The Federal Bureau of Investigations has recently released its annual crime statistics for the nation, recording a 5 percent decline in forcible rape nationwide. While much of the nation saw a decrease in rape, Maryland reported a6.1 percent increase from 2009 to 2010. In 2010 alone, there were 1,227 recorded rapes within the state of Maryland. With a change in how Baltimore investigates rape, however, it is unclear if there has actually been an increase in rape.
Although police activity has never been overly respectful of a suspect’s privacy, the new investigation policy is intensely more intrusive. It appears that Baltimore’s police department previously investigated rape in much the same way it would any other crime. Now, however, a patrol officer is unable to look into or dismiss a sexual assault claim; rather, Baltimore police who specialize in sex crimes will be the only ones responsible for investigating sexual assault allegations.
It is unclear what prompted the Baltimore Police Department’s public affairs director to change the investigation policy. The new policy has certainly caused an increase in the number of reported rapes, however. Baltimore reported 265 of Maryland’s rapes in 2010, over 100 more than the 158 rapes reported in 2009.
While it is not entirely clear why the new policy has resulted in so many more reported incidents of sexual assault, it indicates that police specializing in sex crimes are much more intrusive. With the overall decline in rape nationwide, there is little that would explain why Maryland saw a spike in numbers, with the exception of the new investigation policy.
It is important to remember that if you are ever suspected of sexual assault that you immediately find an experienced criminal defense lawyer, especially with this potentially invasive new investigation procedure.
Source: The Washington Times, “Murders, rapes, assaults and robberies continue to drop nationally,” Chuck Neubauer, Sept. 19, 2011