Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What's Different About Rape?

Here's one that intrigues me, although I suppose it is old stuff to the experts.  That is: I'm looking at data on the incidence of crime, state by state and I think I'm seeing a huge difference between all other crimes and rape.  I haven't done any real stats, but I think I'm looking at a very low correlation, perhaps negative.

Example: here I am scanning the list of the 15 most high-crime states in the country.  Nevada laps the field again, a veritable East Germany in the crime Olympics.   But--well, first a technical point.  Specifically: the overall rankings go from one (safest) to 50 (least safe).  But on the specific crime numbers, it's just the reverse--a low number (e.g. "1")  means a lot of crime; high (e.g., "50") means not a lot of crime).  Got that?  Good; then ere's Louisiana, number three most unsafe overall, first in murder and fourth in assault.  But Louisiana's rape ranking is just 33, i.e. pretty safe.  Or even more, Maryland: number eight overall, number two (nasty)  in murder and robbery, number 45 (safe) in rape.  Alaska, fourteenth most unsafe safe, is number one (most unsafe of all) in rape  (also an unsafe number three in assault, but that's another story).  Meanwhile California, fifteenth most unsafe, but a relatively safe 41 in rape.

Works the same way at the other end of the scale, too.  Here's New Hampshire, first over all, but only 29 in rape, worse than Louisiana and much worse than Maryland.  South Dakota, ninth safest overall, number three (very, very unsafe) in rape

What's going on here?  Just on a skim, I get the impression that a lot (not all) of high-rape states comprise vast open spaces (Alaska, South Dakota, etc.)--something about propinquity, or the absence thereof?  Or are there some states where men are more likely to regard women as sexual conveniences?  Or am I just data-mining, or are my thumbnail guesses wrong or, or, or...


ge315 said...

A few years ago (more?), there was a lot of talk (NPR, others) about a really egregious pattern of rape by outsiders on Indian reservations. The story was that tribal police have no power off the rez, and the federal authorities weren't that interested.

Taxmom said...

Is it possible that where crime is high in general, rapes are less likely to be reported, or that reports are less likely to be documented by an unconcerned (or overburdened) police force?