Statistics Point to Decline in Rape in U.S.
Monday, June 26, 2006 10:35 AM

Statistical evidence indicates that rape in the United States may actually be declining. Comparative data from the Justice Department's National Crime Victimization Survey reveals that the instance of rape has decreased eighty-five percent per capita since 1979. FBI data on crime indicates a similar trend. Judging the frequency and severity of rape by statistics is often considered inadequate if not misleading because rape continues to be one of the most underreported crimes. Although the survey conducted by the Justice Department is administered privately to thousands of U.S. homes and is aimed at gauging the depth and nature of crimes that go unreported, many who work with rape victims are not convinced. They maintain that rape is still chronically hidden by victims and its prevalence cannot be measured through traditional means. Those who are inclined to believe the numbers attribute the change to various factors; from nationwide crackdowns on crime that have removed likely perpetrators of rape from the streets to greater awareness in youth about the severity of rape and the importance of consent.

Compiled from: David A. Fahrenthold, "Statistics Show Drop in U.S. Rape Cases," Washington Post,, 19 June 2006.