A task force in Ohio has begun testing over 5,000 rape kits from as far back as 1993. What they found is shocking — they’ve had a serial rapist epidemic — and have not known, cared to know, or done anything to stop it.
If you were murdered today, there’s only a 60% chance of police catching the person who did it. That number drops to 3% if you’re raped. 50 years ago, that number was much higher. What happened?
The answer to that question can be found by looking at where police allocate much of their time and resources.
Civil asset forfeiture pays. Busting low-level drug dealers by the dozen and confiscating their drugs, guns, cars, houses, and money pays. Writing tickets for victimless crime pays. Pulling you over for window tint, seat belts, arbitrary traveling speeds, and expired license plates; these are the things that pay, not solving crimes.
In criminal justice, clearance rates are used as a measure of crimes solved by the police. The clearance rate is calculated by dividing the number of crimes that are “cleared” (a charge being laid) by the total number of crimes recorded.
In the United States, the murder clearance rate in 1965 was more than 90 percent. Since the inception of the war on drugs, the murder clearance rate has plummetted to an average of less than 65 percent per year.
This decline is in spite of there being far fewer murders. It is also in spite of new technological developments to help police solve crimes, like DNA testing, advanced forensic labs, and unethical spying devices like the stingray.
Despite the near complete erosion of the constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure, the clearance rate for murder continued its free fall. This highlights the fact that no matter how many rights are given up or freedoms diminished, police cannot guarantee your safety.
While police are failing to investigate murders, the rate at which they are ignoring rape is nothing short of criminal.
According to the Department of Justice, there are currently over 400,000 untested rape kits collecting dust in police evidence rooms nationwide, and many other estimates suggest that this number could be as high as one million.
As a result of this horrific negligence, roughly 3% of rape cases in America are actually solved. This is in spite of the fact that many rape kits have a high chance of leading to an arrest since most rapists are career criminals who have their DNA on file.
In some cases, the victims even know who their attackers were, but they can not prosecute these criminals because the evidence has yet to be processed by police.
Arresting rapists and murderers simply falls short in the two areas police are worried about; revenue collection and keeping their inflated drug war budgets flowing.
A prosecutor in Cuyahoga County is seeking to change this complacency and has started the Sexual Assault Kit Task Force. The results of actually investigating the kits have proven law enforcement to be outright criminally negligent in their duties.
Since the inception of the task force, their investigation has resulted in 250 convictions.
According to a report in the Daily Mail,
Of all serial rapists in the study, 74 percent had at least one prior felony arrest, and 95 percent had at least one felony after.
For one-time offenders, they found 51 percent had prior felony arrests, and 78 percent had at least one subsequently.
And among serial offenders, 26 percent had been arrested for sexual assault before that particular crime, while 60 percent were arrested for an unrelated sexual assault later on.
‘Our findings suggest it is very likely that a sexual offender has either previously sexually assaulted or will offend again in the future,’ said Rachel Lovell, a senior research associate at the Begun Center and co-leader of the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Pilot Research Project.
‘Investigating each sexual assault as possibly perpetrated by a serial offender has the potential to reduce the number of sexual assaults if investigations focus more on the offender than on single incidents.’
‘These are one-man crime waves,’ said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy. J. McGinty.
‘And now that we realize this, we cannot allow these kits to sit on shelves untested in the future. They hold the keys to identifying and convicting dangerous criminals.’
‘Law enforcement greatly underestimated the positive result that would come out of investigating these rape kits,’ Prosecutor McGinty continuted.
‘We are identifying, prosecuting and punishing some of the most dangerous violent repeat offenders in our communities.
‘The research now coming out of the Begun Center is reinforcing the importance of this work, not only in Cuyahoga County, but nationally.’
Imagine that. Once law enforcement focuses their attention on stopping actual crimes, instead of robbing the citizens, justice happens and serial rapists are taken off the street.
How many women have been repeatedly attacked over the years by these same vile criminals because the negligence of cops too interested in enforcing the war on drugs?
‘The experience of collecting a rape kit is invasive, and especially so right after a victim has been traumatically assaulted,’ said Lovell.
‘These victims did what they have been asked to do to preserve evidence – but that evidence just sat, untested. The new process we how will emerge from our effort will better honor victims.’