The message is chillingly clear: If you’re raped or sexually assaulted in Baltimore these days, don’t expect much from the police.
Earlier this month, a Department of Justice investigationfound the Baltimore Police department has been shockingly negligent in responding to sex crimes, including leaving the majority of rape kits untested and ignoring evidence. It described a culture of hostility towards victims, including officers who called women “whores” who are trying to “mess up guys’ lives,” according to the report. The inquiry follows a 2010 investigation by The Baltimore Sun detailing how police dismissed as “unfounded” one in three rape and sexual assault reports, the highest in the nation.
Research shows that in the United States and abroad, the “negligence” described in the Justice Department report could be alleviated if law-enforcement agencies recruited more women officers. In total, 400 women officers serve on the police force in Baltimore, out of 2535 sworn members—that’s just 15.8 percent. Despite the criticisms in the report, James Handley, the director of recruitment of the Baltimore Police Department, said he was not changing his recruitment strategy to bring in more women. “That’s higher than the national average,” he said. “We’re doing pretty good.”
[For more of this story, written by Christina Asquinth, go to http://www.citylab.com/crime/2...g-more-women/498026/]