THEY may be members of the fairer sex, known for their charm and beauty.
But the police are now saying that people should not be fooled by their soft demeanour as they can be hard and ruthless in much the same way as their male counterparts in the criminal underworld.
Local police have said that they are watching, with concern, the number of women accused of serious crimes.
Data from the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) last week showed that, in the last three months, at least seven women were arrested for their involvement in criminal activities, including murder, shooting with intent and armed robberies.
Police from several divisions have however argued that the number of cases of women being involved in criminal activities do not paint a true picture of how widespread the problem is.
Anthony Castelle, Senior Superintendent in charge of the St Catherine North Division, where two of the most notorious gangs — One Order and Clansman operate — agrees.
"We believe that the number of cases we are seeing provides evidence of involvement of women in crime but there are a lot of cases that are not reported," said Castelle.
He also spoke about the indirect role that women play when they assist the men by providing havens for them to hide after the men commit deadly crimes.
The police said that this could be seen even in crimes such as the Lotto scam, where young and old women are the ones collecting money at various financial outlets.
Superintendent Steve McGregor, head of the West Kingston Police Division, said that the development was a major cause for concern.
"In many cases, we are seeing where these women are the ones carrying the rounds, carrying the weapons for the men involved in crime," said Supt McGregor.
"These women are the ones who do the visits to the prisoners. They are couriers, and in many cases they are even more brazen," said McGregor.
He has, however, warned that, while the development made it more difficult for authorities to execute their duties, members of the island's security forces were onto the practice.
"We are aware of the practice, and would have been moving to put in place strategies to combat this development," McGregor said.
The latest case in which the police was able to clamp down on women and their involvement in a major crime was last Wednesday when a man was held up in his car at gunpoint by two women.
Head of St Andrew Central Police Division, Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey said that three women and a man, who are believed to be part of a criminal network, were held.
Reports from the police are that about 1:15 pm, a man went to a business place in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, to purchase items and was approached by one of the women.
The two started talking and, after a few minutes, the woman asked the man for $500 to purchase patties. He complied and offered to drive her to the Tastee store in the Half-Way-Tree square.
The man waited in his car while the woman went to buy the patties. She eventually returned with another woman, whom she introduced as a relative, and both got into the car.
That was when the motorist had the shock of his life.
The second woman, Bailey said, pulled a .45 pistol and ordered the man to drive towards Cross Roads.
As they approached that busy hub, they ordered him to turn onto Trevennion Park Road, which is a cul-de-sac.
Police reports are that when they got to the dead-end and the car stopped, the women then made an attempt to rob the man. However, he flipped the script on them by attacking the one with the gun.
In the ensuing struggle, a single shot was discharged from the weapon, causing the first woman who approached the man to flee.
The motorist managed to disarm the other thief and called the police who took the gun, which was loaded with seven live rounds.
The police then took the woman robber back to Half-Way-Tree and, during a sting operation, was able to arrest the others.
Following the incident, police appealed to the public to be alert.
"I am not going to say it is a trend, but we have seen and heard of a few instances where this has happened," one police officer said.
Last month, police in St Thomas also had their hands full, as two women and a boy, aged 16, were held in the parish following the shooting death of a taxi operator.
In St Mary, the police are investigating an incident in which a teacher of Hampstead in the parish was attacked and shot twice by two women in the parish's capital, Port Maria, last month.