New research from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and University of California, Davis reported that, in California, the presence of female police officers was associated with increases in rape report rates, no change in rape arrest rates, and a decrease in clearance rates.
Using data from the Crimes and Clearances, Monthly Arrest and Citation Register and Uniform Crime Reporting data for California from 2013–2016, the study aimed to assess whether California law enforcement agencies with higher percentages of female officers were more likely to have higher rates of rape reporting, clearances, and arrests.
The findings include:
- a 5% increase in the percentage of female officers in an agency was associated with a 6.2% increase in the rape report rates,
- a 2.9% decrease in clearance rates, and
- no change in the rape arrest rates.
Says lead author, Zoe Kaplan, “As a result of their dual identities as police officers and women, female officers are uniquely positioned to respond to rape, a crime that predominately affects women. In this study, only the percentage of female officers was positively associated with an increase in rape reports. However, factors such as police culture, community outreach, or the presence of special rape units were not measured. This study also did not investigate how women might have become aware of female officers in their jurisdiction or mechanisms by which female officers could increase rape reporting. These factors may affect the key relationships in this study.”
Source: Kaplan, Zoe, Raul Caetano, Patrice Vaeth, Paul Gruenewald, William Ponicki, Rachelle Annechino, and Hannah Laqueur. “The Association between the Percentage of Female Law Enforcement Officers and Rape Report, Clearance, and Arrest Rates: A Spatiotemporal Analysis of California.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence (2023): 08862605231197134.