At a time when public awareness of child molesters and rapists has never been more acute, arrests for sex offenses have been dropping steadily for almost a decade, says the Arizona Republic. FBI reports show that arrests are down across the U.S.; criminal-justice watchers are uncertain about the reason.
For some experts, the declining arrests in the middle of intense public scrutiny is a mystery. The decline in both reported rapes and arrests for sex offenses nationwide began in the early 1990s, before many of today’s get-tough measures were implemented. Other officials say the drop in sex-offense rates and heightened monitoring go hand in hand. “I think greater public awareness is part of it,” said Ariziona state Rep. Bob Robson. “It all leads to a decline.” One of the ironies of the greater scrutiny is the focus on sexual assaults involving strangers. The vast majority of sex offenses are committed by relatives or friends of the victim.