No arrests made in vast majority of Chicago sex crimes: report

A new report from the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation found that arrests were made in just 10% to 20% of all sexual assault and abuse complaints filed with the CPD between 2010 and 2019.

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A Chicago police star on a wall at headquarters.

CPD headquarters in Bronzeville.

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A new report issued by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation found that the vast majority of sexual harm complaints brought to the Chicago Police Department between 2010 and 2019 did not result in an arrest.

The report, titled “Too Little, Too Late,” states that arrests were made in just 10% to 20% of all sexual assault and abuse complaints filed with the department in that time frame.

In preparing the report, CAASE examined 10 years’ worth of crime data already made public on the city’s data portal. The organization focused on reported instances of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Publicly available crime data show that, over that decade, there were just under 10,000 complaints of sexual abuse and assault — aggravated and non-aggravated — filed with the CPD. According to the data portal, about 1,300 of those cases ended in arrest.

And while arrest totals have remained largely stagnant over that period, the number of complaints rose dramatically between 2014 and 2019, the report states.

“The number of reports has likely increased in response to the #MeToo movement, and our culture and legal systems’ expanding understanding of rape beyond those that are committed by a stranger, forcibly, at night, etc.,” the report states. “The stagnant arrest rate, however, could be the result of a lack of interest from police and their leaders in making arrests in these cases, low staffing levels to investigate and arrest people who cause harm, or other reasons.”

A spokesman for the CPD — which has more than 13,000 employees and a yearly budget of about $1.7 billion — noted that the department was recently awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the United States Department of Justice that will be used to develop policies and training in the areas of domestic violence and sexual misconduct.

“The report by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) highlights several important findings, and we share the opinion put forth in the report that sex crimes are not something that police can solve alone,” CPD spokesman Howard Ludwig said in a statement. “We need the help of the communities we serve to raise awareness around sexual assault and provide additional support to Chicago’s survivors.”

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