Sunday, December 18, 2011

Incidence of Rape in Guam Three Times More Likely Than in the US

There are nearly three times as many rapes reported in Guam than in a US town of the same size (183,000). According to a five-year average compiled from Census data, about 30 rapes are reported for each year for every 100,000 residents in the United States. However, for the same number of Guam residents, about 88 rapes are reported to local police each year, according to the 2009 Guam Police Department (GPD) Unified Crime Report.

COMMENT: According to 2009 rape statistics kept by the FBI, there are five times as many rapes reported per capita on Guam than in New York City, and about three times more than in Washington, D.C. In fact, when compared to Guam, only Alaska comes close -- with about 70 rapes reported per 100,000 residents. Hawaii records about 30 rape reports per 100,000 residents.

Ultimately, a community that allows rapes to go unreported is an environment that fosters more sexual assault, which is likely a factor that contributes to Guam's high rate of rape per capita. On Guam, an average of 30% of forcible rapes occur within families. In 2009, about half the Guam rape victims were under the age of 18.

A second issue that would contribute to Guam's high rate of rape reporting are sex offenders who target tourists, and are therefore harder to convict due to the fact that often the victims have already returned home by the time rape cases come up for trial.

Japanese tourists are among nationality groups that are most often raped and sexually assaulted on the island, due largely to the fact that crime is relatively low in Japan. This nationality group also is one of the largest tourist groups that regularly visit Guam.

Strategies that are effective in reducing the risk of sexual crimes is to avoid walking alone at night, participate in organized tours as opposed to touring on one's own and being cautious in putting self in a vulnerable situation with new acquaintances. Visitors should also be aware that from time to time criminals use date-rape drugs to neutralize tourists so as to take advantage of them. It is also suggested that visitors to the island try to bring a friend to reduce security risks.

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