Baltimore police underreported rapes to the FBI by more than 15 percent last year, the Baltimore Sun reports. An internal audit found that 33 rapes had been improperly ruled “unfounded” and should have been reported, increasing the rape total from 178 to 211. The summary of the audit, obtained by The Sun under the Maryland Public Information Act, was submitted to police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark Oct. 14.
The audit found that most of the 33 cases did not have enough information in reports to justify calling them “unfounded.” Four rapes had been ruled unfounded, even though police made arrests.
Experts said the rape audit and problems found during a wide-ranging audit of crime statistics three years ago indicate that the department needs to take steps to ensure the accuracy of its data. “It seems clear there is some kind of repeated pattern of trying to find some kind of crime that can be classified as a lesser” offense, said Jan Chaiken, former director of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Basically, if you look at one crime type, it leads you to wonder about the other crime types. … It does lead to questions.”
In 2000, Mayor Martin O’Malley launched an audit that eventually boosted crime totals in 1999 by 14.5 percent. The number of violent crimes rose by 23 percent.