As Rape Clearance Rate Falls, Is “CSI” To Blame?


The percentage of rape cases going unsolved nationwide is increasing, says the new FBI crime-report compilation, Newsday reports. Bleach, condoms, and gloves are among the items used by rapists to escape punishment. Last year, police cracked 41.3 percent of rape cases, a half-percent decline since 2004 and a 10 percent drop since 1995. Experts speculate that rapists are becoming more sophisticated, leaving less evidence. The cause may be partly because of crime scene television shows such as “CSI.” “They’re making their victims shower or bathe,” says former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. “It gives the criminal with any common sense pause to think, ‘Hey, there’s a way to cover my trail or conceal my DNA.’ ”

Fewer women were raped in 2005 than in previous years, the FBI report said. As many as 60 percent of rape victims never report their assault to authorities, victims’ advocacy groups say. Susan Lewis of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center is skeptical of the “CSI effect” theory. “Intuitively, it almost makes sense,” Lewis says. “We live in the ‘CSI’ world. We know we have to be careful; things we can’t see can get us into trouble.”


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