three years.
  • While young men commit the majority of violent crimes, the number of crimes by women is increasing at a faster rate than that of men.
  • In 1997 the number of female prisoners rose 6.2 percent, compared to 5.2 percent of males -- with most of the increase due to drug-related crime -- and 79,624 women were incarcerated in state and federal prisons.

Experts agree that many women who commit crimes most likely grew up in a single-parent home or an environment in which violence was prevalent; they frequently have shown violence toward their siblings and have been labeled troublemakers in school; and they regularly used drugs or alcohol.

Source: Kristan Trugman, "While Overall Crime Rates Drop, More Women Are Committing Crimes," Insight, August 16, 1999.


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