A recent article in the Dallas Morning News pointed out that although Texas police agencies had until October 15th, 2011 to report the number of rape kits they had in evidence that had not been DNA tested, most police departments had missed the deadline.
Both Dallas and Fort Worth had missed the deadline, established by the Texas Legislature, but Lewisville was not specifically mentioned in the article. We inquired with the City of Lewisville today about whether the Lewisville Police Department had submitted the report.
The City Attorney's office responded today that until LTJ brought the Dallas Morning News article to their attention, they had not been aware that a report was due, in spite of DPS' claim that they sent a reminder letter. The police department is currently working on gathering the information, and will submit the report to DPS once it is completed. Staff were not sure how long it would take to complete the report, but said they would release a copy to us when it was submitted.
The Texas Legislature passed the bill in 2011 with the intent of getting a handle on how many untested rape kits are at law enforcement agencies around the state, so that it could get an estimate on the resources required to reduce the backlog. Victims' rights groups hope that testing the old kits would result in solving old cases. According to the DMN article, police say they do test the kits when the outcome would affect the prosecution of the case.
From January of 2003 to January of 2012, Lewisville Police have investigated and found 282 forcible rape cases to be founded. Since 2004, 81 of these cases were reported cleared by arrest within the same calendar year. Castle Hills has been reported separately since 2008, with four reported rapes, none of which were reported cleared by arrest. Cases may have been later cleared by arrest, but those arrests would not necessarily be shown in statistics. Nationwide, in 2010 - the most recent statistics available, the forcible rape rate was 27.5 cases per 100,000 population. Lewisville, with a population of 95,290 had 34 founded cases that year. (35.7 per 100,000) The rate for Texas was 30.3 that year.
Lewisville Police Chief Russ Kerbow said that the department does test the rape kits when the allegation is determined to be founded - even if there is a confession, since those are not always reliable. Roughly half of rapes reported turn out to be unfounded, according to city crime statistics. Kerbow said this happens for various reasons, such as when someone is trying to cover up why they were with another individual. Many of those cases, Kerbow said, the complainant will actually go to a hospital and get examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner, who collects evidence in a kit - only to find out later it was unfounded. More information about unfounded rape allegations can be found in this article.
According to Kerbow, each of the rape kits costs $400 just to collect, which doesn't include the analysis fee. Some estimates put the costs at $1,000 each to analyze, but Kerbow didn't have the the figures handy when we talked.
LTJ will provide the information from the rape kit report as soon as we get it.
The following table lists the number of founded forcible rape cases in Lewisville and Castle Hills since 2003:
Year Lewisville Castle Hills
2012 4 0
2011 28 1
2010 34 2
2009 35 1
2008 40 0
2007 33 N/R
2006 46 N/R
2005 27 N/R
2004 13 N/R
2003 22 N/R