During this weekend, I found some interesting data about female murderers. I’d like to share them with you adding and completing what we stated last time…
Since 1970, there has been an increasing and alarming rise 138% of violent crimes committed by women. Still, while the equivalent percentage compared to male violence is small (15% to 85%) the fact that the numbers have elevated so drastically points to something changing in society.
Sociologists try to explain it, so do criminologists, theologists, politicians and world historians, but the resulting message is clear, and that message is that females aren’t alien to committing violent acts. In recent years, women have committed some of the most heinous crimes. For example, Diane Downs killed one of her three children (she tried to kill all of them) in order to win back a lover who didn’t want kids; Karla Homolka and her husband Paul Bernardo sexually assaulted, tortured and killed several young women for thrills.
The Bureau of Justice’s Statistics Division released a report at the end of 1999 citing an estimated 2.1 million known violent female offenders yearly in the United States. That being the bad news, the flip side is that within the rising violence, the volume of murders committed by females has actually declined. “The rate…has been falling since 1980,” reads the report, “and in 1998 stood at its lowest level since 1976 40% lower.”.
Despite the positive shift, however, there is small cause for joy.
A “Special Report”, compiled by Bureau statisticians Lawrence A. Greenfeld and Tracy L. Snell, highlights something interesting. Let’s see:
- 28% of violent female offenders are juveniles;
- 3 out of 4 victims of violent female offenders are women;
- in 1998, there were more than 2 million arrests of women accounting for about 22% of all arrests that year;
- since 1980, the number of female defendants convicted of felonies in state courts has grown at more than two times the rate of increase in male defendants;
- nearly 6 in 10 women serving time in state prisons had experienced physical or sexual abuse in the past;
- in the case of more than 60% of the 60,000 murders committed by women between 1976 and 1997, the murderer and the victim had known each other intimately as a lover or family member.
That’s all for now. I’ll come back soon…