Rape reports spike on New Year's Day

FRESNO, Calif.

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Fewer rape cases are a trend Fresno Police say is a positive sign their work to educate women is effective.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says of the rapes reported to officers in 2010, most victims were women who were under the influence. "The truth of the matter is of all of the rapes that we've had this year, the vast majority of them are by people they are acquainted with and the reason that they are taken advantage of in many of those circumstances is because alcohol and or drugs are involved."

Over the past 10 years, the statistics have decreased every year but 2009. In 2001, 200 rapes were reported, compared to 133 in 2006 and 63 for 2010.

At the Rape Counseling Services Center, the executive director says the picture they are seeing is far grimmer. They still see 30 to 35 new patients a month. "They record forcible rapes, and we get calls round the clock 365 days a year of many are, who do not report," said Shirley Sanchez.

Rape Counseling Services officials say their numbers are actually up for the year. But their statistics include other crimes like sexual battery, assault and child molestation.

Police say the biggest spike in rape reports was on New Year's Day, where close to 10% of rapes for the entire year were recorded.

The chief says while ringing in New Year women especially need to take note of who they are toasting with and where their cocktails are coming from.

"What we want to do, especially this time of year is to encourage people to be aware of their surroundings and to not overly consume alcohol and when they are offered a drink, they make sure what is in that drink," said Chief Dyer.

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