The Prevalence Of Crime In Young Girls

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When you think of people committing violent crimes, your first thought of a suspect is most-likely not a young girl.
Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford learns the statistics are changing.
The FBI says girls are getting increasingly violent with more arrests to prove it.
They say girls now account for 29 percent of all juvenile arrests, up from 23 percent in 1990.
Here in Tennessee, the numbers vary, but one social worker tells us violent behaviors in young girls are on the rise.
Brenda Conrad with the Florence Crittenton Agency says, "It used to be the boys had a lot more problems, and in recent years we've seen behaviors in the girls escalate quite a bit. They start at a very early age. By the time kids get deeply involved in the system, there's already been things happen that they may not even think to tell you about."
Conrad says they work with girls with all types of problem behaviors.
"It can be something as basic as truancy or acting out in school one way or another, or something as severe as drug abuse or criminal behavior."
Conrad says their agency is seeing more and more girls acting out, but she wonders why?
"We see a lot of parents who are involved in drug abuse in criminal behaviors and the children just kind of follow suit because that's the model they've had."
State-wide, juvenile female arrests for murder went up in 2004 and back down to zero in 2005.
Aggravated assault increased in 2005, and arson increased every year and drug violations jumped in 2004.
Conrad continues, "We see girls kind of lashing out on their own. There's a lot of anger. Sometimes it's connected with domestic violence."
Conrad says there are some warning signs you should be on the lookout for in an adolescent girl.
For example, if they are skipping school, sleeping in classes, if their grades drop, if they have outbursts of anger, or if they are not talking at all.
"There's a lot of indicators that there might be a problem, and for that they don't need wide-scale intervention, what they need to do is sit down and talk to them."
Conrad says violent and sexual images in the media may also contribute to young females acting out violently.