In January 2007 I posted a blog titled “Are Girls Getting More Violent?” Now, a year and a half later, I can report to you the answer: No. A bulletin titled “Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context” that was released last month by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice shows that while the arrest rate of teenage girls for violent crime (in particular simple assault) has gone up, violent crimes by this group have not increased. Even more interesting, the rate of violence among teenage girls has not increased in comparison to that of teenage boys. However, as I noted in my previous blog, “according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report data from 1992 to 2003, the number of girls arrested rose 6.4 percent. Girls arrested on assault charges rose 41 percent during that same time period.”
With this new information telling us that girls aren’t more violent, why does it still seem like they are? Is it the fact that the media splashes it everywhere when something like the beating of a Florida girl by her peers happens? Is it that you can log on to Youtube and watch any number of videos showing girls beating each other up? Or is it because there has been a change in acceptance of this behavior, causing policies to be enacted such as three strikes laws that are causing a rise in arrests where before the problem would have been handled outside the legal system?
So I ask the same question I asked a year and a half ago: Regardless of whom or what is to blame and why, the question that really needs to be answered is what can be done to prevent this behavior from occurring in the first place?