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Baltimore Rape Cases Draw Concern

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By Kamika Dunlap on June 29, 2010 7:17 AM

The Baltimore Police Department has a lot of sorting out to do as the city's rape statistics and investigations have drawn concern.

Baltimore has the largest percentage of rape cases that police conclude are false or baseless of any city in the country, the Baltimore Sun reports. In addition, the increase in unfounded cases comes as the number of rapes reported by Baltimore police has plunged -- from 684 in 1995 to 158 last year, a decline of nearly 80 percent.

Compared to other cities around the country, Baltimore's numbers stand out.

As a result, the city officials have ordered an internal review of training and investigative practices of the police department.

When an alleged crime is classified as unfounded, it sometimes can mean that authorities don't believe the victim, which can make it more difficult to prosecute at a later time, experts say.

The way a crime is classified can make a difference in both substantive and procedural criminal law. Substantive criminal law defines the elements of crimes.

Criminal procedure sets forth different rules that govern courts, defendants, and law enforcement agents depending on the level of offense charged.

The Baltimore mayor's director of criminal justice, Sheryl Goldstein said the "troublingly high percentage of reported rape cases that eventually become classified as false is extremely worrisome."

She will be leading the audit to evaluate the leadership and detectives in the unit responsible for rape reports.

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