St. Louis Undercounted Rapes; Total Rises 58%


St. Louis police said that the city had 58 percent more rapes last year than originally reported for published crime figures, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. They explained that an internal review showed some cases had been classified as other crimes or never counted at all. The department revised its rape total to 175, from the 111 it had previously given to the Missouri uniform crime reporting program for the FBI. Criminologists from the University of Missouri at St. Louis issued a study commissioned by the police that said the true number of reported rapes could be even higher – from 183 to more than 200.

City police tallied almost two-thirds of the 175 acknowledged reports of rape after the Post-Dispatch began questioning its crime reporting methods last fall. The numbers were dramatically out of line with rape figures in cities with similar populations and crime rates, as reported to the FBI. For example, Cleveland, Tulsa and Kansas City – which each had less overall crime than St. Louis in 2003 – averaged 409 rapes that year, more than five times as many as St. Louis. After a reporter challenged the city’s rape totals in mid-November, Chief Joe Mokwa tacked on 50 rapes in the final two months, to finish the year with 111. It was not explained whether they all occurred in those two months or reflected some reclassification of earlier cases.


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