A shocking rise in violent attacks on women has a half-empty Boston police sexual assault unit straining to keep up, says the Boston Herald. “It is chilling to think that women were abducted and raped in this city over [last] weekend,” said Gina Scaramella of the Boston Rape Crisis Center. Police say that 44 rapes, aggravated sexual assaults, and attempts were reported between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, compared with 39 in the same period last year.
The sexual assault unit is below the department’s minimum staffing level of 15 detectives; there are nine detectives assigned to the unit, and two of those are on medical leave. Detectives in the unit are overwhelmed, with a caseload of over 1,000. Deputy Superintendent Margot Hill, who oversees the city’s Family Justice Center, acknowledged that the sexual assault unit is strained, but pointed to the Boston police staffing level of just over 2,000, the lowest since 1993.