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Investigation Reveals Less Than 10% Of San Diego Rape Cases Solved Since 2013

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Law enforcement statistics reveal that rape is one of the most difficult violent crimes to solve. San Diego’s numbers, 2,954 reported since 2013 and first published in an investigative report by NBC 7, reflect that national trend.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Law Enforcement Statistics reveal that rape is one of the most difficult violent crimes to solve. And San Diego's numbers reflect that. National Trend and investigative report by San Diego's NBC seven reveals that less than 10% of reported rapes have been solved in the city of San Diego since 2013. That means more than 2100 reported rapes remain unsolved or as police call them open and workable journey. Me As Dorian Hargrove and I team producer with NBC seven and Dorian, welcome to the program.

Speaker 2: 00:34 Thanks Maureen. Appreciate it.

Speaker 1: 00:35 Where did these statistics come from?

Speaker 2: 00:38 So I submitted a public records request to the city directly as well as the county and still waiting to hear back from some municipalities. But, uh, these specific numbers were from the city of San Diego.

Speaker 1: 00:49 Did the numbers also tell you the areas in the city where most rapes are reported?

Speaker 2: 00:54 Yes, they did actually. So, and you know, they, they, they did provide some, um, locations, which, you know, we didn't report on. However, we do have the zip codes and and saw where the majority were, or at least where the, you know, the higher zip codes the concentrations were.

Speaker 1: 01:09 And can you give us maybe one or two perhaps the what you found out about the worst?

Speaker 2: 01:14 Yeah, you know, so downtown, um, nine to one oh one had by far the most at, at over 400 Pacific beach had had also a high concentration at 201 rapes reported since since 2013, mid city city heights area. Those two zip codes right around there had 384 rapes since 2013 reported.

Speaker 1: 01:37 And how did the city of San Diego solve rate on reported rapes? How did that stack up against national statistics?

Speaker 2: 01:44 Well, national statistics seem to be slightly higher. So national statistics came in at, at around 97% of cases still still that have not been solved or, or open. Um, in some, you know, and there's a lot of language there, you know, there's a lot of reasons why they might be open. Some cases the victims, not no longer around some cases, the, the suspect was, was a, is no longer alive. There's numerous situations why that is, but the city of San Diego was 9%, um, you know, resulted in arrests. So it's, it's all, it all hovers, you know, between the, the 90 some percentile up, uh, as high as 98 nationally.

Speaker 1: 02:27 And so, as I understand it, less than 10% solved here in the city of San Diego. But that statistic is, is about 2% in nationwide.

Speaker 2: 02:38 Yeah. And, and the, the, the 2% came from a report that came out in the Atlantic a few days ago. Um, that and that, those are the statistics that they had pooled.

Speaker 1: 02:48 No, it seems like there's an inherent contradiction in this finding of so many unsolved rapes because the crime of rape is often committed by someone the victim knows and DNA evidence is usually available. So can you tell us more about why these crimes are so hard to solve?

Speaker 2: 03:08 You know, and, and you're absolutely right. When it, when it comes to, uh, the, the number of suspects that, that are known by, by the, by the person, by the victim. Um, you know, the, I think, I think you have, you have a, a large percentage that, that are, that are committed when there's drugs or intoxication, some people are unconscious and then you factor in the possible, uh, knowing or, or you know, the, the, the victim knowing the suspect. I think it makes it extremely difficult for, for stories to, to really get out there. The, the, the women that do report just because they report doesn't necessarily mean that they're, you know, they're, they're completely ready to, to move forward or, or emotionally ready to move forward. And so I think, you know, there's a, there's just a number of, of factors that go into it. Another thing too is, is the people committing these crimes, typically they do it carefully in, in the sense of, of no one else, there are no witnesses. And, and so I, you know, there, there's just a number of reasons why, why it's difficult despite the fact that often so often the, the victim knows the, the suspect.

Speaker 1: 04:27 What is San Diego police tell you about the way they handle rape cases?

Speaker 2: 04:31 They have a dedicated team. Um, they have 14 investigators that, that, that are working on these cases. Um, so, you know, their message was w w was more report report, report, give us the chance to, to solve as opposed to really addressing, you know, the, the, the, the basis of, of why these, why the arrest rate is so low, uh, whether it's here in San Diego or, or across the county or, or nationally for that matter.

Speaker 1: 05:01 I've been speaking with Dorian Hargrove, an ITM producer with NBC seven and Dorian. Thank you.

Speaker 2: 05:08 Thank you, Maureen. I appreciate it. Yeah.

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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.