, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 121-135

Aggregation effects on male-to-female arrest rate ratios in New York State, 1972 to 1984

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The purpose of this paper is to assess the effects of data aggregation on a specification of the relationship between sex and arrest rate trends. The analysis focuses on the empirical implications when arrest data are aggregated across dimensions that are likely to affect the sex-crime relationship. The data for the analysis consist of 4,119,358 male and female adult arrests in New York State for the 13-year period ending in 1984. Results indicate that race, regional differences, and the legal seriousness of the arrest charge produce significantly different patterns of sex convergence across time. On the basis of these results, we suggest serious limitations in past analyses of female crime rates and in the value of Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for addressing theoretically relevant questions concerning the social correlates of official crime.