Response to RainDog (Reply #27)
Wed Jun 20, 2012, 12:29 AM
seabeyond (108,526 posts)
41. is change.org ok with you. first one i grabbed.
Each year, the FBI fails to count hundreds of thousands of rapes in its Uniform Crime Report (UCR)—even missing many rapes that are reported to police. That’s because for over 80 years, the FBI has been using the same fundamentally flawed definition of “forcible” rape: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” to track rape statistics in the UCR.
This excludes rapes involving forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), rapes of men and transgender people and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults. Also, because the definition includes the word “forcibly,” police departments often interpret the rule (against UCR guidelines) as leaving out rapes of women with physical or mental disabilities and those who were unconscious or under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
A recent Ms. investigation revealed that the archaic definition plays a key role in the vast underreporting of rape in the U.S.:
· The FBI’s 2007 Uniform Crime Report listed 91,874 “forcible rapes”, but some estimates suggest the actual number may be 24 times higher.
· Police departments go to great lengths to look good on the UCR, the FBI’s comprehensive national crime report by which all U.S. police departments are judged, and federal funding is determined. Often this means interpreting “forcible rape” even more narrowly than the FBI does when classifying sexual crimes.
· Police departments across the country, notably Baltimore and Philadelphia, have been found to be juking the stats—coding legitimate rape cases as “unfounded” in order to make it appear that rape numbers have declined.
Without an accurate definition, we won't have accurate statistics about rape, and without accurate statistics, we will never have adequate funding for law enforcement to solve these crimes. A change in the definition of rape would lead to better law enforcement response and could thus reduce dramatically the incidence of rape.
It’s high time for a change. For rape survivors, a modern definition of rape at the federal level would acknowledge, once and for all, that rape is rape—and that the stories and experiences of all rape survivors count.
Make sure that all rapes are counted. Sign this petition to tell FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder to update the overly narrow, outdated “forcible rape” definition.
To their survey results the authors added interviews with officers still in the line of duty as well and retirees. What emerges is a picture of police culture in which quotas to reduce crime numbers for the seven major crimes tracked by Compstat — murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft – have promoted manipulation of numbers and especially the widespread downgrading of reports of serious crimes into lesser offenses.
“It’s intolerable that the numbers go up,” said Silverman, “so officers on the ground often downgrade incidents.”
The disparity between local hospital data and police crime statistics supports the officer’s statements. In 2009, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital on 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue treated 210 people for sexual assault, which it describes as rape, said Susan Xenarios of the hospital’s crime victims unit. Of those victims treated, 110 reported their assaults to police, yet the six precincts surrounding St. Luke’s Hospital reported a total of 58 rapes last year.
Here's an example of a typical police department's manipulation of crime reporting. In 2004, Atlanta's own police chief ordered an audit be carried out for crime reporting from previous years. The audit found that the city police department had underreported crime for many years in an attempt to boost the city's appeal to tourists and win the site selection process for the 1996 Olympics. The audit was carried out by the New York-based auditing firm Linder & Associates. It found that in many cases (22,000), crime reports were simply lost because the department was overworked, understaffed, and sloppy. However, in many other cases, crime incidents were deliberately downgraded, underreported, or discarded in order to make the city look good on paper. The result of all this deliberate activity was that the crime rate in Atlanta was reported as 7% lower than it should have been. The standard FBI crime report margin of error is 2%. It may also be noted that Atlanta has about 15 law enforcement agencies (university, hospital, public transportation police, etc.) which do not send their crime reports into either the Atlanta police or the FBI.
In a statement, Hall also said he is concerned by a Journal Sentinel investigation last month that found more than 500 serious assaults were misreported as lesser offenses. Those downgraded offenses don't get counted in the city's violent-crime figures, which Milwaukee police have reported as falling for four straight years. The Journal Sentinel review also found more than 800 additional cases that fit the same pattern but couldn't be verified with available public records.
Under Flynn's leadership, police have reported a 21% drop in serious crime since 2007. The number of felonies prosecuted by the Milwaukee County district attorney's office has dropped 2.6% over the same period.
"Such repeated broadcasting of crime statistics not only drives public perception of city safety, but also provides a key rationale for the public acceptance of such otherwise unacceptable police tactical impacts as longer police response times, steep racial disparities in traffic stops, and recently disclosed practice of unlawful body searches," Hall said.
"While there is no clear standard for error rates, we know that every city has an incentive to report a drop in crime," Hall said. "Reports of crime reductions may provide a short-term boost to city morale and perhaps even economic activity, but such boosts are illusory if based on false pretense. It is only the actual, sustainable, real-life crime reductions that create lasting and undeniable benefit for our city. It is important that the reported numbers reflect reality. We cannot chart a proper path to a stronger city unless we first have an accurate and realistic reporting of data."
Coverage of "downgrading" crimes
The department concluded that the unit had written off 1,822 crimes in those years, including 681 rapes.
The New Orleans Police Department: Melding
Police and Policy to Dramatically Reduce Crime in
the City of New Orleans
he Senate Crime and Drugs subcommittee has asked representatives of the Office of Violence Against Women to appear in Washington to discuss the problem, as well as a Pennsylvania woman jailed by police who erroneously accused her of making a false rape report.The Sun reported in July that Baltimore for years led the nation in the percentage of rape cases in which police concluded that the victim was lying, with more than 3 in 10 cases determined to be "unfounded." Other cities have seen disturbingly high percentages of uninvestigated or dropped rape cases in years past, and a women's advocate in Philadelphia pushed for the congressional hearing after the Sun's investigation reignited concerns.
The newspaper's report "made me believe that all of the issues were not just idiosyncratic problems, but that there is likely a chronic and systemic failure in police departments," said Carol E. Tracy, head of the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia. "I think it's important to expose it, and to encourage the federal government, which has very little jurisdiction around this, to nevertheless exercise greater accountability on the data that it does receive."
Tracy's group reviews rape reports marked as unfounded by Philadelphia police. The hearing was authorized by Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Democrat and former prosecutor who heads the Judiciary Committee.
The Sun analysis showed that four out of 10 calls to 911 over a five-year period had not generated a police report, having been dismissed by officers at the scene. Victims have reported being interrogated by detectives about their motives and truthfulness, while others said patrol officers ignored their allegations.
there is a start.
i know it will be ignore.
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