Female Presence In Gangs On Rise
Posted February 6, 2006 6:02 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Investigators in Wake County and across the nation say there is an increase in the number of school-age girls joining gangs.
The reason, they say, is that gangs are using women to move illegal items, such as drugs and weapons, because they think officers will be less likely to search women.
"We know that the women need to be treated just as dangerous -- as just as possibly dangerous -- as the males," said Capt. Walter Martin, with the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities say the increase is in both high school and middle school students.
Raleigh middle school students, and sisters, Missy Jones and Shanika Jones say they stay away from gang activity but can see how girls get lured into the groups.
"They're trying to get a boyfriend, trying to be popular, stuff like that," said Missy Jones.
"Because maybe, you know, the boys are trying to get the girls to have sex," Shanika Jones said.
Wake County Public School System security director Russ Smith said the school system is very aware of gang activity and is being proactive in trying to prevent violence. He said the schools reflect what is going on with teenagers nationwide and that gangs are something the school system cannot ignore.
According to the Governor's Crime Commission, in 2004, Wake and Harnett Counties have some of the largest concentrations of identified gangs in the state -- more than 20 percent. Cumberland County ranks third with between 11 and 19 gangs. Durham, Orange, Nash and Wilson counties report no more than 10 different groups.