Added: October 3, 2015 – Last updated: October 3, 2015


Authors: Raid Amin, Nicole S. Nabors, Arlene M. Nelson, Murshid Saqlain, and Martin Kulldorff

Title: Geographical Clusters of Rape in the United States

Subtitle: 2000-2012

Journal: Statistics and Public Policy



Year: 2015 (Received: August 19, 2015, Accepted: August 24, 2015, Published online: September 18, 2015)


eISSN: 2330-443X – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 21st Century | American History: U.S. History


Links: Taylor & Francis Online (Free Access)



»Background: While rape is a very serious crime and public health problem, no spatial mapping has been attempted for rape on the national scale. This paper addresses the three research questions: (1) Are reported rape cases randomly distributed across the USA, after being adjusted for population density and age, or are there geographical clusters of reported rape cases? (2) Are the geographical clusters of reported rapes still present after adjusting for differences in poverty levels? (3) Are there geographical clusters where the proportion of reported rape cases that lead to an arrest is exceptionally low or exceptionally high?
Methods: We studied the geographical variation of reported rape events (2003-2012) and rape arrests (2000-2012) in the 48 contiguous states of the USA. The disease Surveillance software SaTScan™ with its spatial scan statistic is used to xe “Spatial Scan Statistic” evaluate the spatial variation in rapes. The spatial scan statistic has been widely used as a geographical surveillance tool for diseases, and we used it to identify geographical areas with clusters of reported rape and clusters of arrest rates for rape.
Results: The spatial scan statistic was used to identify geographical areas with exceptionally high rates of reported rape. The analyses were adjusted for age, and in secondary analyses, for both age and poverty level. We also identified geographical areas with either a low or a high proportion of reported rapes leading to an arrest.
Conclusions: We have identified geographical areas with exceptionally high (low) rates of reported rape. The geographical problem areas identified are prime candidates for more intensive preventive counseling and criminal prosecution efforts by public health, social service, and law enforcement agencies Geographical clusters of high rates of reported rape are prime areas in need of expanded implementation of preventive measures, such as changing attitudes in our society toward rape crimes, in addition to having the criminal justice system play an even larger role in preventing rape.« (Source: Statistics and Public Policy)


    United States Reported Rape and Arrest Data
    The Spatial Scan Statistic
    Geographical Clusters of Reported Rape
    Adjustment for Poverty
    Proportion of Reported Rapes Leading to an Arrest