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The Crisis in Crime HOW TO CRACK DOWN ON RAPE By JOHN A. McCREIGHT/Partner, New York JAMES A. LASH/Manager, Detroit, and HAROLD A. KATERSKY/Manager, Detroit Of all the crimes committed in our cities, two receive the most publicity and create the greatest emotional impact. These are murder and rape. Together, these two crimes account for less than one half of one percent of all police runs in major cities. For example, in Detroit, the emergency telephone answering center receives approximately 1,800,000 calls per year; dispatches police cars 900,000 to 1,000,000 times per year; and records between 2,000 and 2,500 homicides and rapes. Obviously the reason these two crimes receive such attention is because of their potential ability to shatter human lives. Murder and rape are not the only crimes to have increased in recent years, of course. Indeed, many police officials forecast that today's significant unemployment figures will increase the pressures behind all types of crime. I n any event, fighting crime has now become one of our top national priorities. Today a greater percentage of most municipal budgets is used to fight crime than is used by all other city services combined. Since the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) was formed in the 1960s, several billion dollars have been distributed through state and local planning agencies, to police departments, courts, prosecutors, defenders, drug programs, juvenile delinquency programs, correction facilities, and many other elements of the criminal justice system. Even the costs to a city for maintaining the status quo have increased dramatically. For example, patrolmen's salaries (including fringe benefits) have passed $20,000 per year in many communities. The direct cost of fielding one two-man marked police car 24 hours a day, seven days a week, exceeds $250,000 annually. What has been the return on this investment in crime prevention? This article will deal with the "attack" on one specific crime that was undertaken by the Detroit police department and the relationship of that attack to the need for improvements throughout the criminal justice process. The crime selected by the city for its first attack effort was rape. This article will examine how to deal with both the crime itself and the victim, how to educate both the public and the police, and finally how new techniques of investigation and prosecution may apply to "attacks" on other specific crimes. The rape reduction effort was one of many factors which eventually led police and city executives to a fundamental reorganization of the entire police department. By way of background, here are four statements that highlight why rape presents a particular problem to the criminal justice system. • Only half of all rapes occur between strangers. The rapist is just as likely to be someone met casually at a party, a brother's boyfriend, or a stepfather. • It is often debated whether or not most rape is "caused" by the victim—the babysitter alone at home who doesn't pull the blinds; the woman who travels alone at night in areas known to be unsafe; the girl who stands alone at night at a bus stop. • Rape sometimes occurs as the aftermath of another crime: a kidnapping in an automobile, an assault in a back street or alley, or a simple breaking and entering into a home. • Many rapes are never reported. When a rape is reported, the police are often criticized for their attitudes. They are regarded as being insensitive to the victim's trauma. Their response is usually that the victim's reaction and behavior are quite understandable to them but that her attitude, in turn, is often crippling to the criminal justice system. First, they point out, many calls which originally are reported as rapes turn out to be nothing more than disagreements between lovers. Second, the evidence will show that in some cases the crime is the victim's fault; a review of police records indicates that some women are repeatedly the victims of rape. Third, the police know that most rapes are perpetrated by men who will repeat the crime. However, they also know that the victim is unlikely to follow through the entire criminal justice process—a necessity if a conviction is to be obtained and the rapist taken off the street. Therefore, the incentive of the police finally to resolve the crime can be low—especially after the victim "backs out" of a good case, forcing the release of a known rapist. If a rape issuch an emotional crime, why don't the victims follow through to see that the rapist is jailed? First, most victims want only to forget the entire unpleasant event. The process of identifying the rapist, securing the warrants, establishing "probable cause," and then going to trial continually reminds the victim and her family of the experience. Due process can drag on for many months, sometimes more than a year. Second, although some states are revising their laws on rape, in most states the victim must prove that she didn't encourage the attack and that she resisted the crime. Prosecution should become easier, however, under a new statute in Michigan. For example, the victim need not resist. Emphasis is instead put on showing that force was used; and the use of a gun or knife implies force. The maximum sentence in Michigan was changed to life imprisonment, and the defendant may no longer use the history of the victim to show that she had a bad reputation. Florida has passed similar legislation, and California and Iowa have changed their laws relating to evidence. This can be significant, since giving courtroom testimony only adds to the victim's em- 13
How to crack down on rape
McCreight, John A.
Lash, James A.
Katersky, Harold A.
Touche Ross. Detroit Office
Touche Ross. New York Office
Tempo, Vol. 21, no. 2 (1975), p. 13-15
|Source||Originally published by: Touche Ross, & Co.|
|Rights||Copyright and permission to republish held by: Deloitte|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|