Sarah Layden is the director of programs and public policy at Resilience, a Chicago-based rape crisis center. She said she knows the solve rate for sexual assaults in Chicago is low because of DNA testing and a “wide variety of reasons” cases are suspended and take so long to solve. But she said CPD making zero arrests in Rogers Park is concerning.
“While I would hope to see at least a few of those 12 resolved, I don’t know that we’re in a place where unfortunately I’m shocked by it, in all honesty,” Layden said.
A report from the organization Human Rights Watch found that 1,474 of 7,494 collections of physical evidence, or “rape kits,” obtained since 1995 in 127 Illinois agencies were confirmed as “tested.” This means around 80 percent of rape kits in the data set weren’t tested.
Most sexual assaults aren’t reported — with only 23 percent of crimes reported to the police according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). RAINN statistics also indicate that roughly 20 percent of the reports lead to an arrest.
Layden said the staff at Resilience encourages people to learn about the criminal justice system and the reality of going through a sexual assault investigation before deciding to file a police report. She said she would advise sexual assault victims to contact a rape crisis center and look into alternatives to a criminal investigation before making a decision.
Sexual assault solve rates fall in line with CPD’s dismal solve rates of other serious crime near the Lake Shore Campus, according to a 2018 Phoenix analysis. That analysis found solve rates for criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault or battery and homicide were 50 percent or lower for crimes reported in 2015-2017.
In neighboring Edgewater, just south of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, 25 cases of criminal sexual assault were reported since August 2016, according to public crime data. But police couldn’t provide the status of all 25 reports by the time of publication.
In one of these cases, a Loyola student told police he was drugged and sexually assaulted in Edgewater near the Lake Shore Campus last October. More than a year later, that case hasn’t been solved and DNA hasn’t been tested.
At Loyola, students can report sexual assaults involving other Loyola students or employees to the school’s Office for Equity and Compliance, where a Title IX administrative investigation can be launched, referring to a federal law which prohibits gender discrimination. Students who launch an investigation still have the option to go to the police to pursue a criminal investigation, but they aren’t required to by the office.
In 2018, 10 rapes were reported on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, according to annual crime statistics released by Loyola, officially called the Annual Security Report and Fire Safety Report. This is a jump from eight rapes on campus in 2017.
Loyola Campus Safety Administrative Commander Tim Cunningham said none of the 10 reports from 2018 became criminal investigations. If a student reports a sexual assault to a “mandated reporter,” such as a professor or a resident assistant, their case will be referred to Title IX.
He said even though the number of reports increases, there’s no way to know if assaults themselves are increasing due to the number of sexual assaults that go unreported.