Yung 2014 Statistics

Title Information


Author: Corey Rayburn Yung

Title: How to Lie with Rape Statistics

Subtitle: America's Hidden Rape Crisis

Journal: Iowa Law Review

Volume: 99

Issue:

Year: 2014

Pages: 1197-1256

ISSN: 0021-0552 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | U.S. History | Prosecution: Police, Statistics



Full Text


Link: Iowa Law Review [Free Access]

Link: Social Science Research Network [Free Access]



Additional Information


Author: Corey Rayburn Yung, School of Law, University of Kansas

Abstract:

»During the last two decades, many police departments substantially undercounted reported rapes creating "paper" reductions in crime. Media investigations in Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and St. Louis found that police eliminated rape complaints from official counts because of cultural hostility to rape complaints and to create the illusion of success in fighting violent crime. The undercounting cities used three difficult-to-detect methods to remove rape complaints from official records: designating a complaint as "unfounded" with little or no investigation; classifying an incident as a lesser offense; and, failing to create a written report that a victim made a rape complaint.
This study addresses how widespread the practice of undercounting rape is in police departments across the country. Because identifying fraudulent and incorrect data is essentially the task of distinguishing highly unusual data patterns, I apply a statistical outlier detection technique to determine which jurisdictions have substantial anomalies in their data. Using this novel method to determine if other municipalities likely failed to report the true number of rape complaints made, I find significant undercounting of rape incidents by police departments across the country. The results indicate that approximately 22% of the 210 studied police departments responsible for populations of at least 100,000 persons have substantial statistical irregularities in their rape data indicating considerable undercounting from 1995 to 2012. Notably, the number of undercounting jurisdictions has increased by over 61% during the eighteen years studied.
Correcting the data to remove police undercounting by imputing data from highly correlated murder rates, the study conservatively estimates that 796,213 to 1,145,309 complaints of forcible vaginal rapes of female victims nationwide disappeared from the official records from 1995 to 2012. Further, the corrected data reveal that the study period includes fifteen to eighteen of the highest rates of rape since tracking of the data began in 1930. Instead of experiencing the widely reported "great decline" in rape, America is in the midst of a hidden rape crisis. Further, the techniques that conceal rape complaints deprioritize those cases so that police conduct little or no investigation. Consequently, police leave serial rapists, who constitute the overwhelming majority of rapists, free to attack more victims. Based upon the findings of this study, governments at all levels must revitalize efforts to combat the cloaked rise in sexual violence and the federal government must exercise greater oversight of the crime reporting process to ensure accuracy of the data provided.« [Source: Iowa Law Review]

Contents:

  Introduction (p. 1200)
  I. Police Undercounting of Rape Complaints (p. 1206)
    A. Uniform Crime Reports (p. 1206)
      1. Rape Data (p. 1208)
      2. Study Data (p. 1210)
    B. Media Investigation of Police Undercounting (p. 1212)
    C. Why Police Undercount (p. 1214)
      1. Political Forces (p. 1214)
      2. Cultural Forces (p. 1218)
    D. How Police Undercount (p. 1220)
      1. "Unfounded" Designation (p. 1221)
      2. Lesser-Crime Classification (p. 1223)
      3. Police Gatekeeping (p. 1224)
  II. Identifying Undercounting Police Departments (p. 1225)
    A. Establishing a Baseline (p. 1225)
      1. Murder Rate Baseline (p. 1225)
      2. Removing National Trends (p. 1226)
    B. Profile of a Typical Jurisdiction (p. 1227)
    C. Profile of an Undercounter (p. 1228)
    D. Testing Police Departments (p. 1232)
  III. Estimating the Lost Data (p. 1238)
  IV. Implications (p. 1241)
    A. Moral Dimension (p. 1241)
    B. Deprioritization (p. 1245)
  Conclusion (p. 1248)
  Appendix A: Jurisdictions in Study Sample (p. 1250)

Wikipedia: Rape statistics, Uniform Crime Reports


Added: March 15, 2014 | Last updated: March 15, 2014