In November 2018, we teamed up with Newsy and ProPublica to investigate rape clearance rates at police departments across the U.S.
We found that dozens of law enforcement agencies are making it appear as though they have solved a significant share of their rape cases when they simply have closed them.
They’re able to do this through a process called “exceptional clearance.” It allows police to close rape cases when they have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control.
As part of our reporting, we requested data on rape clearance rates from every police agency in America serving 300,000 people or more. Sixty-four of them have responded. Even though the rates are alarming in many cities, we focused on only a handful in our reporting. Local reporters can continue pushing this story forward in their own cities.
- Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting: Louisville Police Close More Than Half Of Rape Cases Without Arresting Anyone
- The Seattle Times: Why are arrest rates for rape in Washington state so underwhelming?
- The Baltimore Sun: Hundreds of Baltimore-area sex assault victims signed waivers releasing police from duty of investigating
- KUT 90.5: Austin City Council Orders Outside Review Of How Austin Police Investigate Sexual Assault
- The Baltimore Sun: Case cleared? In rape cases in Baltimore County and elsewhere it often doesn’t mean an arrest