Girls and Property Offenses


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Girls and Property Offenses

Girls' arrests, admissions to detention, and commitments to corrections were more likely to be for theft, particularly retail theft.

Property offenses account for a high proportion of boys' and girls' involvement in the juvenile justice system. Property offenses accounted for 32 percent of girls' arrests, 20 percent of their admissions to detention, and 50 percent of their commitments to corrections. Property offenses accounted for 32 percent of boys' arrests, 26 percent of their detention admissions, and 46 percent of their commitments to corrections.

Girls' juvenile justice system involvement at all stages was more likely to be for theft, particularly, retail theft. Boys' involvement was more likely to be for burglary. Table 4 shows 2007 arrests, detainments, and commitments for property offenses by type and gender.

TABLE 4

Property offense type Arrest Detention Corrections*
Girl Boys Girl Boys Girl Boys
Arson 19
(1%)
89
(1%)
24
(4%)
77
(2%)
1
(1%)
12
(2%)
Burglary 146
(4%)
2,385
(20%)
105
(20%)
1,528
(45%)
23
(24%)
351
(50%)
Criminal damage 313
(9%)
2,667
(19%)
91
(17%)
577
(17%)
8
(8%)
63
(9%)
Criminal trespassing 401
(12%)
2,836
(21%)
32
(6%)
188
(6%)
13
(13%)
29
(4%)
Motor vehicle theft 69
(2%)
765
(6%)
38
(7%)
341
(10%)
12
(12%)
126
(18%)
Other property offenses 79
(2%)
264
(2%)
23
(4%)
71
(2%)
6
(6%)
6
(1%)
Theft 2,373
(70%)
3,164
(26%)
222
(41%)
602
(18%)
34
(35%)
113
(16%)
Total property 3,400
(100%)
12,170
(100%)
535
(100%)
3,384
(100%)
97
(100%)
700
(100%)

* Corrections data for 2005 through 2007 were unavailable; FY04 was used.
Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets, Juvenile Monitoring Information System, and Illinois Department of Corrections.

The majority of property offense arrests were for misdemeanors, while the majority of property offense commitments to IDOC were for felonies. Girls were arrested and committed to corrections for misdemeanors more often than boys.

Arrests for property offenses

Girls and boys were arrested for property offenses at about the same rate. However, girls' property offense arrests were more likely to be misdemeanors specifically misdemeanor retail theft.

While girls only accounted for 22 percent of all property offense arrests (n=3,400) in 2007, these arrests accounted for 32 percent of all girls' arrests in 2007. Similarly, 32 percent of all boys' arrests in 2007 were for property offenses (n=12,170).

Girls had a higher proportion of their arrests for less serious offenses compared to boys. In 2007, 75 percent of girls' property offense arrests were for misdemeanors (n=2,552), compared to 62 percent of boys' (n=7,511). Statistical analyses, discussed later in this report, found significant differences between the proportion of misdemeanor property arrests between boys and girls. Figure 19 depicts the proportion of property arrests by class and gender from 2002 to 2007.

Figure 19
Proportion of property arrests by offense class within gender, 2002-2007

Line Chart: Percent of Arrests by Gender (4 lines - Female Felony, Male Felony, Female Misdemeanor, Male Misdemeanor)

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Female Felony ~19% ~21% ~21% ~21% ~22% 25%
Female Misdemeanor ~80% ~79% ~79% ~78% ~76% 75%
Male Felony ~38% ~39% ~37% ~38% ~39% 38%
Male Misdemeanor ~62% ~61% ~63% ~63% ~61% 62%

Among property offense arrests, the proportion of female arrests for theft (n=2,373 or 70 percent) was higher than boys (n=3,164 or 26 percent). Eighty-five percent of girls' theft arrests (n=2,027) and 53 percent of boys' (n=3,690) were for retail theft. Table 5 shows property offense arrests by type, class, and gender for 2007.

Table 5
Property offense arrests by type, class, and gender, 2007

Property offense type Girls Boys
Misdemeanor Felony Misdemeanor Felony
Arson 0
(0%)
19
(100%)
0
(0%)
89
(100%)
Burglary 0
(0%)
146
(100%)
0
(0%)
2,385
(100%)
Criminal damage 240
(77%)
73
(23%)
2,056
(77%)
610
(23%)
Criminal trespassing 401
(100%)
0
(0%)
2,830
(100%)
6
(0%)
Motor vehicle theft 0
(0%)
69
(100%)
0
(0%)
765
(100%)
Other property offenses 35
(44%)
40
(51%)
136
(52%)
59
(22%)
Theft 1,876
(79%)
497
(21%)
2,488
(79%)
676
(21%)
Total of property offenses 2,552
(75%)
844
(25%)
7,511
(62%)
4,588
(38%)

Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets
Note: Percentages may not equal 100 percent because of Petty, Local, and Unknown offense classes

The difference between male and female arrests for misdemeanors and felonies in 2007 is significant but substantively small. A Chi-Square test found that there was a statistically significant association between gender and class (?2 = 151.28, df = 1, p<.001), but subsequent phi and phi-square tests, which are less sensitive to sample size, indicate virtually no association (? = 0.012, ?2 = 0.00015).

A Yule's Q statistic, shows that approximately 29 percent of the variance in offense class is predicted by gender (Q = 0.294). Additional statistical analyses examining gender differences are discussed later. Reporting misdemeanor arrests to CHRI is not mandatory, therefore, these findings are a conservative estimate.

Detention admissions for property offenses

Girls' detention admissions were less likely than boys' to be for property offenses overall but more likely to be for theft. Girls experienced a greater decline in their rate of property offense detention admissions than boys during the period studied.

Property offenses accounted for 20 percent of girls' admissions (n=535) and 26 percent of boys' (n=3,384). The proportion of girls' admissions for property offenses decreased 20 percent from 2002 to 2007, and their rate for every 100,000 ages 10 to 16 fell 35 percent. Boys experienced a smaller decrease in their rate of admissions for property offenses, only falling 9 percent during the period examined.

In 2007, most property offense detainments among girls were for theft (n=222 or 41 percent). Most property offense detainments among boys were for burglary (n=1,528 or 45 percent). Table 6 shows the number and proportion of admissions to detention for property offenses by type of offense and gender for 2007.

Table 6
Property offense admissions to secure detention by type and gender, 2007

Property offense type Girls Boys
Total Percent Total Percent
Arson 24 4.5% 77 2.3%
Burglary 105 19.6% 1,528 45.2%
Criminal damage 91 17.0% 577 17.1%
Criminal trespassing 32 6.0% 188 5.6%
Motor vehicle theft 38 7.1% 341 10.1%
Other property offenses 23 4.3% 71 2.1%
Theft 222 41.5% 602 17.8%
Total 535 100% 3,384 100%

Source: Juvenile Monitoring Information System

Fifty percent of girls' theft detention admissions were for retail theft (n=112), compared to 34 percent of theft admissions for boys (n=206). Boys were more likely to be detained for theft from buildings, motor vehicles, or machines (n=98 or 16 percent) than girls (n=25 or 5 percent).

Commitments to corrections for property offenses

Girls' commitments to a youth correctional facility were more likely than boys' to be for property offenses. Of those committed for property offenses, girls' property offense commitments were more likely to be for theft and misdemeanor offenses.

In FY04, property offenses accounted for 50 percent of girls' commitments to IDOC (n=97) and 46 percent of boys' commitments (n=700). Thirty-five percent of girls' property commitments (n=34) and 16 percent of boys' property commitments (n=113) were for theft. Fifty percent of boys committed for property offenses were for burglary (n=351), compared to 24 percent for girls committed for property offenses (n=23). Girls also had a higher proportion of property commitments for criminal trespassing (13 percent) than boys (4 percent).

The proportion of property commitments for misdemeanors was higher for girls (n=31 or 32 percent) than boys (n=102 or 15 percent) in 2004. Figure 20 depicts the proportion of IDOC property commitments by offense class and gender for FY04.

Figure 20
Proportion of IDOC property commitments by offense class and gender, FY04

Clustered Column Chart: Boys vs Girls and Felony vs Misdemeanor

Boys Girls
Felony 85% 68%
Misdemeanor 15% 32%

Source: Illinois Department of Corrections

Girls' arrests, admissions to detention, and commitments to corrections were more likely than boys' to be for less serious property offenses. Girls had a higher proportion of arrests and incarcerations for misdemeanors.

Girls also had a higher proportion of their arrests, detainments, and incarcerations for criminal trespassing and theft than boys. Boys' arrests, admissions to detention, and commitments to corrections were more likely to be for motor vehicle theft, arson, and burglary.


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