Girl Gangs and the Female Crime Wave in America Essay

6758 Words 28 Pages
Starting in the 1980s, reports of female involvement in gangs, drug sales, and violence began to surface as a serious problem in America. To support claims of increased female delinquency, reporters and scholars often cite crime statistics or anecdotes from field studies. The reasons they give to explain this female crime wave generally fall into one of two categories: drugs as a means for economic success the idea that the increased availability of crack cocaine provides economic means to poverty-ridden women suffering from the effects of urbanization and deindustrializationand social movements the idea that female “liberation” has hit the streets.

Statistics on female crime and gang involvement may leave the public with little reason
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They’re becoming much more autonomous.” Coinciding with the notion of female liberation and increased equality in other parts of society, the media have often used the concept of “liberation” to explain the rise in female gang involvement (Miller 4; Pearson).

The liberation hypothesis as an explanation for female gang involvement and delinquency is rooted in scholarly thinking. Freda Adler, author of Sisters in Crime, says, “In the same way that women are demanding equal opportunity in fields of legitimate endeavor, a similar number of determined women are forcing their way into the world of major crimes” (13). Economic factors are also cited as reasons for increased gang involvement. Arguing that “a new attitude of female criminal independence is emerging” and that the “male-female gang relationship is also being altered,” scholars like Taylor claim that an influx of crack cocaine in the mid 1980s, during a time of deindustrialization and increased poverty, provided females with incentive to take advantage of “gender-neutral” employment opportunities on the street—and continues to do so. He says, “The social structure and economic plight of Detroit and other cities play a significant part in…

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