The Baltimore Police Department has for the past four years recorded the highest percentage of rape cases that officers conclude are false or baseless of any city in the country, according to The Baltimore Sun's review of FBI data. More than 30 percent of the cases investigated by detectives each year are deemed unfounded, five times the national average. Only Louisville and Pittsburgh have reported similar numbers in the recent past, and the number of unfounded rape cases in those cities dropped after police implemented new classification procedures. The increase in unfounded cases comes as the number of rapes reported by Baltimore police has plunged — from 684 in 1995 to 158 in 2009, a decline of nearly 80 percent. Nationally, FBI reports indicate that rapes have fallen 8 percent over the same period.
As a percentage of the total cases it investigates, the Baltimore Police Department has for the past four years labeled as "unfounded" the highest number of rape cases of any city in the country, according to a review of FBI data.
Women's advocates, police and academics tell a congressional subcommittee that changes are needed in the way that police departments record rapes in their jurisdictions
The number of reported rapes investigated by Baltimore police is up nearly 20 percent this year, a sharp increase since the department implemented new procedures in response to statistics showing a large number of cases were being ignored.
A U.S. Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing next week on the "chronic failure to report and investigate rape" by police departments across the country, spurred in part by a July story in the Baltimore Sun about the city's widespread undercounting of rape.
Baltimore's top prosecutor and City Council president called Wednesday for an outside agency to investigate rape complaints discarded by city police detectives, saying independent eyes are needed to ensure citizens' faith in the results.
A team of detectives has begun a review of rape reports discarded by Baltimore police over the past 18 months, though officials say efforts to discern why incident reports were not taken in hundreds of 911 calls to police have sputtered.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said a focus on homicides and non-fatal shooting investigations may have contributed to neglect of growing concerns about the way the department investigated sex offenses.
City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young called for police officials to explain the "factors behind Baltimore's troublingly-high percentage of reported rape cases" that are categorized as false or baseless.
Days after the Baltimore Police Department announced he would oversee reforms in the beleaguered sex offense unit, a popular district commander has instead opted for retirement.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III responds to a Baltimore Sun report that documented an unusually high number of "unfounded" rape reports.
Baltimore's rate of rape cases deemed unfounded, or the number of calls to 911 that lead to no report at all, indicates a disturbing pattern of callous cynicism in the police department