Statistics:• The average age of a female gang member is 24 years. The average recruitment age for girl is 10.• There are very few all girl gangs. Only 2% of all gangs are female only.• 65% of girls in jail have a psychological issue such as clinical depression or generalized anxiety• 26% of girls in jail have been in special education.• 70% of girls in jail report having been sexually abused or victimized as children• Female gang members commit fewer crimes and violence: Their incarcerations tend to be for drug use, larceny, petty theft, status offenses or domestic issues (e.g. fights with parents and runaway).
Definition of a Gang• A group of adolescents who ban together for mutual protection and profit.• Must prove their loyalty by committing acts of theft or violence.• Claim control over territory or turf.• Engage in violent or illegal acts individually or collectively.
Factors that contribute togirls joining gangs:• Learning disabilities & emotional disorders.• School failure and truancy.• No involvement in positive activities outside of school.• Friends and peers who are delinquent.• Early involvement in petty theft and behavioral disorders in grade school.• Low Income.
Seeking Asylum• Girls join gangs to: • Feel a sense of family and belonging. • For protection from other gangs and individuals. • To gain status or respect in their communities or among peers.
Location of GangsGangs are more active in smaller cities and ruralcounties. Every city in the U.S. with at least 250,000people has gang activity.
Girl Gangs are oftenMisunderstood• Girl gangs are not a new phenomena but have been overlooked for their male counterparts or have not been taken seriously until recently.Their membership has been documented since the 1800’s but has escalated to new heights in the past 20 years.
Independent EntityGirl gangs were once thought to be dependent on theirmale counterparts, acting as “bait” for other gangs amongother purposes. They were recently found to be a separateentity with the ability to gain their own status in thecommunity. Girls can organize their own gangs, displaymasculine behavior, carry guns and commit violent andillegal acts.
Disguise & MaskingTechniques:• Girls in gangs make their gender more masculine through male associated dress. ie. Dark clothing and hoodies. They minimize their sexual attributes through their dress, speech and behavior and become more socially invisible in a gang.
Warning Signs:• Sudden poor academic performance.• Non-involvement with school.• Using gang GRAFFITI on book covers, folders.• Suddenly purchasing or wanting clothing all of one color (especially blue or red).• Wearing sagging pants down to the hips.• Sudden change in friends.• Developing sudden rebellious attitude with parents and teachers.• Starting to show signs of tobacco, alcohol or drug use.• Having friends who use tobacco, alcohol or drugs.• Sudden affluence (money, clothing, etc.)• Sudden negative police contact.• Excessive disciplinary referrals.
Prevention Techniques forParents and Teachers:• Teach kids early about gangs.• Listen to them.• Allow kids time with positive role models.• Invite motivational speakers to their school.• Focus on their attributes and skills.• Talk to them about staying on track and their future goals.• Steer them to programs where they can help out in the community.• Be a positive example yourself.
RecommendationsBig Brothers and Big Sisters. (2012). Children and gangs info training. Retrievedfrom:http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CFgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbbs.org%2Fatf%2Fcf%2F%257B75B46C48-D5A9-4901-BBE1-DBBF375A1D96%257D%2FChildren%2520and%2520Gangs%2520info%2520Training.ppt&ei=6rntT72fOejN6QGZ_KibCg&usg=AFQjCNGxSelM4LdXzM4pcRS8mb4u1LMFgQ&sig2=srcim_cTIMlAotTVV0N-MAGangs and at risk kids. (2010). Retrieved from:http://www.gangsandkids.com/gstats.htmlFriedman, L. (2010). The descriptive essay: Gangs. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.Johnson, J. (2008). Bullies and gangs. Mankato: Stargazer Books.