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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

One of the controversial issues in criminology is the notion that females are less likely than males to commit a crime. Although scholars have hotly debated the changing magnitude of the gender gap in recent years, they have not devoted so much attention to whether females exhibit disproportionately lower rates of crime—particularly violent crime—than males. Given the persistence of the gender gap in offending, it is not surprising then that research on criminal behavior has relegated females to an ancillary role. This article explores the relationship between gender and offending as it pertains to the peer group, specifically friends. It argues that deviant peer influence is a strong and important predictor of both male and female offending. It examines this risk for female offenders and explains why certain peers—namely those of the opposite sex—may exert a particularly powerful influence over females.

Keywords: crime, females, males, gender, criminology, criminal behavior, offending, peer influence, peers, female offenders

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