Sex Crime Arrests Going Down?

By Ryan Dearbone | 

Did you know that here in Kentucky a person is raped or sexually assaulted every 6 hours and 46 seconds?

According to Hope Harbor, the number of reported sexual assaults in our area has jumped from 84 in 2004 to 105 last year.

While sexual crimes are on the rise, a new FBI study says the number of arrests made in these cases are falling.

Dawn Long has worked with sexually-abused children for years and since day one she's seen a steady increase of children walking in child advocacy's doors.

Thats why she finds it hard to believe that the number of people being arrested for sexual abuse is dwindling.

"The number of children entering the system and the arrests that are made just aren't the same. The way in which cases are defined, the way they're investigated, the way they're tracked at the local, state and national level may vary pretty significantly," Long said.

Kentucky State Police detective Laura Isenberg agrees.

"At this post, I can't see a decline in sexual crime cases. If they are consistent or above where they normally are," she said.

Isenberg says her post is busy everyday with sex crime complaints and arrests.

The FBI says that in 1997 there were more than 70,237 sex crime arrests nationwide but in 2006, that number was down to 63,243.

Last year, there were nearly 13,000 cases of sexual abuse, both adults and children, reported here in Kentucky, but thats just the tip of the iceberg.

"We know that 60-percent of all rapes or attempted rapes are never reported to police I feel that probably has an affect on the amount of arrests," explained Melissa Whitley, of Hope Harbor.

Long says despite national numbers of arrests, ours are growing.

But they aren't as high as they should be.

"There's a large number of cases and we don't always have enough designated police officers and investigators. That's the bottom line," Long said.

That's why she says it's especially important that sex crimes are reported and their perpetrators are arrested, so offenders can be held responsible.

Isenberg says the state of Kentucky along with other states have adapted their laws over time.

They've also become more proactive when it comes to cracking down on sex offenders.


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