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November 25, 2007

A continuing panic and sex offense statistics

Continuing on the always interest topic of crime statistics, the Arizona Republic has this interesting article highlighting that, at "a time when public awareness of child molesters and rapists has never been more acute, arrests for sex offenses have been dropping steadily for almost a decade."  Here are some snippets from the article:

FBI reports show that arrests are down across the country, including Arizona, where the numbers have fallen from more than 2,000 in 1997 to 1,500 last year. Criminal-justice experts are uncertain about the reason. At the same time, new federal and state laws are cracking down on convicted offenders like never before....

For some experts, the declining arrests in the middle of intense public scrutiny is a mystery.  The decline in both reported rapes and arrests for sex offenses nationwide began in the early 1990s, before many of today's get-tough measures were implemented.  Other officials say the drop in sex-offense rates and heightened monitoring go hand in hand....

One of the ironies of the greater scrutiny is the focus on sexual assaults involving strangers. The vast majority of sex offenses are committed by relatives or friends of the victim....

Various studies over decades have found a wide range of recidivism rates.  Findings appear to vary according to type of offense and victim, how recidivism is defined and other factors.  One Canadian study in 1998 found a recidivism rate of 13 percent for child molesters over four to five years.  Another in 2004 found that over 25 years, three in five sex offenders commit a sex crime again.

November 25, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink


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It's strange to see some articles that actually report with common sense. Most newspapers and newschannels only try to feed into the culture of fear in America.

Posted by: EJ | Nov 25, 2007 9:01:57 PM

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