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Keywords:

  • Gender;
  • burglary;
  • networks

Criminological researchers have devoted substantial attention to the nature and dynamics of residential burglary, but the role played by gender in shaping this offense remains largely unexplored. Feminist ethnographers have documented the fact that streetlife is highly gendered, and that this typically serves to marginalize women's participation in criminal networks and activities. Therefore, it appears likely that residential burglary—a prototypically social offense that requires good network connections—will be strongly influenced by gender dynamics. In this study, we analyze in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 18 female and 36 male active residential burglars to examine the ways in which gender structures access to, participation in, and potential desistance from, residential burglary. In doing so, we aim to provide an insider's view of how gender stereotypes are expressed, reinforced, and exploited within streetlife social networks, and how these networks shape the lived experience of men and women engaged in residential burglary.