The literature examining the crime–unemployment relationship is vast. Three recent developments in the analysis of this relationship are combined with a novel empirical method to explore the importance of gender effects and asymmetric adjustment when analysing the impact of unemployment
upon criminal activity. Using data for the United States of America, a number of interesting results are obtained. The key finding concerns the importance of gender, with opportunity effects in criminal activity detected when considering female, but not male, unemployment. Further examination
shows findings to support theories associated with ‘victimization’ and worsening socio-economic conditions, rather than those emphasizing ‘latchkey care’ effects and an absence of guardianship. Consideration of motivation effects provides further evidence of significant
asymmetries in the response of crime to unemployment.