After FBI Broadened Definition Of Rape, Reported Rapes Rise In Many Cities


Two years ago, the FBi changed the definition of rape in place since 1927. It took effect for last year's violent crime count, and, under that new definition, rapes were up in most cities, reports the Washington Post. There were 14,400 rapes reported from January to June last year, up from 13,242 in the first half of 2012. It's unclear how that compares to the year before. Under the old definition, the number of rapes declined 10.6 percent between 2012 and 2013. The rise in number instead reflects the new, more-accurate definition of the crime.

Instances of reported rape rose in 138 cities and fell in 119, according to comparisons where data for both years were available. The FBI data captures just a small fraction of the nation — only 272 cities, a group home to just over a fourth of the national population. The nearly 90-year-old definition described “forcible rape” as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” Under the new definition, the agency stopped calling it “forcible rape” instead simply referring to the crime as rape. It was also changed to drop reference to gender and is no longer limited to penile penetration of a vagina.

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