A major category of crime is up substantially in Baltimore police and city officials are pleased, reports the Baltimore Sun. A year after the Sun reported that the city led the U.S. in the number of rape reports discarded by detectives — part of what women’s advocates and victims said was a pattern of ignoring sexual assaults — the number of rapes being reported is up more than 50 percent.
City officials attribute the increase to an overhaul of the unit that investigates those crimes, along with a new attitude toward sex crimes and increased accountability. “More people are coming forward and reporting, and those reports are being taken and handled appropriately,” said Sheryl Goldstein, director of the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice. “There have been positive steps taken and progress made, but there’s still a lot of work to do. This is the beginning.” Advocates for victims and a nationally recognized sex offense investigator brought in to train officers agree that the city has further to go. Rosalyn Branson of TurnAround Inc. said city leaders have shown a genuine commitment to fixing the situation, but complaints continue to come in about “victim blaming” and poor treatment of victims by some detectives.