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July 9, 2010

City police to review 18 months of rape data

Baltimore police have as many as five detectives sorting through police reports dating back 18 months to determine whether any were improperly discarded. This comes after police reporter Justin Fenton's investigation in which he found city police "unfound" more rape reports than any other city in the country.

That has led to concern that police were dumping cases or scaring victims out of reporting legitimate crimes. A full scale review is underway and top police officials promise that it will lead not only to the possibility of opening closed cases but longstanding reform in how sexual assault complaints are handled.

Here's some other stories in the package:

Justin's orginal investigation that shows high number of unfounded rape cases.

Rape hotline gets 20 callers in first two days.

Downgrading crimes common through police history.

Top commander opts to retire rather than oversee unit that includes sexual assaults.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Breaking news, City Hall, Confronting crime, Top brass

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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