Victims Group Sees Positive News in Rape Report Increase

Uptick in reported rapes may stem from victims' increased willingness to come forward, not a spike in crime.

By Chris Glorioso
|  Wednesday, Jul 6, 2011  |  Updated 8:14 AM EDT
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Rape cases are on the rise in parts of the city.  NYPD statistics show rape complaints are up 16% compared to the same time last year.  Advocates say victims need all the support they can get.

Chris Glorioso

Rape cases are on the rise in parts of the city. NYPD statistics show rape complaints are up 16% compared to the same time last year. Advocates say victims need all the support they can get.

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New Yorkers are reporting more rapes, according to statistics compiled by the NYPD. 

Victims filed 16 percent more rape complaints through June 16 compared with the same period last year.

The trend may seem startling, but some believe the stats reflect an increase in victims reporting the crime, not a spike in actual violence.

"I think that sexual violence is not necessarily happening more, that people are just open to reporting it more," said Amy Edelstein, a rape counselor at Safe Horizons, a non-profit that provides services for victims of violent crime.

Increased reporting of rape does not necessarily correlate with a rise in convictions, however. According to data provided by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, Manhattan prosecutors won 29 rape convictions in 2010, down 6.5 percent from 2009. 

This decrease in the total number of convictions came as police arrested 166 rape suspects in Manhattan last year, an increase of 20 percent from 2009. 

In Brooklyn, prosecutors convicted 51 rapists last year, a 28 percent decrease from 2009. The drop in total rape convictions corresponds with an increases in arrests on rape charges -- 280 in 2010 compared with 231 rape arrests in 2009. 
 

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