Rape reports to Cleveland police spiked after news stories detailed the fate of 11 women whose bodies were discovered at the home of suspected serial killer and rapist Anthony Sowell, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Sowell had served 15 years in prison for a 1990 attempted rape conviction and had been accused of two more attacks on women in the past two years. In the two weeks after the first bodies were found and Sowell was arrested, rape reports were up by nearly 80 percent.
The number of reports slowed but remained up 30 percent for the month of November. Calls to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline also increased by 10 percent from October to November. The number of rapes reported to Cleveland police have bounced like a yo-yo in the past few years. Some years police say they were down by as much as 20 percent. In other year, police say the number of rapes went up six percent or more. The swings make it hard to pin down exactly what the numbers mean, which may be one of the first hurdles for a commission of three women appointed by Mayor Frank Jackson to examine how the city responds to sexual assaults.