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NCJ Number: 77049 Find in a Library
Title: Gender and Perceived Chances of Arrest
Journal: Social Forces  Volume:59  Issue:4  Dated:(June 1981)  Pages:1182-1199
Author(s): P Richards; C R Tittle
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Results are reported from a study that examined gender differences in perceived chances of arrest for six familiar types of offenses.
Abstract: Data came from a well-known 1972 survey of the populations aged 15 and older in New Jersey, Iowa, and Oregon. All areas in each of the three States were stratified on the basis of density, and a sample of 1,993 was obtained, using a combination of area probability techniques to select households and random respondents within households. Seventy-four percent of all eligible households were screened and completed interviews were obtained from 77 percent of these, producing a total response rate of 57 percent of all eligible households in the three States. One-hour interviews were conducted with each respondent. The analysis focuses on respondents' estimates of the probability they would be arrested if they were to commit the crimes of minor theft (worth about $5), major theft (worth about $50), marijuana use, illegal gambling, assault, and cheating on income tax. Estimates of risk were arrayed along a 5-point continuum. The variables examined were perceptions of sanction risk, stakes in conformity, cognitive dissonance, visibility, conventionality, information about crime, and information about sanction. Results show that women perceive systematically higher chances of arrest than do men and that differential visibility and differential stakes in conformity seem to be the most promising explanations for these differences. These variables are only modest predictors of overall individual patterns in perceived arrest risks, however. This suggests that much additional work on the patterns and determinants of risk perception is necessary before an adequate picture of more general variation in risk perceptions can be drawn. Tabular data, notes and references are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Deterrence effectiveness; Perception
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