Changing Definition, Activism May Be Behind Increase in Rape Reports


January 31st, 2019

The number of rape cases handled by the Lincoln Police Department has increased in the last two years, but this may be due to a change in the FBI definition of the crime as well as activism through movements like #MeToo, according to a report for NET News by Allison Mollenkamp.

“While at initial glance that looks bad, like, ‘Oh no, there’s more rapes,’ we already know that’s the most under-reported crime. So, seeing an increase in reports could be a good thing. Socially, we need to see a little bit more movement, but we’re seeing attitudes change towards rape,” said Angela Sands, public information officer for the department.

Anecdotally, there has been an uptick in rape reports since the #MeToo movement began. The FBI’s definition is now more inclusive and in line with current state statutes. Now, law enforcement is working to adjust the way they handle these cases.

“You are to believe them,” said Sands. “What they’re saying, they’re telling you the truth to the best of their ability and this is accurate and you treat them as such. Where, I think, people have a perception of what maybe policing used to be where the, ‘What were you wearing, were you drinking alcohol?’ Those type of things that obviously we have the education and training now to know that’s not appropriate.”

To read the full story, visit NET Nebraska.

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