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Introduction

Crime rates in New York have dramatically fallen over the past decade, and it attracted attention of the entire world. In New York, they are various crimes that occur almost on daily bases. These crimes include car theft, murder, bank robberies, and rape crimes amongst many others. This essay examines rape crimes in details from the 1950s to present. Over the recent times, various crime investigating companies have come up with different reports (Chaiken, Lawless & Stevenson, 1974). Most information about rape comes from different sources such as journals written by different writers, New York magazines, and news from the media, such as television, and agencies, such as rape crisis centers, that offer services to sexual assault victims from different parts of the New York City. The New York City police department is another big source that provides crime rates reports. It records reported crime and offense data based on the New York State laws, from which they generate crime reports either on weekly bases, monthly, or even annually. Research done suggests that only one in six rapes is reported to the law enforcement agencies (Ruggiero & Kilpatrick, 2003). Similarly, a very small percentage of sexual assault casualties seek services from either rape crisis centers, or other sexual violence agencies.

Therefore, an inclusive picture of new cases of sexual assault that occurs annually cannot be clearly gotten from either police reports, or sexual violence agencies. Mostly, the effects of rape are often intense and persistent upon the casualties. The rape victims may suffer physical and mental health problems for some time, or even for a lifetime. When measuring the magnitude of rape problems, one should not be limited to the number of rape incidences that have occurred or the number of women who have been recently raped. However, it is essential to determine the number of women who have ever been raped because most of them may be facing some problems that require services. The best way to get a percentage of women in the population, who has ever been raped, is by conducting a well-designed victimization survey (Ruggiero & Kilpatrick, 2003). This is a method that has been approved by most of the experts.

As in many other cities, silence often follows rape in New York City. This is especially, where a rape casualty is regarded as a disgraced woman unfit for marriage. However, due to an outcry over a string of recent rapes in this city, this silence has greatly shattered by focusing nationwide attention on the rising number of sexual assaults. This has also led to the exposure of the conservative male dominated power by treating the victims with callous disregard. The changing gender dynamics also played a very important role in reducing the number of rape crimes occurrence. More females are attending school thus entering the work force, or choosing their own spouses. This is a trend that is regarded by some men as a threat (Charleston, 2012).

On may 15 (2006), the New York Assembly passed a bill that provides additional years to charge rapists and offers auxiliary rights to their casualties. The bill was intended to eliminate New York’s five–year law of restrictions for prosecuting rape cases. In 1973, a dramatic rape crime occurred that captured headlines throughout the state. The length of this case brought awareness of the difficulties prosecutors face in pursuing rape cases whenever investigations extend beyond five years (Ruggiero & Kilpatrick, 2003).

Forcible rape is highly practiced in New York City. The legal definition of forcible rape is that it is an event that occurs without a girl or woman’s consent, and that involves the use of force, or threat of force, and the involvement of penetration of the casualties’ vagina, mouth, or even the rectum. There are some other types of rape that women and children in the New York City experience. These include attempted forcible rape, which involves an attempt to commit forcible rapes, incapacitated rape (use of drugs, or alcohol to facilitate rape), and statutory rape (forcible sex act with an underage child).

Media Coverage

New York’s media often carry horrific accounts of gang rapes and attacks once rarely seen. Through sensationalism, journalists are able to attract an audience and hence get an edge. In New York City, this has become a daily occurrence.  Competition for readers and consumers of news is very intense among different news producers. Existence of many sources, that the public can get information from, facilitates competition among the journalists. This makes journalists resort to sensationalism in order to attract more customers thereby making more profits than their competitors. Sensationalism is a word that was first used to criticize “yellow journalism” of newspapers in the nineteenth century. These newspapers were such as the New York Journal and the New York World. Since then, the term has been applied by media coverage for attention-grabbing and charming to the lowest instincts or focusing on superficial details. Sensationalism is anticipated at stimulating strong emotional reactions to the readers and viewers.

In the New York City, media coverage is mainly concentrated on crime. They use attractive headlines that get the reader’s attention. On the contrary, some people argue that, sensationalism is wrong since it aims simply at giving the readers what they want to read rather than giving out facts. The fact is that sensationalism distorts the information. Crime reporting in the city has become a business to venture due to the high demand from both the viewers and readers (Bloomberg 2012). It is evident that most of the news broadcasting stations and newspapers lay more emphases on the crime related issues in order to increase viewership and readership numbers. Intentionally, journalists omit facts and information to counter competition from the rest. Sometimes insignificant information and events are misrepresented and exaggerated as important. Often they include stories about the actions of individuals and small groups of people.

No matter how much experts try to teach the public about sensationalism, journalist will ensure that their news always gets the public attention. Crimes, such as rape of either a young girl, or an old woman, are much appealing to the public if they appear as headlines. One is driven by the urge to know more hence he/she ends up buying newspapers. Journalists take this advantage to maximize their profits, bearing in mind that media groups are profit-making organizations; such headlines will always attract the customers.

Month Rate Crimes

According to the research done by the New York police department within a week (11/5/2012-11/11/2012), rape cases have greatly reduced compared to the previous years (Bloomberg 2012). Robbery crimes are the most rampant in the New York City. Despite of the decreasing number of rape cases, they follow robbery, implying that rape is still occurring at a high rate. Strict measures that have been introduced by the government over the recent days may have greatly contributed to this. This may be due to the patrols done by uniformed police officers on foot or in cars, which is often assumed to discourage crime. Various researchers and many policemen doubt if certain measures, such as patrols, are effective since situations, under which crimes occur, are not well understood. Institution of anticrime measures complicates the analysis of reported crime rates. Rather than reflecting the actual crime rates, they reflect changes in the reporting practices. This is the reason why crimes will never cease. Mostly reports are based on the number of reported incidences, meaning that they cannot be fully reliable since some cases are never reported.

Involvement of police officers to establish security over the recent days has played a vital role in reducing crime activities occurring per months. Strict measures, developed to be applied to perpetrators, have significantly discouraged many from getting involved in such crime activities. Introduction of patrol officers is another factor that has led to decrease in the number of crimes occurring in the New York City. Nobody knows the time at which the patrolling officers will visit the site, where the offenders tend to commit a crime. This uncertainty has helped in reducing the rate of crime occurrence (Ruggiero & Kilpatrick, 2003).

As seen earlier, crime is the most sensationalized thing by the media. It is used to maximize the profits since crimes are more appealing to the readers and viewers. Coming up with crimes headlines attracts many customers to buy their newspaper or magazine. For instance, on September 25th, 2012 one of the reporters of a certain New York newspaper came up with some rape incidences with a headline of “Is There a Rape Epidemic in NYC?” Every reader would want to know the reason to why such a heading was used. She presented a scenario where a 56-year old woman was raped. Both the suspect and the victim had gone there (East River Esplanade) for the Occupy Wall Street anniversary. Though the news was not pleasing at all, the headline only caught the interest of many readers resulting to high demand of the paper (Bloomberg 2012).

Reasons for rape occurrence

According to statistics, every six minutes a person is raped in the United States. In the New York City, rape cases have become a part of the daily life. One of the causes of rape cases in the city is the use of power and violence. In most occasions, perpetrators use power over the casualties. This means that they use force, threats, violence and deceit against the victims.

In August, a New York police officer was charged with rape while off duty. Following his arrest, he was suspended without pay and stripped of his gun and badge. The 27 years old officer worked a night shift that ended at 8a.m on Thursday morning. The victim was a 25 year old teacher. She informed the police that, she was on her way to work in Bronx, when she met a stranger near her house. The stranger appeared to be inebriated and was in need of directions.  On the way, she said that the man put his arm around her and pointed at a pistol that was on his belt, and said,” you are coming with me”. The stranger did not identify himself as a police officer, but instead used the power of a weapon against the victim (Ruggiero & Kilpatrick, 2003).

Through the use of a threat, he led the woman along for two or three blocks. He turned into a backyard behind a residential building and then raped her. A woman from neighborhood was awoken by the noise and looked outside. After seeing what was happening, she called 911 and reported the matter. A certain man passing by came upon the attacker whose pants were down and apparently believing that he interrupted a consensual encounter, he excused himself.

Within three minutes after the call, three police officers arrived on the scene. As soon as the police arrived, the victim immediately ran to them. She told them that he (the man) had raped her and cautioned them to be careful since the man had a gun. The officers handcuffed the perpetrator and called an ambulance, which took the victim to the hospital.

This incident, which is among many other rape cases in the New York City, shows that power as been misused. New York has been a city dominated by men for a long time, therefore, rape and sexual assaults are found to be as one of the ways that men use to enact their dominance in a violent way over women, children, or even other fellow men.

Statistics from different sources concludes that it is not easy to come up with the real cause of this inhuman act. This makes it very hard to come up with a way to fight against this vice. The only solution is to come up with strict measures that should be taken to the perpetrators and providing more civic education to the public. Also, the victims should be advised to report the cases immediately after they occur.

Crime change

Crime rates, in New York, have greatly dropped in the past twenty years according to reports released by the New York Police Department. This decline has been approved by criminologists, but they cannot fully describe the reason behind it. In addition, it has led to an endless debate among the criminologists and social scientists whether effective policing was truly the reason behind the fall of crime rates as compared to factors such as improved economic conditions, the crack of cocaine epidemic, and higher imprisonment rate.

However, the measure that constantly reduces the occurrence of crimes in New York is arrest rate. From statistics done in the 1990s, it is clear that the rate at which arrests increase is proportional to the rate at which crime rate reduces (Charleston, 2012). When arrests of burglars increased by 10 percent, it was found that the number of burglaries fell by 1.6 percent. Consequently, the number of robberies fell by 0.2 percent when the arrest of robbers was raised by 10 percent. This verifies that the New York City police department has played a major role in eradicating occurrence of crimes in the city.

On the contrary to high arrest rates, some people believe that it was the economic boom of the 1990’s that brought about the decline of crime rate (Charleston, 2012). This encouraged people to remain on the straight ways of earning living rather than engaging in crime activities. This concludes that a small increase in rate of unemployment leads to increase in crime rates. Since the 1980’s, many job opportunities have been developed, decreasing the rate of unemployment, which greatly helped in fighting the crimes in New York. Improvements in the sector of education have played a big role towards crime eradication. A large number of people enrolled in different learning instructions in the early 1970s. With a larger number of elite people, crime rates have greatly reduced.

Prevention and crime control strategies

The best way to prevent the occurrence of rape crimes is by the use of self-defense. Since nobody knows when the incidence may occur, it is good to be prepared all the time. One is advised to employ some self-defense techniques such as carrying and using a non lethal weapon whenever attacked. A potential victim will have time to attract attention of someone, who may be close to the victim. It also scares the perpetrator, who might decide to run away in fear of being caught (Criminal Justice: Police Strategies, N.d.).

Date rape and sexual assaults are some of the rape crimes that often happen and are never reported. This mainly takes place during parties, in a friend’s home, or even in the dorm. In order to prevent this, one needs to be aware of the surroundings and know that any situation can likely turn into an assault. Moreover, young women should come face to face with the reality that date rape is a real danger that may put them in a position to report an assault, or a rape attempt. This should be treated with the seriousness that it deserves.

On the other side, patrol by the police officers remains the backbone of protecting the public. The patrol can be either on foot, or by car. It makes citizens less fearful of the crime occurrence and improves their attitudes towards the police. It also scares individuals, who plan to commit crimes as nobody knows the time when the patrolling officers will pass by due to the feeling that they are everywhere (Chaiken, Lawless & Stevenson, 1974).

Another strategy that can be used to prevent the occurrence of crime is employment of proactive policing operations. This includes operations such as frisking, use of decoys, going undercover, and saturating an area with high crime rates with police officers to maintain law and order. This has been proven to be effective in comparison to patrolling. Its use will greatly reduce crime rates as perpetrators will always be scared to carry out crimes.

Different police units should be deployed to deal with different categories of crimes. Robbery crimes should be handled differently from other crimes such as rape. This ensures that crimes are investigated with the seriousness they deserve. This will also make sure that no area is neglected, and equal attention is given to each sector. If used well, this can largely help to reduce the crime rates (Charleston, 2012).

Conclusion

As earlier seen, rape crimes in the New York City have greatly reduced overtime. Establishment of new laws is one of the factors that helped in the fight against this inhuman vice. Stern measures to the perpetrators have discouraged many from taking parts in crimes (Criminal Justice: Police Strategies, N.d.). In return, it has reduced crimes occurrence at very high percentage. Education has also played an integral part in eradicating crime. The number of elite people has been growing continually in comparison to the percent of illiterate people. This, in return, has lead to the creation of self-employment, leaving a very small percent of unemployed people. With more employed people, number of crimes occurring is small as most people are busy hence there is no idling.

Establishment of prevention measures and coming up with crimes control strategies helps to curb crime. Educating the mass of the effect of certain crimes can also reduce their probability. However, coming up with law enforcing strategies would be more effective.  The use of strategies, such as patrol by the police officers, and use of proactive policing operations, which include frisking, use of decoys, going undercover, and saturating an area with high crime rates with police officers, also can improve security by maintaining law and order in this crime centered area.

Deployment of strict measures offers detailed explanations for the decline of crime activities in the New York City. If all these prevention measures and crime control strategies can be implemented, crime rates can fall at a much higher percentage as many people will fear the consequences that one can face if caught. Therefore, it is advisable to make the laws more strict and make people follow them to the letter and by doing so will help to eradicate some crimes, such as rape which is inhuman (Ruggiero & Kilpatrick, 2003).

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