Defund the police? Disarm Americans? Women have higher or equal rates of violent criminal victimization

Law Enforcement Today

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Female victimization increased in recent years. It’s substantially different than historical patterns.

Crime prevention programs need to be gender-specific with women and girls having unique differences as to their victimization experiences.

But the bottom line is that females are violently victimized at rates equal to or sometimes exceeding those of men.

Crimes Based On National Surveys

The National Crime Victimization Survey offered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (only 40 percent of violent crimes are reported to law enforcement) provided a paragraph several years ago stating that female victimization now exceeds that of males in their “Criminal Victimization” series. It provided several years of gender data to support its observation.

The last Bureau Of Justice Statistics document addressing the subject comprehensively was offered in 2009 which, because of its superb methodology and large database, remains relevant. It focused on intimate partner violence and rape and stalking documenting higher rates for women.

The most recent “Criminal Victimization” report for 2020 states that rates of violence against women are roughly the same as for men, 16.6 for males and 16.2 for females:


Crime Rates And Females 

Crime Rates And Females

Crimes Reported To Law Enforcement

In 2019, (2020 is the latest report from the FBI) the number of male and female violent crime victims was about even, with about 1,579,530 male victims and 1,479,540 female victims. In a disturbing trend, however, the number of male violent crime victims in the U.S. has decreased since 2005, but the number of female victims has been increasing, Statista.

Crimes Against Women 

Crimes Against Women

From a historical perspective in 2005, males greatly exceeded females in terms of violent victimization. But beginning in 2013, the trend lines became closer with victimization reaching parity and in some cases (2015-2017-2018) female violent victimization exceeded that of males.

In 2020, the FBI reported that “A little more than half (50.6%) were female; 48.7% were male” for all crimes.

Crimes By Category

As to crimes by category, the chart below from the latest 2020 report from the FBI states that females have more overall violent victimizations; they were assaulted considerably more, murdered less, trafficked and kidnapped more, and victims of sex offenses more than males. But even for property crimes, victimization numbers were fairly close.


Female Victimization 

Female Victimization

A Rising Threat From Men

From The Crime Report: A new US Secret Service report prepared by the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) details a rising threat from men who identify as “involuntary celibates” or “incels”, due to their inability to form intimate relationships with women, reports The Guardian.

As a case study, the Secret Service examined a 2018 shooting at a yoga class in Tallahassee, FL, in which a man killed two women and wounded six, to highlight behavioral threat assessment themes identified in years of research examining targeted violence.

“The attacker was motivated to carry out violence by his inability to develop or maintain relationships with women, along with his perception of women’s societal power over men,” the report said.

Fear Of Crime

Females have higher rates of fear of crime when compared with males. “A number of explanations have been suggested in the literature for the finding that women consistently report higher levels of fear of crime than males.”

Growing Number Of Women Offenders

In the waning decades of the 20th century, this logic was abruptly undercut as women’s involvement in all aspects of the criminal justice system increased dramatically.

As an example, in just the last decade (between 1990 and 1998), the number of women on probation increased by 40 percent, the number of women in jail increased by 60 percent, the number of women in prison increased by 88 percent, and the number of women under parole supervision increased by 80 percent.

And, in many of these systems, the increases seen in female rates outstrip those seen for males; for example, since 1990, the number of female defendants convicted of felonies in state courts has grown at more than twice the rate of increase for male defendants; Women And Criminal Justice.

Later data is available at Women Offenders.


Female victimization rose considerably in recent years which is substantially different than historical patterns.

Prevention programs need to be gender-specific with women and girls having unique differences as to their victimization experiences considering that most of their crimes involve offenders they know.

But the bottom line is that females are violently victimized at rates equal to or sometimes exceeding those of men.

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