Start by Believing Headlines
Saturday, June 6th, 2015
Reports of rape, assault in SLO for 2014 were highest in the last decade
Recently released statistics reveal that San Luis Obispo city police received more reports of rape in 2014 than any year in a decade, and almost three times the rate for cities of similar size.

Last year’s data also indicates that serious assaults are on the rise, a trend found in nearly every San Luis Obispo County city, according to crime data provided to The Tribune from each police department and the county Sheriff’s Office.

The numbers only reflect reports of crimes, not whether they resulted in a conviction. Each year, local law enforcement agencies report their respective raw stats to the California Department of Justice and the FBI, which review the numbers and may accept or reject some cases.

Every summer, the California Attorney General’s Office and the FBI publish those numbers in their annual crime reports. Crime statistics are considered preliminary until accepted by the state and federal government.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department published its data in a 2014 Annual Report, which can be found on its website.

In 2014, there were 44 reported rapes, 25 robberies, 168 aggravated assaults, 206 burglaries, 1,162 thefts and 71 vehicle thefts. Though crime trends generally ebb and flow, violent crimes of rape and assault have recently spiked while property crimes decreased or held steady.

The number of reported rapes is alarming, acting Police Chief Chris Staley said Friday, and the department’s detective bureau is looking into why. One possible cause, he said, is increased community outreach by groups such as RISE, formerly the Sexual Assault and Prevention Recovery Center and the North County Women’s Shelter and Resource Center.

Since the two organizations merged in 2013, the Police Department has worked with the non-profit in its “Start by Believing” campaign to get information to the public about resources such as counseling and crisis intervention.

“The purpose of those efforts is to make people feel more comfortable in coming forward and reporting (rape),” Staley said. “We have been looking at what we can do education-wise to inform people on those numbers and make them aware of ways to avoid being a victim.”

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