Police statistics show rapes are up nearly 27% in Cleveland this year

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 4:24 PM EDT

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It is a sobering look at violent crime in the city of Cleveland.

19 Investigates found rapes are up nearly 27% in the city this year compared to last year during the same time period.

We found there have been 366 rapes in Cleveland from Jan. 1, 2021 to Aug. 7, 2021.

Cleveland Police statistics show there were 289 rapes in the city in 2020 and 369 rapes in 2019 during the same time period.

The rise in cases this year has many advocates concerned.

19 Investigates also found rapes in Cleveland are up in every police district so far this year compared to 2020 numbers.

More reports of rape are coming in to District 2 on the West side of the city and District 5 on the East side than in 2019 and 2020.

Statistics show rapes are up 32.31% in District 2 and 20% in District 5 year-to-date.

Sondra Miller is President and CEO of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

She told us they’ve seen about a 20% increase in survivors reaching out to them this year.

“What’s particularly alarming for us is that the biggest increases have been with children and teenagers. So we’ve seen more than a 50% increase in youth under the age of 18 reaching out to us for help this year. I think that the pandemic was a breeding ground for predators,” Miller said.

Miller pointed out some people coming forward may be reporting an assault from years ago.

“So there’s not always a direct correlation between the number of reports to Cleveland Police Department and the number of survivors coming to Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. But we have certainly felt just an increase in client demand here this year compared to last,” she said.

There has been one positive outcome of the coronavirus pandemic, Miller said.

She thinks increased attention to mental health may have encouraged more survivors to come forward.

“I think making the first call to ask for help is the hardest part of the journey. It takes an incredible amount of courage to acknowledge a trauma that happened to you that was never your fault to being with, but is impacting the way you can live your life today,” Miller said.

The reporting of child abuse cases dropped during the pandemic last year, but advocates said that doesn’t mean they went down.

They just may have gone unnoticed without kids in school. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center runs a 24-hour crisis & support hotline at 216-619-6192.

You can reach them by phone, text or online chat. They also offer free services including counseling and victim advocacy.

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