MAP: Minneapolis police plot last year's 360 rapes - KMSP-TV

MAP: Minneapolis police plot last year's 360 rapes

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It's a violent crime that every woman fears, and although new FBI numbers show rape is down 10 percent across the country and down 26 percent in Minneapolis, where the crimes occur is startling.

Even though the number of cases declined last year, advocates for victims of sex crimes say rape cases remain underreported. Fear keeps victims from coming forward, and that fear is a reality for residents living in areas where reports are still coming in.

At the request of Fox 9 News, Minneapolis police plotted each of the 360 reported rapes on city maps -- and the result revealed clusters of crime. Yet, investigators say the emerging patterns don't surprise them.

On average, there was a rape every day in Minneapolis last year. That's a statistic that doesn't sit well with many residents, but it's quite another thing to see exactly where sexual assaults are happening over and over again.

Some of the neighborhoods with high concentrations -- like Uptown -- may be surprising, and the lieutenant in charge of the Minneapolis Police Department's Sex Crimes Unit says drinking and drugs are common draws.

"A lot of times, these hotspots are not reflective of the neighborhoods, but rather what happens in neighborhoods -- excessive drinking or drug use," Lt. Mike Martin said.

The biggest rape zone was found along Franklin Avenue, an area where 9 rapes were reported. Police say they also see prostitution and drug crimes in the area.

Another cluster appeared at 33rd and Nicollet and 32nd and Blaisell, where immigrant communities are becoming more willing to report rape crimes.

There were also clusters of rape reports in areas where young people like to party -- Uptown, Northeast, and Dinkytown. In fact, Martin said in half of his cases, the victims are intoxicated.

"I just wish friends wouldn't leave each other when they're drinking," he lamented. "If you go out with a group, please keep your group together."

Martin told Fox 9 News the biggest reason there's been a 26 percent reduction in rape in the city is because he has four investigators whose sole focus is checking on the 2,500 registered sex offenders in Minneapolis.

"We keep them on their toes when we check on them," Martin said. "It makes them nervous."

Martin also said that stranger rape is as rare as it is frightening. Only about 5 percent of the cases involve strangers once the cases that involve meeting someone at a bar are separated.

The clearance for rape cases in Minneapolis was 74 percent, meaning an arrest or a charge followed the report. Of the reported cases last year, investigators determined the accusation was unfounded in 15 cases.

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