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Female suspect in Elkhart carjacking, growing trend of women accused of crimes

ELKHART, Ind. -- A woman is accused of carjacking a car in Elkhart County, with two kids scared for their lives in the backseat. ABC57 News is learning more and more women are being accused of criminal activity 

"[It's] very unusual to have a female that does something. A lot of times we don't see females who engage in violence like this," says Sgt. Chris Snyder with the Elkhart Police Department. 

A female suspect committed auto-theft Friday, threatening the children still in the car. 

"She said, 'I have a gun and I don't want to hurt you," recounts 15-year-old Cristina Perez, one of the kids in the car. 

It's a bold move says Sgt. Snyder.

"Even though no one was hurt, to take a kid with two cars in it...that's pretty desperate," he adds.

Desperation. That's what police say could be driving up the numbers of women arrested or incarcerated for committing crimes. 

In Elkhart, in June alone, 92 women were arrested. 

It's not the only place seeing the jump.

"Nationwide and worldwide, I think we are starting to see a trend of females who are more involved with crimes, where in the past they haven't been," explains Sgt. Snyder.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, since 2010, the female jail population is the fastest growing in correctional facilities. 

Each year, those numbers grow 3.4%.

But that's not the end of it.

In 1990, 14% of defendants in court were women.  But almost ten years later, in 2009, women made up 17%. 

It's a rapidly growing trend.

Women behind bars, or in cuffs, is something that Sgt. Snyder thinks we'll probably see more of.

"If you look at some of the violence with video games and television... I think there are a lot of different aspects," he says. "Maybe they are a single mom, or a single female trying to accomplish something or get away from something."

The number of women involved with crimes continues to grow in Elkhart County.

ABC57 received some statistics from the county prosecutor's office.

The numbers indicate that so far this year, they're already on track to beat last year's rate of women who are charged with felonies. 

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