In the past criminal gangs were mostly a thing of the Boys and girls were not that common in the practice as they were termed as being inferior. This was the time when masculinity ruled the streets and even if a lady committed a crime she wouldn’t be suspected as much as a boy would. Historically female gangs have been in existence but mostly they were hidden in male gangs and they had special roles to play such as hoarding drugs, carrying weapons and being used as ‘sex objects’ (MILLER). With them camouflaging they felt like inferior and their roles were not making a statement, this was attributed to their small numbers like in most gangs they mostly made up 10% of the gang members.
This trend of ladies being protected by being in the male gangs has changed nowadays and they are proving to be dangerous and they can be involved in violence like their male groups but the magnitude of their acts never surpasses those of the male gangs (Delaney). This came into the limelight during the shooting of Tayshana Murphy at the Morningside heights in September 2011. Upon investigation it was revealed that she was involved in rivalry with a member of a gang she was in and thus she was shot; this also includes the teen Raven Walker who was arrested for stabbing to death a young boy in June 2010 when a gang fight broke up on the Gunther Avenue (Hamilton).
According to reports from different media houses and the department of justice the rise of female gangs has been worrying and something which needs to be addressed at all cost, like currently there are more than 10 female gangs in the US and most of these ladies they come from the hoods where violence and gun fighting is a normal thing like sipping a Sprite drink on the sandy beaches. This is because of the attraction by the flashy lifestyles and getting quick money all at a go; this also comes up as part of protecting themselves and making it an official identity among themselves. This also constitutes of social instability among their backgrounds, lack of supporting structure made them to find where they can be loved and appreciated (Carrasco). In situations where a female was Jobless and hard hit with life selling drugs and transporting weapons became one of their profitable avenues to make ends meet. Some of these notorious female gangs include; Brooklyn, 2 Gurl Gunnas, Billion Dolla Beauties, Hood Barbies, the Harlem Hiltons and Gun Clappin Divas as police reports indicate. These female gangs have thrown out their reserved character and adopted a violent one which they use also to act as ambush baits for other male gangs who have affiliations with them and according to the trends being witnessed nowadays by the youth counselors it has become almost impossible for teens to refuse joining the female gangs. The baits laid by the female crews has led to even good girls joining them just for fun and identifying with the hood and funny enough these kids perform well in school. Their most common weapon that each of them has is a clutter knife which they can hide on their pockets or bags without being noticed.
The rise in the numbers of the female gangs has attracted the attention of different stakeholders of the society into investigating and getting the root cause of the and a report that was released by the US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, it showed that the participation gaps in gangs between gangs had been closed down as males from high crime risk areas/hoods had 8.8% with the female’s 7.8% (Howell). These gangs although exhibit a different behavior on class and factors of involvement, this is because in most times it’s taken a black ladies and Latinos are the ones who get recruited in gangs, but that isn’t a factor as most of them were found to come from urban areas that experience poverty and high unemployment. Therefore, most researchers say that race cannot be blamed but the background setting of the families and their social life level (class).
With the increasing trend of girls joining the female gangs, its undoubtedly that the issue needs serious assessment. According to the National Gang Assessment Report released on 2008 most teens cited family and protection as an issue to joining gangs. The mentioning of the family brings into light the failures on close monitoring by the parents or kids being harassed at home then later join gangs. This is because the Females find themselves in an abusive family under deteriorating conditions making them feel lonely and aggressive by joining the gangs they find family and identity. This sister gangs go ahead as much as protecting their own at all circumstances, this is a trait which shows that their establishment depends on the formation of a male gang around their hood for they copy most of their operation techniques and maneuvers which make them untraceable in times of crime.
Apart from the above acclaimed issues for ladies forming the gangs, the issue of popular culture also has been very poignant in their formation and membership. This happens because the media presented it to being good. Most of them found it to be attractive to be in gang as they will be dressing as tomboys and throwing crazy-wild parties. The gangs start slowly with the idea of being friends to go out for runs and running social trips as per their wishes and it grows out to be a full organization for crime and fulfilling their economic gains.
According to one study (Irving A. Spergel), these gangs can be stopped and the ladies saved for the better of their future like those who still perform well and had not been hooked on to drugs and substance abuse, this includes the use of Community Organization and creating social opportunities such as Jobs and family friendly grounds for heart-heart talks. In the past suppressing the females and checking them to counseling services were the most used strategies but these ones were not effective as still these females went back to their old behaviors immediately when their parole period was over; but this cannot be the case if the Government through the non-governmental organizations can help and mobilize community Organizations for a better cause which will impact the society well. This is because if the ladies are not saved from their behaviors most of them like 84% in gangs will end up having kids and no responsible spouses as their engagements were random. Hence to save a community and create a good image investing on police and suppression will only escalate the problems social support and jobs are very vital in fighting these war of rising female street gangs which expose ladies to many dangers like sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancies, death and substance abuse.
Carrasco, Valaree. “Female Gang Participation: Causes and Solutions.” 2 June 1999. Stanford.Edu. Electronic. 23 April 2018.
Delaney, Tim. AMERICAN STREET GANGS. W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2016. DOCUMENT.
Hamilton, Brad. “Rise of the girl gangs.” 4 December 2011. NEW YORK POST. ELECTRONIC. 22 APRIL 2018.
Howell, James C. “Gang Prevention.” An Overview of Research and Programs . 2010. PDF.
Irving A. Spergel, Ronald L Chance and G. David Curry. “National Youth Gang Suppression and Intervention Program.” Irving A. Spergel, Ronald L Chance and G. David Curry. National Youth Gang Suppression and Intervention Program. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1991. 308. PDF.
MILLER, JODY. ONE OF THE GUYS: GIRLS,GANGS AND GENDER. Douglas & McIntyre, 2006. E-BOOK.