Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gendered Alternative to Cyber Fraud Participation: An Assessment of Technological Driven Crime in Lagos State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gendered Alternative to Cyber Fraud Participation: An Assessment of Technological Driven Crime in Lagos State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

It has been variously established that gender determines crime participation to a very large extent. Evidential facts in myriad of criminological studies elucidated that there exists a wide gap in the number or prevalence of crimes linkable to the gendered categories with women often accounted low in participation in all forms of crime. Despite the existence of this gap, women's crime has been a neglected field over the years and the only aspect of discursive criminality touching on women from time immemorial tends to revolve around the protective strategy or efforts directed against their victimization. Major concerns in scholarly writings examine the right of women (Pachauri, 2010); violence against women (Singh, 2015) and violent victimization (CCJS, 20'0) just to mention a few. Law breaking by women has received little attention due to male domination of the field of criminology in the past. Similarly, early criminological studies ignore female crime (Cohen, 1955; Cloward and Ohlin, 1960; Hirschi, 1969) with the exception of Pollack (1961) who explored dimensions of female criminality. Generalizations and theoretical leanings in criminological discipline often borrow in most cases from samples drawn from male offenders and in the process neglecting the peculiarities of female criminality. This attitudinal neglect may be due in part to the low magnitude and the high victimization impact of female criminality. Women often engage in crimes that are easy, lie in the domain of their acquired skills, having a good pay-off and low risks. Further explanation to this lies in the fact that female oriented crimes are less common and less life threatening or severe unlike the crimes mostly perpetrated by men. They are known to be prone to petty property crimes such as welfare and credit card fraud, and public order crime such as prostitution (Smart, 1979; Steffensmeier and Steffensmeier, 1978; Weis, 1976). Under representation of female criminality has been attributed to many factors by Otto Pollack (1961). Apart from the fact that crime records often look the other way on female crime, it is vividly clear that in term of severity female crimes fall within petty type. Women are most likely to commit acquisitive crimes such as shoplifting or fraud (NOM's briefing, 2006). While women do commit broad range of offences, they commit less crime than men and are less dangerous and violent than their male counterpart (Heidensohn, 1996; Silvestri and Crowther-Dowey, 2008:26). Men who are victim of female crimes seldom report them for several reasons. Another important trend in female crime recording is the uniformity in reporting the nature of female criminality as less rewarding (Dornfied and Kruttschnitt, 1991). Processing women criminality via law enforcement units equally engenders conflict due to the likelihood of pretence on their part and the preconceived notion about them. Officers are less likely to arrest or prosecute female offenders and when adjudicated they are likely to be acquitted than men. In summary, female crimes are less likely to be detected and if detected such crimes are more likely to be treated leniently. This paper therefore in cognizance of the peculiarity of female crime examines their contribution to the increasing rate of cyber fraud in Nigeria. The paper however used Lagos State as a point of focus. From the outset, it is important to note that the data used in this paper comprise of outcomes drawn specifically from a youths study that embodied both male and female as respondents. However, by intent, effort was deliberate made to generate equality of representation in order to give more insight and fair share to female participation in cyber fraud activism in Nigeria. It is also important to draw attention to the interchangeable use of the two concepts women and female both bearing synonymous connotation and deliberately adopted all through the body of this work.

Theoretical Framework

It is important to note that virtually everyone holds some views about the causes of crime and by implication about how to prevent, control and respond to it (Brown, Esbensen and Geis, 2010). …

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