Forcible rape, as defined in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Assaults or attempts to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.
The UCR Program counts one offense per victim when a female of any age is forcibly raped or upon whom an assault to rape or attempt to rape is made. Additionally, the Program classifies all sex offenses (except forcible rape) as Part II offenses and, as such, collects only arrest data, which are presented in aggregated totals. (See Appendix II.) Consequently, statutory rapes of female victims where no force is used and the victim is under the age of consent are included in sex offenses. Sexual attacks on males are classified as assaults or sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury.
National Volume, Trends, and Rate
Based on law enforcement reports, an estimated 93,433 forcible rape offenses occurred nationwide in 2003. This figure was 1.9 percent lower than the 95,235 forcible rapes estimated for 2002. Five- and 10-year trend comparisons revealed that the 2003 volume was 4.5 percent above the estimated 89,411 offenses in 1999 but 8.6 percent below the 102,216 forcible rapes recorded in 1994. (See Table 1, national estimates.) Of the total number of forcible rapes estimated for 2003, rapes by force accounted for 91.0 percent. The remainder was attempts. (Based on Table 19.)
Throughout this publication, the UCR Program calculated forcible rape rates (including those listed above and those in subsequent tables) using estimates of the total U.S. population. Within this narrative, however, the forcible rape rates were based on the U.S. Census Bureau's 2003 estimate of the Nation's female population. According to those calculations, 63.2 forcible rapes occurred per 100,000 females in 2003, a 2.7-percent decrease from the 2002 rate of 65.0. The 2003 rate of forcible rape declined 1.4 percent from the 1999 rate of 64.1 (the 5-year trend) and fell 17.9 percent from the 1994 estimate of 77.0 forcible rapes per 100,000 females (the 10-year trend).
Regional Offense Trends and Rates
For data analyses, the UCR Program divides the United States into four regions: the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, and the West. (A map delineating these regions is published in Appendix III.) Overall, the rate of forcible rape declined in all four regions from 2002 to 2003. Regional tabulations of forcible rape data (based on Tables 3 and 4, regional estimates) revealed the following:
Law enforcement agencies in the Northeast reported an estimated 12,511 forcible rape offenses--13.4 percent of the forcible rape total--in 2003. In that region, which accounted for 18.7 percent of the total U.S. population, 45.3 forcible rapes occurred per 100,000 female inhabitants. The rate of forcible rape for 2003 was a 2.9-percent decrease from the 46.6 rapes per 100,000 females in 2002.
In 2003, an estimated 23,404 forcible rape offenses occurred in the Midwest, where 22.5 percent of the Nation's population resided. Forcible rape offenses in that region comprised 25.0 percent of the national forcible rape volume. Females were victims of forcible rape in the Midwest at a rate of 70.4 offenses per 100,000 female inhabitants in 2003, a 3.5-percent decline from the 2002 rate of 73.0 forcible rapes per 100,000 female population.
Based on law enforcement reports from the South, an estimated 35,133 forcible rape offenses were committed in that region in 2003. The South, which comprised 35.9 percent of total U.S. population, had 37.6 percent of the forcible rape offenses that occurred nationwide. The rate of forcible rape in the South was 66.1 offenses per 100,000 females in 2003, a 2.7-percent decrease from the 68.0 rapes per 100,000 female inhabitants in 2002.
In 2003, law enforcement agencies in the West reported an estimated 22,385 forcible rape offenses, which equated to 24.0 percent of all forcible rapes nationwide. In that region, where 22.9 percent of the Nation's population resided, forcible rapes were committed at a rate of 66.3 per 100,000 females in 2003, a 1.9-percent decline from the 2002 rate of 67.5.
The UCR Program aggregates data for three community types: Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), cities outside metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan counties. (Appendix III further explains the composition of these community types.) In 2003, the rate of forcible rape among MSAs was 64.5 offenses per 100,000 females. The highest forcible rape rate, recorded for cities outside metropolitan areas, was estimated at 75.1 rapes per 100,000 female inhabitants. Lastly, nonmetropolitan counties had 45.7 forcible rapes per 100,000 female population. (Based on Table 2, community types estimates.)
Clearances occur either by arrest or by exceptional means, i.e., when elements beyond the control of law enforcement prevent the placing of formal charges against the offender. (Section III provides more information regarding clearances.) During 2003, law enforcement cleared 44.0 percent of forcible rapes that were reported in the United States. By population grouping, agencies in cities (collectively) cleared 43.4 percent of all rape offenses. The percentage of forcible rape offenses cleared in the Nation's largest cities, those with 1 million and more inhabitants, was 48.5 percent. Law enforcement agencies in metropolitan counties cleared 45.4 percent of the reported forcible rapes in their communities, and agencies in nonmetropolitan counties cleared 46.8 percent. (See Table 25.)
Law enforcement agencies in the Northeast cleared 48.5 percent of the forcible rape offenses brought to their attention in 2003, the highest clearance percentage among law enforcement in all four regions. Agencies in the South cleared 46.8 percent of forcible rape offenses, and those in the West cleared 41.9 percent of the region's forcible rape offenses. Law enforcement in the Midwest cleared 38.5 percent of forcible rape offenses by arrest or exceptional means. (See Table 26.)
Clearances and Juveniles
When an offender under the age of 18 is cited to appear in juvenile court or before other juvenile authorities, the UCR Program records the incident as a clearance by arrest even though a physical arrest may not have occurred. In addition, according to Program definitions, clearances involving both adult and juvenile offenders are classified as adult clearances. Therefore, the following clearance data do not necessarily depict the full extent to which juveniles were offenders of forcible rape.
Nationwide, the clearance of rape offenses involving juveniles only accounted for 11.5 percent of total forcible rape clearances in 2003. Law enforcement agencies in cities (collectively) reported that 10.6 percent of all forcible rape clearances involved only juveniles. Among the Nation's cities, the highest percentage of forcible rape clearances involving only juveniles, 13.4 percent, was in cities with populations of 25,000 to 49,999. Forcible rape clearances involving only juveniles comprised 7.2 percent, the lowest percentage, of forcible rape clearances in cities with populations of 250,000 and over. Clearances of offenders under the age of 18 made up 13.6 percent of all forcible rape clearances in metropolitan counties and 16.0 percent of those in nonmetropolitan counties. (See Table 28.)
Law enforcement agencies nationwide made an estimated 26,350 arrests for forcible rape in 2003. (See Table 29.) The national rate of arrests for forcible rape was 9.0 arrests per 100,000 U.S. inhabitants. In cities, collectively, law enforcement made 9.4 arrests per 100,000 in population. Agencies in metropolitan counties and nonmetropolitan counties recorded 7.8 arrests and 8.9 arrests per 100,000 persons of their respective populations. (See Table 31.)
Based on the data of those arrested for forcible rape, 45.9 percent were under 25 years old, and 30.9 percent were under 21 years old. Further, the data showed that 16.1 percent of forcible rape arrestees were under the age of 18, and 6.0 percent were under 15 years old. (See Table 41.) Adults, defined by the UCR Program as individuals 18 years of age and older, accounted for 83.9 percent of forcible rape arrestees. (See Table 38.)
Race distributions for adults and juveniles arrested for forcible rape were similar for 2003. Of those adults arrested for the offense, 64.1 percent were white, 33.3 percent were black, and 2.6 percent were other races. (See Table 43.) Among juvenile arrestees, 64.1 percent were white, 33.4 percent were black, and 2.5 percent were other races. (See Table 43.)
When compared to the arrest volume recorded for 2002, the number of arrests for forcible rape decreased 5.1 percent overall in 2003. The 2-year trend (2002 and 2003) showed that arrests of adults for the offense declined 4.3 percent and those of juveniles decreased 9.0 percent. (See Table 36.) Five-year trend data (from 1999 and 2003) revealed a 5.0-percent decrease in the number of persons arrested for forcible rape in 2003, with the number of arrests for forcible rape involving adult arrestees down 3.8 percent and that involving juvenile arrestees down 10.5 percent. (See Table 34.) Ten-year trend data (those from 1994 and 2003) indicated a 22.3-percent drop in the number of persons arrested for forcible rape; forcible rape arrests of adults and juveniles decreased 21.8 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively. (See Table 32.)
Trend Rate per 100,000 Year Number of offenses inhabitants 2002 95,235 33.10 2003 93,433 32.10 Percent change -1.9 -2.8 Table 2.17 Forcible Rape by Month Percent Distribution, 1999-2003 Month 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 January 8.1 8.0 7.7 7.6 7.9 February 7.3 7.5 7.1 7.0 6.8 March 8.2 8.5 8.4 7.8 8.3 April 8.2 8.0 8.3 8.6 8.1 May 8.6 9.0 8.8 9.0 9.0 June 8.8 9.1 8.7 9.0 8.7 July 9.6 9.5 9.7 9.6 9.5 August 9.5 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 September 8.3 8.4 8.6 9.1 8.9 October 8.3 8.3 8.5 8.4 8.4 November 7.9 7.5 7.6 7.4 7.7 December 7.2 6.9 7.2 6.9 7.1