Ohio Crime Mapping Part 8 | Rape 1974-2008

Rape is defined in US criminal law as a type of sexual assault, usually involving sexual intercourse, which was initiated by one or more people against a person without that person’s consent. This act can be achieved in a variety of ways, including by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of consent. Consent is often the debate point in many rape cases: whether or not consent was given, implied, or able to be given under the circumstance. There are a variety of types of rape including date rape, gang rape, spousal rape, rape of children and statutory rape.
However, since the vast majority of rapes are on female victims, the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data only includes offenses against a woman. The FBI defines Forcible Rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Included in the UCR data is attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force, however, statutory rape without force and other sex offenses are excluded. The UCR data counts one offense for each female victim of forcible rape, attempted rape, or assault in a rape attempt. Included is rapes or attempted rapes by family members and not considered an act of incest. All other sexual offenses are “Part II offenses” which included statutory rape, where only arrest data is collected. Sexual crimes against males are considered aggravated assaults or sex offenses depending on the situation and injuries that occurred.
In 2009, across the US, there were an estimated 88,097 forcible rapes. This was a 2.6% decrease from the 2008 estimate, a 6.6% decrease from the 2005 estimate and a 2.3% decrease from the 2000 levels. This estimated rate of forcible rapes equated to 5.66 per 10,000 females, which was a 3.4% decrease compared to the 2008 rate of 5.86 rapes per 10,000. Forcible rapes made up 93% of the rape offenses in 2009 with the remainder being attempts or assaults to commit rape.
Looking more closely at Ohio, the MSA areas of Ohio, with a 93.5% report rate, recorded 3,348 forcible rapes in 2009; with a 100% report rate, the number was estimated to be about 3,497. In the cities outside the Ohio MSA’s, with an 80.6% report rate, there was 242 reported rapes; with a 100% report rate, this number was estimated to be 300 rapes. Finally, in the non-MSA county areas, with a 90.6% reporting rate, there were 204 reported forcible rapes; this number was estimated to be 225 with 100% of the areas reporting. All told, Ohio recorded 3.48 forcible rapes for every 10,000 females in 2009, well below the national average. It should be reminded that our rates for this study are per 10,000 women per year.

Our first study period, 1974 through 1978, began a trend that will continue throughout our study: urban counties lead the state in rape rates.  In a very close comparison, Franklin County (Columbus) edged out Lucas County (Toledo) for the top spot in rape rates with 4.709 per 10,000 females compared to 4.701 per 10,000 females.  Trailing quite significantly but also with very close rates were Hamilton (Cincinnati), Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Montgomery (Dayton) Counties with 3.679, 3.676 and 3.673 rapes per 10,000 women respectively.  From 1974 until 1978 only one county, Morgan, had a rape rate of 0; this could be due to a lack of reporting or just an all together absence of rapes.  The county with the lowest recorded rape rate was Holmes County, with only 0.09 rapes per 10,000 women.

From 1979 until 1983, Ohio experience a surge in rape rates amongst the leading counties.  Climbing in to the first position was Lucas County with 5.43 rapes per 10,000.  Also distancing themselves from other counties was Cuyahoga and Franklin Counties with 5.35 and 5.32 rapes per 10,000 women.  Rounding out our top five for this study period was Montgomery and Hamilton Counties, with a much lower 4.50 and 4.36 rapes per 10,000 women..  Interestingly, even more counties, including Monroe, Morgan, Jackson and Meigs had zero reported rapes from 1979 through 1983; Putnam County had the lowest rate with a recording at only 0.25 rapes per 10,000 women.

The rape rate statewide continued to surge upward from 1984 through 1988, with Cuyahoga County claiming the top spot at 6.63 rapes for every 10,000 women.  Close behind, Franklin County recorded 6.52 rapes for every 10,000 women in the county.  Previous leader, Lucas County, fell to third place with 6.28 rapes per 10,000.  Montgomery and Hamilton Counties fell in to fourth and fifth with 5.89 and 5.28 rapes for every 10,000 women.  Again, the number of counties with no recorded rapes grew from 1984 through 1988, likely due to a lack of reporting.  Holmes County, Northeast of Columbus, had the lowest recorded rape rate, with only 0.09 rapes per 10,000 women in the county.

For the fourth consecutive study, rape rates in Ohio continued to expand at an alarming rate from 1989 until 1993.  Lucas County climbed almost 3 rapes per 10,000 to a staggeringly high 9.09 rapes per 10,000 females.  For the first time in our study, a county outside of the major MSA’s of Ohio climbed in to the top 5: Allen County, which encompasses Lima, jumped into the second place with a doubling of its previous rate, to 8.30 rapes for every 10,000 women.  Franklin County also recorded a significant increase, pushing it to third place, with 8.09 rapes per 10,000 women.  Closing out our top five was Montgomery and Cuyahoga Counties, with 7.933 and 7.930 rapes for every 10,000 women.  As noted, a new county filled a position in the top five, so Hamilton County fell to sixth place with 6.76 rapes per 10,000.  From 1989 through 1993, 8 counties had no recorded rapes; Putnam County had the lowest recorded rape rate with 0.10 rapes per 10,000 women.

For the first time in this study, the State of Ohio was able to record a decrease in rape rates from 1994 until 1998.  Franklin County again took over the top position with 7.83 rapes per 10,000 women.  In a fairly distant second place was Cuyahoga County with 7.14 rapes per 10,000.   Another new county managed to make the list for this study: Clark County experienced a slight increase pushing it into third with 7.14 rapes per 10,000.  Finally, Lucas and Allen Counties took the last two positions with 6.55 and 6.30 rapes per 10,000 women.  Montgomery fell to 6.29 per 10,000 and Hamilton fell to 4.27 rapes per 10,000 women, by far the lowest of the major counties.  Continuing another previous trend, more counties (12) had no recorded rapes; Coshocton County Northeast of Columbus had the lowest recorded rape rate with only 0.09 rapes per 10,000 women.

1999 through 2003 continued to witness the decrease in the rape rates statewide.  However, the new leader, Allen County, saw a substantial increase in rates to 7.63 rapes per 10,000 women.  Franklin County was able to record a decrease and saw a drop in to second place with 6.93 rapes per 10,000.   Third place was occupied by Clark County, with 6.35 rapes per 10,000 people.  Another newcomer climbed into fourth place: Washington County, recording 6.07 rapes for every 10,000 women.  Last, Cuyahoga County recorded 5.47 rapes per 10,000.  Montgomery and Hamilton Counties missed our leader board, but climbed into sixth and seventh, with 5.45 and 4.91 rapes for every 10,000 women.  It appears data reporting significantly increased from 1999 through 2003, as only one county (Pike) had zero recorded rapes; the lowest recording was registered by Jackson County with only 0.08 rapes for every 10,000 women.

From 2004 to 2008, a reversal of the previous timeframe occurred, with Ohio recording its highest average statewide in rape rates.  Allen County again retained the position as leader with 8.24 rapes for every 10,000 women.  Lagging significantly behind was Franklin County with 6.52 rapes per 10,000.  Interestingly, the suburb county of Butler County surged in to third place with 5.70 rapes per 10,000 women.  Hamilton and Summit, another newcomer, closed out the five with 5.53 and 5.14 rapes for every 10,000.  For the first time, Cuyahoga County placed out of the top five, with 4.76 rapes per 10,000.  Montgomery County remained out of the top five with only 4.53 rapes per 10,000 women.  Two Counties, Noble and Monroe recorded zero rapes from 2004 through 2008; Wyandot had the lowest rate with a recording, registering a rate of only 0.11 rapes per 10,000 women.

Of all the crimes evaluated so far here at Three Scale, it appears as though the State of Ohio has had little success curbing rape rates across the state.  While the rates have remained below that of the US, there was a significant leap from 1974-1993 and then again from 1999 until 2008.  The most recent statewide data showed numbers that were higher than anything previously evaluated in our study, a very disturbing statistic.  The counties that contained major urban areas, like Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas and Montgomery Counties all regularly placed high on our lists.  Smaller Counties like Allen, Clark and Washington Counties also made the list.

Possibly the most disconcerting statistic of this evaluation is the fact that only 14 of the 88 counties in Ohio managed to record a decrease in rape rates from 1974 through 2008.  It appears as though the state needs to reevaluate its rape prevention programs, analyze what worked in the 90’s and potentially implement new programs based on these studies.  As mentioned, Ohio still falls below the US average in terms of rape rates per 10,000 women, but such increases statewide should be unacceptable and more effort should be put forth to slow and turn around these rates.