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10 Homicide Stud. 3 (2006)

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                                                                        H omnicide Studies

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Offending Rates

Differences and Similarities by

Victim-Offender Relations Across Cities

Dana  L. Haynie
The Ohio State University

David  P. Armstrong
The University at Albany, State University of New York


   Although gender and race are two of the best known correlates of violent crime, surpris-
   ingly little research has examined how gender and race intersect in the etiology of violent
   behavior. To redress this, the authors' study integrates a communities and crime perspec-
   tive within a gender inequality framework to examine the city-level correlates of homi-
   cide offending rates disaggregated by race and gender. Two questions are addressed: a)
   Are the contextual underpinnings for high rates of urban homicide in the United States
   similar or distinct across race and gender categories? b) Does the ability of city
   characteristics as predictors of violence vary depending upon the context of violence (i.e.,
   by victim-offender relationship)? Consistent with expectations, findings indicate that
   there are differences in the relative importance of predictors of homicide across race and
   gender categories. In addition, the relative importance of homicide predictors depends
   upon the nature of the victim-offender relationship.

   Keywords: gender; race; victim-offender relationship



C ompared to men, women commit a very small number of homicides (U.S.
     Department  of Justice, 2002). Therefore, it is not surprising that little research
has been directed at homicides committed by women.  On the other hand, homicide
statistics reveal that when women do commit homicide, it is overwhelmingly directed
at intimate partners and family members compared to men, who  disproportionately
target acquaintances and strangers (Dobash & Dobash, 1992; Jensen, 2001). This sug-
gests that there is something unique about gender and gender experiences that may
account for differing patterns of violent offending. Unfortunately, little research has
examined  the correlates of female homicide offending, and no research has dis-
aggregated rates by gender and race. Neglecting racial differences in women's use of


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