Trends in the Gender Gap in Violent Offending: New Evidence From the National Crime Victimization Survey
Recent research has compared male and female trends in violent offending in Uniform Crime Report (UCR) arrest data with similar trends derived from victims' reports in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and has concluded that the two data sources produce contrary findings. In this article, we reassess this issue and draw different conclusions. Using pooled National Crime Survey (NCS) and NCVS data for 1973 to 2005, we find that the female-to-male offending rate ratios for aggravated assault, robbery, and simple assault have increased over time and that the narrowing of the gender gaps is very similar to patterns in UCR arrest data. In addition, we find that these patterns are in part caused by larger decreases in male than female offending after the mid-1990s and not by recent increases in violent offending rates among females. We conclude that changes in the gender gaps in aggravated assault, robbery, and simple assault are real and not artifacts; therefore, these changes deserve serious attention in future research. We conclude with a discussion of several hypotheses that might account for a narrowing of the gender gap in nonlethal violent offending over time.