Sex crimes in Lawrence (rape, aggravated criminal sodomy)
• 2006: 48, 20
• 2007: 48, 20
• 2008: 40, 6
• 2009: 57, 21
• 2010: 40, 15
— Rape numbers provided by FBI annual statistics; aggravated criminal sodomy numbers provided by the Lawrence Police Department.
The number of local and state rapes reported in FBI statistics will most likely increase in 2012 because of a recent change in how the crime is defined.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration made changes to the FBI’s 83-year-old definition of rape, used in the annual Uniform Crime Report, or UCR.
The previous definition only counted forcible intercourse with a woman as rape, and the expanded definition includes offenses against men and crimes in which the victim is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. In addition, the new definition includes cases of “oral penetration by a sex organ of another person.”
Local police agencies, such as the Lawrence Police Department, submit statistics to the FBI based on the FBI definition and not Kansas law, which currently defines rape as forced sexual intercourse against either gender. Oral penetration, however, is classified under the state’s aggravated criminal sodomy statute.
The change will result in a “much broader definition” of rape and will be more accurate, said Bridget Patton, FBI spokeswoman.
Joyce Grover, executive director at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said that while the move doesn’t change any laws, more accurate statistics on rape could impact funding and grants. The change was long overdue, Grover said, and she’s “pleased someone in the U.S. Department of Justice made this a priority.”
Between 2006 and 2010, the number of aggravated criminal sodomies reported to Lawrence police averaged about 17 per year. Under the change, those numbers would be categorized as rape in FBI statistics. In 2010, that would’ve spiked the Lawrence numbers reported to the FBI from 40 to 55 rapes.