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Data for sex offenses in Louisiana: What's the truth?

Sex offenses are serious crimes that can leave those accused with a ruined reputation. There are several statistics that show the number of sex crimes is dropping in Louisiana, despite the number of people charged with sex crimes every day. According to the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault, in 2009, forcible rapes were estimated at 30.3 per 100,000 inhabitants, so it's not as common as some would have you think.

Individual risk factors, like antisocial tendencies or hostility toward women, have been named as things to look out for when investigating sex crimes. That shouldn't be all there is to base the case on, though, since hostility could be circumstantial or antisocial tendencies could just be someone being shy. There are a number of ways to look at these supposed criminal characteristics, and they aren't always what they appear. Relationship factors include association with aggressive or delinquent peers, being in an unsupportive family environment or having a violent home life with few resources; these factors shouldn't immediately mean that someone accused of sexual assault is thought of as being guilty.

For example, a lack of employment opportunities may open up some to violent situations, but that doesn't mean that every person who is unemployed will be violent. Communities should also be tolerant of a discussion of sexual abuse cases, so those who have been charged can give their side of the story, too. Additionally, weak sanctions may benefit those who have not committed these crimes or who have been set up to take the fall, despite some arguing that they are promoting sexual violence.

There are several years' worth of data for rape in Louisiana, according to Disaster Center. In 1960, for instance, 279 people reported being raped in the state. In 1970, a decade later, that number had jumped up to 841. In 1980, that number reached 1,867. Fortunately, after that date, a decline can be seen. In 1990, there were 1,781 reported rapes. In 2000, the number again dropped to 1,497. The latest year reported was in 2012, and the statistics show that 1,158 reports were made for rape crimes.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Sexual Violence" Jul. 17, 2014

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