An “epidemic” suggests an increasing or at least level trend, right? University of Michigan-Flint economics professor Mark Perry, writing at AEI Ideas, breaks down crime stats from the sister Ann Arbor campus to show that, in fact, sexual assault reports are falling:
It should be noted that the UM crime reports include sexual assaults that took place: a) on-campus, b) off campus (including out of state) and c) on public property. Further, it includes sexual assaults reported to: a) the University of Michigan Campus Police Department, b) other police departments and c) non-police organizations like the UM Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. Therefore, it’s a pretty comprehensive report that covers off-campus sexual assaults and assaults not reported to campus police, but to another police department or to a university office or official – in contrast to some universities that apparently only report sexual assaults on campus and only to the campus police.
As the chart above shows, the number of “campus” sexual assaults at UM has been trending downward for the last decade, and in 2012 (most recent year available) the number of sexual assaults (34) was about half the numbers in 2004 (64), 2005 (65) and 2006 (65).
He also cites FBI crime data:
Note also that the downward trend in sexual assaults at UM is consistent with the downward trend in the national incidence of rape, which has fallen by 45% over the last 20 years, from 42.8 per 100,000 people to 23.6 per 100,000 last year (see chart below). If there’s a “rape epidemic” in America, it certainly isn’t supported by the FBI national crime data.
IMAGE: University of Michigan