City rape investigations questioned
Declining rape figures
The Baltimore Police Department has for the past four years recorded the highest percentage of rape cases that officers conclude are false or baseless of any city in the country, according to The Baltimore Sun's review of FBI data. More than 30 percent of the cases investigated by detectives each year are deemed unfounded, five times the national average. Only Louisville and Pittsburgh have reported similar numbers in the recent past, and the number of unfounded rape cases in those cities dropped after police implemented new classification procedures. The increase in unfounded cases comes as the number of rapes reported by Baltimore police has plunged — from 684 in 1995 to 158 in 2009, a decline of nearly 80 percent. Nationally, FBI reports indicate that rapes have fallen 8 percent over the same period.
7:25 PM CDT, July 8, 2011
A major category of crime is up substantially in Baltimore, and police and city officials are pleased.
6:21 PM CDT, March 14, 2011
Continuing reforms to Baltimore's response to sexual assaults will be steered by a full-time coordinator who for the past six years has overseen residential programs at Howard County's domestic violence center.
8:51 PM CST, December 1, 2010
More than half of nearly 100 rape reports that Baltimore Police decided were false or baseless have been reclassified as rapes or other sex crimes, according to an audit presented Wednesday to a City Council panel.
7:41 PM CDT, September 22, 2010
Baltimore police have tapped a former homicide detective and commander of the Western District to oversee reforms in the beleaguered sex offense unit.
8:24 PM CDT, September 14, 2010
— In Cleveland, women's claims that a sex offender had assaulted them were ignored, until police found the bodies of 11 women at the man's home. In Milwaukee, a woman tried to report being raped but was told at three different police stations to go someplace else; her attacker went on to commit more rapes. And in New York, police apologized for downgrading a felony sexual assault in an upper Manhattan park.
10:15 PM CDT, September 13, 2010
Rapes investigated by Baltimore police are up nearly 20 percent this year, a sharp increase since new procedures were sparked by a Baltimore Sun investigation showing the city leading the nation in rape reports dismissed by police.
9:12 PM CDT, September 7, 2010
Concerned that police departments nationwide fail to fully investigate rapes, a congressional committee will examine the issue next week at a hearing spurred partly by a Baltimore Sun examination of the systemic underreporting of sex crimes.
9:56 PM CDT, August 4, 2010
Baltimore's top prosecutor and City Council president called Wednesday for an outside agency to investigate rape complaints summarily dismissed by police detectives, saying that independent eyes are needed to ensure citizens' faith in the results.
9:22 AM CDT, August 4, 2010
11:32 PM CDT, August 3, 2010
Detectives have begun reviewing rape reports summarily dismissed by Baltimore police over the past 18 months, though efforts to discern why incident reports were not taken in hundreds of 911 calls to police have sputtered.
6:54 PM CDT, July 25, 2010
The young East Baltimore woman gave police a vivid description of her rape: A man snatched her off the street and used a pocketknife to force her into the darkness of Ellwood Park.
8:31 PM CDT, July 19, 2010
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said a focus on homicides and nonfatal shooting investigations may have contributed to neglect of growing problems with the way the department investigated sex offenses.
6:27 PM CDT, July 12, 2010
City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young introduced a resolution Monday night calling for law enforcement officials to explain to the council the "factors behind Baltimore's troublingly high percentage of reported rape cases" that are categorized as false or baseless.
5:29 PM CDT, July 8, 2010
The Sun investigation into police "unfounding" of rape cases in the city has brought an important issue to the forefront. As a pediatrician, I became aware of this practice two years ago when I received a call from the mother of a 14-year-old patient who wanted to bring her daughter to see me for a pregnancy test. Two weeks earlier, her daughter had been taken to an emergency department after she reported being forced to have intercourse by another teenager.
6:12 PM CDT, July 7, 2010
Days after the Baltimore Police Department announced that he would oversee reforms in the beleaguered sex offense unit, a popular district commander has opted to retire.
7:46 PM CDT, July 1, 2010
Twenty-one women who say their reports of rape or sexual abuse were dismissed by Baltimore police have reached out to a hot line established this week to ensure that officials are handling complaints properly.
8:45 PM CDT, June 29, 2010
City leaders are establishing a hot line for victims who believe their reports of rape or sexual assault were not investigated fully by police.
2:30 PM CDT, June 29, 2010
6:36 PM CDT, June 29, 2010
A competitor in a contested state's attorney's race called the Baltimore Police Department's rape unit a "gimmick."
8:47 PM CDT, June 28, 2010
A group of Baltimore government and law enforcement representatives plans to conduct a systematic review of rape reports that have been deemed "unfounded" by police investigators, in response to news reports showing the city leads the nation in such cases, officials said Monday.
2:46 PM CDT, June 27, 2010
7:59 PM CDT, June 27, 2010
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said Sunday that his department would work to improve how it categorizes and resolves rape investigations, responding to a newspaper report that found Baltimore has the nation's highest rate of cases that officers conclude are false or baseless.
4:25 PM CDT, June 28, 2010
Rape is different from other crimes. Not only does it involve a violation more profound than any other crime but it also comes with a social stigma that forces victims to relive the pain again and again. No one suggests that a victim of a carjacking was really asking for it. No one asks whether an assault might really have been consensual. When a robbery victim is on the witness stand, the most private details of her life are not dissected under cross examination.
9:27 AM CDT, June 27, 2010
The 32-year-old woman was walking through a midtown alley last January when a man pressed a gun to her shoulder and told her, "Don't scream."