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Archive for Monday, November 23, 2009

Reported rapes hit six-year high

November 23, 2009, 12:00 a.m. Updated November 23, 2009, 12:30 p.m.

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Sexual Assaults in Lawrence: Not an uncommon crime

In the past five years, more than 450 adult sexual assaults have been reported in Lawrence. There's a rape in Lawrence every four days. Each case represents an instance where someone’s life has been irrevocably changed. LJWorld.com, the Lawrence Journal-World and 6News are taking a deeper look at what those numbers really mean.

Rapes reported to police in Lawrence have reached a six-year high in just the first nine months of 2009, rising from 37 in 2008 to 53 so far this year, according to information obtained by the Journal-World through a public records request.

Information about the frequency and location of sexual assaults in Lawrence this year was combined with data gathered during a series of articles about sexual assaults earlier this year. The data provide a look at sexual assault trends in Lawrence.

In addition to the increase in reported rapes, an examination of the data found that, through the first nine months of 2009:

• The 107 total sexual assaults in Lawrence are on pace to surpass last year’s total of 108, but are in line with the five-year average of 134 per year between 2004 and 2008.

• The 53 reported rapes matched a six-year high of 53 reported in 2007. Reported rapes averaged 47 per year from 2004 to 2008.

• Sexual assaults are reported throughout Lawrence, but several clusters of cases emerge from the mapped data, including 20 percent of reports coming from the downtown area, and from north and east of Kansas University.

About the project

A public records request to the Lawrence Police Department asked for the date, time, and block location of all sexual assaults reported to police from Jan. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2009. Information was not available on whether the victim and assailant knew each other.

Here's a breakdown on how many sexual assaults were reported during the first nine months of this year:

• Rape - 53

• Sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery - 21

• Aggravated indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a child - 16

• Aggravated criminal sodomy and criminal sodomy - 9

• Unlawful voluntary sexual relations - 4

• Sexual exploitation of a child - 2

• Aggravated indecent solicitation of a child - 2

Hard to draw conclusions

But are the data really an indicator that rapes are increasing in Lawrence? And do the numbers of reported sex crimes really provide an accurate picture of trends in a community?

“The problem with these numbers is that it’s hard to make any conclusions,” said Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.

Callie Rennison, a criminal justice professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis, said the numbers can be skewed by myriad factors. Increases could be attributable to more reporting of sex crimes to police and not an increase in actual occurrence, she said.

“I think the numbers are important. I would just caution people from looking at what is reported to the police and concluding that there is an ‘epidemic’ or huge increase in rape,” she said.

Rennison also said that it takes years to see whether such crimes are really becoming more frequent in a community.

“It remains to be seen whether this is a ‘trend’ of increasing rape or just a blip,” Rennison said. “Only time can tell us that.”

Increases in reports can occur when there an emphasis by authorities to report sex crimes more often, she said. But Branson said his office has not done anything differently in that area in 2009.

“We don’t really see any correlation why reports are up,” he said.

Sarah Jane Russell, director of the Lawrence-area sexual assault services agency GaDuGi, said an increases in sexual assault reports to police could mean that people in the community are feeling more comfortable opening up about being victims.

“There’s a positive to this,” she said. “(Victims know) there is support if this happens to you.”

Comments

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

"Increases could be attributable to more reporting of sex crimes to police and not an increase in actual occurrence, she said."

Standard answer so the public does not worry.

boothillbilly 5 years ago

Does increased reporting (not necessarily occurrence) mean that more and more women will be turned away from Lawrence Memorial when they go to report an assault?

Does this also mean that there will be a greater number of prosecutions/convictions for rapes, or will this too be swept under the rug?

Mel Briscoe 5 years ago

barry, you know what? rape is a crime of violence, not sex. so if you castrate said individuals, they may not be able to stick themselves into someone else but they could very well find other just as violent things to do to people. castration is very medieval and i doubt it would be effective in stopping someone from harming others.

Randall Uhrich 5 years ago

I'd like to know how many of these rapes and assaults are solved by the police. More intensive investigation would go a long ways towards deterrence. I think a lot of parents would think twice about sending their daughters to KU if they realized how common rapes were in Lawrence.

yoornotmee 5 years ago

It's a map of which parts of town I'm not moving to.

jimmyjms 5 years ago

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Stuart Evans 5 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jimmyjms 5 years ago

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CHANDLER007 5 years ago

AREUNORMAL--You're kidding me, right? You blame the victims for being raped? They were asking for it?

G_E 5 years ago

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paavopetie 5 years ago

If Lawrence is anything like the rest of the country, arrest rates for rape and sexual assault are extremely low. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/10/earlyshow/main5600821.shtml

Mel Briscoe 5 years ago

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AnnaUndercover 5 years ago

@AreUNorml I submit that perpetrators are responsible for their own behavior.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years ago

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years ago

jimmyjms Don't take the Lord's name in vain.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

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Stuart Evans 5 years ago

Also, I too submit that individuals who rape & assault are responsible for their own actions. I'm also pointing out that when you combine sexually charged atmosphere with young hormones, you are inviting a scenario that can be extremely fun between consenting adults and go extremely bad when one backs out of the nights flirtations at the last moment.

I do not condone rape or assault. I do however condone smart thinking when you're about to down that 3rd tequila shot and hit the dance floor to go rub on that cute guy one more time.

monkey_c 5 years ago

AreUNormal did sound like a rape apologist. And it was sickening to read. But there's nothing partisan about rape apologists...give me a break. No manner of dress or behavior on the dance floor is an invitation for sexual asault. That being said, how you present yourself does send a message. It is risky behavior to dress like a whore and rub up on people you do not know. Risky behavior yes. Justification for assault, absolutely not.

Mel Briscoe 5 years ago

i need to watch that show, tom, from what little bit i've seen the humor is right up my alley. :)

wow-- all of these deletions! and what i said wasn't really bad but i guess since it was in response to someone else's asinine comment it had to go down the old cyber toilet as well.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

what's with the removed posts? there was NOTHING in there that wasn't 100% true. It seems that a lot of people can't stomach to look at the world through a different perspective. What a cute little world you all must live in with your heads buried in the sand. Mr. Kealing, please email me with my posts and a markup of exactly what was found to be against your company's use policy.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

Monkey C says: "...That being said, how you present yourself does send a message. It is risky behavior to dress like a whore and rub up on people you do not know. Risky behavior yes. Justification for assault, absolutely not."


what is the risk of that behavior if it does not lead to assault? provoke a piece of crap rapist and you might just get raped. that is the risk.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

I'm so sorry that I came across as a "rape apologist". What I'm most sorry about is that, with the exception of Irish, you people don't get what I'm saying. I don't apologize for rapists. What I do is see things in a way that you can't imagine or don't want to imagine. How many of you fathers out there would see your kid going out to the club wearing a mini-skirt and enough makeup to make a prostitute blush, and let them go? Or at least not say something. and why wouldn't you? because you know that if someone dresses like a hooker they'll be treated like a hooker. If my daughter were ever assaulted, I would be very upset and hurt deeply for her. But i would know that at least it wasn't because she was out begging for the wrong kind of attention. Because I'm raising her to be aware of those situations and the types of predators who are also aware of the situation.

Mel Briscoe 5 years ago

^^^ who're you calling "you people".

lol

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

lol.. well placed humor injection Mel.

monkey_c 5 years ago

AreUNormal asks - what is the risk of that behavior if it does not lead to assault? provoke a piece of crap rapist and you might just get raped. that is the risk.

Well exactly my point it does put a woman at risk of assault but it does not justify the attack. That is why I referred to it as risky behavior.

justsayin77 5 years ago

Rape is violence. Here's an analogy for those who have difficulty separating the concepts of sex and violence: If I hit you over the head with a frying pan, would you call that cooking?

monkey_c 5 years ago

If you hit me over the head with a frying pan I would call that assault. Violent assault with a frying pan. AreUNormal might call it a good start.

jimmyjms 5 years ago

Irish, my dear, here in America I don't have to a) believe in anything I don't want to, or b) give two cares what you think about what I say.

You want to start telling people what they can and cannot say and I'll invite you to move.

"What I do is see things in a way that you can't imagine or don't want to imagine."

This is true, because you're not coming across as all that bright. You're basically trotting out the tired old "look at the way she dressed, she's asking for it" defense. In my world, someone in my family gets assaulted and the very last thing I'm concerned with is that persons mode of fashion.

bearded_gnome 5 years ago

thug music, thug lifestyle, teaches the wrong way to treat women, the wrong way to speak of women. often glorifies sexual violence.

overall, our culture has far too much sexualization and porn. yes, the rapist is at fault. does society now make it easier by promoting young women dressing and acting like wanton wh0res? yes.
yes, I'm saying it is more than reporting trends. some is what we're putting into the heads of our youth, male and female.

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