Date:April 8, 2015; July 30, 2015; December 16, 2015.
Much has been written on the topic of rape in America. This series differed in that it focused on law enforcement agencies. We wanted to hold police accountable for their investigations of sexual assault — a crime that annually afflicts hundreds of thousands of victims, mostly women, but has a far lower arrest rate than other violent crimes such as murder or aggravated assault. Through interviews, police reports, public records, database queries and case studies, we discovered simple, immediate techniques that police could use to improve rape investigations. We found that police routinely failed to talk with neighboring jurisdictions in solving rape crimes, even though studies have shown that rapists often have a history of sexual assault. We showed that a simple phone call to check with other police agencies where the suspect lived can turn up corroborating evidence — but that such calls are rarely made.