Gender differentials in crime: a case study of Kiambu county.
Mainah, Florence Muthoni
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This study is on gender differentials of crimes committed in Kiambu County, Kenya. It was inspired by the fact that, due to stereotype, gender-type expected behaviour, the society associates women with minor crime and men with major crime. Documented Information shows that social and behavioural scientists tend to focus on stereotyped male crime and generalise their findings on women. Therefore, there is carcity of studies on women's involvement in crime, especially in Kenya. This study addressed the gaps by examining gender differences in crime in Kiambu County. It presents a situational analysis of the types and causes of crime so as to establish its pattern(s) among men and women in Kiambu County. It explores the motives behind criminal activity and the effectiveness of the strategies put in place to curb it. The study was informed by Gender-based Schema Theory of criminal behaviour which in essence is a gender stereotype of what it means to be a man or woman in the society. The study used a case study design, employing triangulation method to collect gender disaggregated data (quantitative) and gender analytical information (qualitative data) as a way of gaining insight both at micro and macro levels of understanding crimes. The study samples were selected through non- probability. A total of 268 respondents were sampled. However, 263 responded. Quantitative data was collected through content analysis of Occurrence Book (OB) crime files recorded between January 2011 to December 2012, in Kiambu and Lari police divisional headquarters as well as questionnaires administered to the police officers working in crime department. Qualitative data was gathered through focus group discussions held with members of community policing committees, in-depth interviews with Officer Commanding Police visions(OCPDs) and Officer Commanding Stations(OCSs) and interviews with men and women convicts. Quantitative data was coded and analyzed. Qualitative data was presented thematically according to research objectives. The findings indicate that contrary to Gender Schema Theory and societal expectation, women, just like men, committed minor as well as major crimes. This study established that gender schema organization determined the pattern of crime committed, in terms of choice of victims' I' gender and age, time, season, venue, and methods. It also emerged that there were gender differentials in motive to commit crimes. It was clear that strategies put in place by stakeholders neither addressed the root cause nor were they gender specific, hence ineffective in curbing crime within the region. The study recommends that Kiambu County requires empowerment projects for men and women, gender studies to be introduced in the police training curriculum and other management strategies that are not only gender responsive but also tailored to suit the prevailing conditions.