It is a surprise to no one that Massachusetts crime can happen to anyone. Anyone can be a victim…male or female. The assumption used to be, however, that males are more likely to be perpetrators of those crime than females.
There is now a movement to concentrate on the realization that plenty of Massachusetts females becomecriminal defendants, including in Massachusetts assault crimes, as well.
Yesterday, we dealt with one such case. One young lady repeatedly stabbed another young lady in Dorchester with a butcher knife. What the young man the two had in common did at the time is at issue.
A 15-year-old Hyde Park girl who was arrested last month after police alleged that she was among a mob who beat up an MBTA driver at a bus stop on Columbia Road in Dorchester.
Charlestown police tell about another group of girls. According to the authorities, the girls were all friends. Key word : “were”.
One not-so-fine evening in February, three of them attacked a fourth. They punched her, pulled her hair, and as she lay defenseless, prosecutors said, one of the girls, 17-year-old Samantha Owen, stole $30 from the girl’s purse.
Granted, sexual assaults are not committed by females as often as they are by males, but other types of assaults are areas in which the ladies seem to be catching up.
City officials, alarmed by a string of high-profile cases and by what they say is a worrisome climate of fear among girls in some neighborhoods, are launching a public service campaign aimed at girls who may be headed toward violence.
“This is an issue,” said Marie St. Fleur, a top aide for Mayor Thomas M. Menino on urban issues who is leading the campaign. “We are trying to get our arms around it.”
The campaign involves a marketing blitz of positive messages in neighborhoods such as Dorchester and Roxbury that will include billboards and posters, as well as posts on social media. the primary targets of such a movement have long been males who are at risk in troubled areas. For example, a $10 million statewide antiviolence measure announced two years ago specifically targeted males ages 14 to 24.
Things have changed.
It is no longer uncommon to see stories in which females fueling gang feuds and staging fights that I posted on YouTube and Facebook.
Recent surveys of teen females by officials looking to address educational gaps and health issues, such as sexually transmitted diseases, discovered girls in some neighborhoods named violence as a key issue.
On the other hand, Boston police data show violent crimes among females 13 to 24 fell from 408 in 2008 to 217 in 2012. And the state Department of Youth Services had a peak of 514 troubled girls in its care in 2003, but just 190 in 2011 and 100 so far this year, said commissioner Edward Dolan.
And, as mentioned yesterday, you know how highly we value such police and DYS reports.
Back in reality, officials and advocates who work with girls will tell you that say that “If you talk to young girls they will tell that there is violence,” said St. Fleur. “I don’t walk in their shoes on a day-to-day basis, but they have to navigate the communities they are in right now. . . . When we talked to the girls, public safety and violence were among the top things they talked about. ”
Mercedes Reyes, 17, said it is tough to be a girl in Uphams Corner. Not only does she have to deal with the indignity of catcalls from boys driving by in cars, but she has to walk a fine line with girls as well. “Sometimes they just . . . mess with you for no reason,” she said.
And some girls, said 17-year-old Precious Natal, “like to threaten other girls.”
Girls have traditionally committed fewer crimes than boys, but some youth advocates say that girls have been the source of jealousy that has caused violence between rival teen males.
“Males in conflict will use the girls as pawns,” said Sheri Bridgeman, director of programs at the Center for Teen Empowerment, a local nonprofit. “They are being used and are caught in the middle.”
St. Fleur said fights in Dudley Square, the triple homicides last year, and the stabbing near Savin Hill train station are all examples of the need for youth advocates to unite around girls to keep them out of trouble. Here the city is mobilizing 30 community groups that work with girls to help in the effort.
The girls’ campaign, still in its infancy, is focusing on the so-called “Circle of Promise,” a city-designated swath of Dorchester, Roxbury, and other neighborhoods long mired in poverty, crime, and teenage pregnancy.
In the next few weeks, St. Fleur and aide Ramon Soto will hold community meetings, brainstorming sessions, and talk with girls about how to shape the campaign’s message. Girls involved in Girlz Radio, a Dorchester-based Internet station, and at the Holland and Marshall community centers are also helping.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Crime, Punishment And The “Fairer Sex”
When I Moved my adventures in the criminal justice trenches back to Boston,I remember being told that female defendants had a much better chance not being sentenced to jail or prison than their male counterparts even for the same crimes. I found it to be basically true.
That was quite a few years ago.
These days, especially as women become more and more prominent in the criminal justice system on all sides of the aisle, I find it to be less true. Of course, it is worth noting, that back then, most of the crimes women were accused of where non-violent crimes. Today, and for the purposes of this post then, we are talking about females and violent crime.
An exception to this would be domestic violence cases, in which, eight times out of 10, the woman is automatically considered the victim in the mail the perpetrator.
In violent crimes, defending a female is often much different than defending a mail. As always, the trial attorney must keep in mind his or her audience, in this case the jury or the judge.
There is much to tell you about this topic. Before, we will continue in my next blog.
For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/04/07/new-girls-campaign-boston-city-officials-will-tackle-violence/t8JB7ld5710g6QoeKXPyvJ/story.html