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With all the ridicule that Texas has had to endure because someone put up a secession petition on the White House web site and a few people signed it, I thought that I might look at the quality of life in the Great White North.  I suspect that many of the people who signed the petition are in fact not from Texas, and given the number of writing across the web and media that encourage Texas to leave, that assumption is not without basis.  Furthermore, I have to wonder if the diversity and the ability of Texas to control crime, tolerate immigration, and be the melting pot that America is supposed to be might fuel some of the backlash.  This is supported by one statistic and one article I found.

One of the key elements in this election was the issue of rape.  Now, being a man, I cannot really talk about rape in any authentic manner.  Most men simply do not tend to live in the same type of threatening environment as many women do.  However I do know that most people accept two basic facts, as shown by by the smack down conservatives recently received.  First rape is always a bad thing and one cannot divide it into categories.   Second, do not blame the victim, and do not make excuses for the rapist.  Most of us have gone through life without raping anyone.  It is a good thing to do.  Just because someone powerful or in a preferred group does it does not mean we start making excuses.

So in light of such basic facts, what is up in Minnesota?

From the FBI Uniform Crime Reports of 2010, Minneapolis had the highest forcible rape rate of any city with a population larger than 250,000 persons.  It was 10 per 10,000 persons.  To put this in perspective, the mean rate for such cities was 4 rapes per 10,000, and the median was 3.6. This means we have a distribution skewed to the lower end. This is as it should be because we are trying to decrease the rate of rape, not keep it high. In fact any rate higher than 6 per 10,000 people is extremely high.  A rate of 10 should be cause for significant alarm.  Even 7 is statistically high.

I thought, there is no way that Minnesota is just going let this epidemic of assault continue.  The rate cannot continue to be high.  However, according to a September 7, 2012  article from the Minnesota Public Radio, there does not seem to be a lot of distress over the figure.  This according to Lt. Nancy Dunlap Minneapolis Police Department.

The lack of concern over the rate was not even what scared me.  It was the the reasoning.

During the first quarter of this year, when temperatures were much warmer than the prior year, reported rates were up 29 percent from 2011....

She considered several explanations for the higher rate of reported sexual assaults. Were acquaintance rapes on the rise? Were registered sex offenders committing more assaults? Were more males or college students reporting?

But none of these explanations fit the numbers. "Which lead me to believe that the number one reason for this increase was the weather," Dunlap said.

Then we have the excuse:
2012's reported rape rate in Minneapolis isn't terribly high compared to past years, but rather 2011's sexual assault rates were unusually low. And Dunlap notes 2012's rate has leveled off as temperatures become more reflective of previous years.
And the self congratulations from the Sexual Violence Center in north Minneapolis
"When I see rape rates have gone up, then I think we're doing our jobs because people are reporting," Foster said. "When I see rape rates down I know that less people are reporting ... but my crisis line still rings."
While I have no doubt that weather, increased reporting, and even drinking have a great deal to do with rape, just like the fact that "some girls rape so easy", it seems to me that the purpose of the police is to minimize rape, and the purpose of the sexual violence centers are to push a call to arms when the rate is this high.  Maybe I am wrong.

In fact the top rape rates are all in the North, with the top states being Alaska, Ohio, and Colorado, all with statistically high rates.  On the other hand, Texas's top rate is in Corpus Christi, which by Minneapolis standard that rape is ok if it is hot and people are drinking, should be given a pass because the only reason to go to Corpus Christi is to party hard.  The large cities in Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, all have rates no higher than 1 rape per 10,000.  I know that many will say that this is because rape is not reported in Texas.  That could be true.  In Texas it could be that as many as two thirds of rape cases are never reported.  By that still would not put Texas in the over 7 rapes per 10,000 club.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's a little shakey (5+ / 0-)

    to draw conclusions based on data that depends on self reporting for the most part. MN has well organized domestic and sexual assault programs in many places and with such supports the reporting is almost certainly greater than in many other parts of the country. In fact, the Duluth model for domestic violence policy and procedures has been adopted by numerous cities and counties outside the state, as well as other nations.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by ricklewsive on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:17:49 AM PST

    •  Agreed, but (0+ / 0-)

      that's not to say there aren't problems in Minnesota.  Minnesota is in some ways a fragmented state with wide disparities across geography and different demographics.  This data is probably not very useful without some further breakdowns.  

      That said, it is a little frustrating that in Minnesota, the law is easier on sex offenders than in many other states.  For example, information about only the most dangerous (Level III) offenders is available online.  In some states, Level II or even Level I offender information is available online.  That should change--I think it's fair for communities to want to know if a Level II offender is moving into the neighborhood or for citizens to be able to search that information for their own safety.  

      I worked at a call center in another state monitoring house arrestees, including sex offenders.  At times, some of those individuals re-offended and they weren't always...or even usually...Level IIIs.  

    •  BTW...like your signature line! (0+ / 0-)
  •  Actually, (0+ / 0-)

    there are signatures from residents of all 50 states, so I guess the United States will have to secede from itself.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:18:34 AM PST

  •  Reporting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mathazar

    ...if it's lower elsewhere, how much is because of no reporting? If you lived in "illegitimate rape" territory would you report it, if it happened to you?

  •  i call disingenuous diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes, slapshoe, ricklewsive

    I'll start with authors assertion that ' by Minneapolis standard that rape is ok if it is hot and people are drinking'. That may be how the author feels about Minneapolis but it is a conclusion unsupported by documentation, fact or reason, is certainly false and is laughable.

    Futhermore the author apears incredulous that weather might be a factor in rape and that an offical should state so. The concept and fact of crime going down in winter and up in better weather appears to elude the author.
    Then the author sites an unsupported opinion ('Foster said. "When I see rape rates down I know that less people are reporting .') and wraps these together to charge that police and sexual violence centers  aren't doing their job OR care! Hogwash, outrageous I say!
    And furthermore I would argue that MN law enforcement does a better job of tracking and reporting rape than other area's of the country and that this partly accounts for a higher reporting rate.

    Most importantly of all is the 'Definition of Rape' problem.
    Minnesota's definition and tracking are much more inclusive than other states and in fact, of the FBI (the FBI definitions are changing).
    Let's look at the stats once all the Defintions are the same to get a truer picture of whats going on in Minneapolis (and Corpus Christi). An apples to apples comparison will serve us much better. The 2012 FBI stats should reflect these new definitions.
    For instance look here at Chicago, they had no reported rapes because the FBI threw them all out over a definition issue. (scroll down to Chicago)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Rape is a terrible thing. I'm against it, so is a vast crushingly overwhelming majority of all Minnesota and Minneapolis citizens! To suggest otherwise is offensive at best.

    I would counter that when southern cops fail to investigate, track and report crimes against women that the numbers will certainly be skewed.

    Sorry you don't like Minnesota author. I'd much rather live here than in Texas.

    some Ref material here
    FBI rape def issues
    http://www.pri.org/...
    http://www.kansascity.com/...
    MN tracking/reporting
    http://barondave.livejournal.com/...

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