Female Aggression On The Rise

In the past year, some violent offenders in East Texas have changed the face of crime as we know it.

Studies by the U.S. Department of Justice show more women are committing crimes, and the trend is consistent in East Texas.

The latest national study says the number of female offenders doubled between 1987 and 1994. And by 1997, women were responsible for 26 percent of juvenile offenses, 16 percent of violent crimes, 6 percent of homicides and 21 percent of aggravated assaults.

Forensic psychologist Thomas Allen, Ph.D, says in 20 years, he's seen a significant rise in female crime.

"Typically, women's roles in things like burglaries, robbery and armed robbery were secondary," Allen says. "Now they're more willing to pack a weapon themselves."

On November 12, 2002, 20-year old Eryka Templeton did just that. Templeton took a hand gun inside a Southside Bank and robbed them in broad daylight.

Three months earlier, a 16-year old on a robbery spree, killed two convenient store clerks before authorities took her and a boyfriend into custody.

Dr. Allen says when women's roles changed in society, some females started showing more signs of aggression.

"In a sense, their permission culturally to express their violence has elevated," he says."The changes were pretty evident by the 1970s. Women's sexuality became much more open, and they were willing to be sexually aggressive. I think that escalated and sort of generalized into other areas were they were more willing to be physically aggressive or more violent."

Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith says 99 women are currently in county jail, that number has doubled in the last decade.