The Dark Figure of Unreported Crime

The Dark Figure of Unreported Crime


Agence France-Presse/Getty Images


I’ve been reading some posts and articles lately about how difficult it is to correctly number the amount of rapes in a country due to so many unreported assaults. Think of places like the Congo, where you can pretty much assume if a woman or young girl is still alive, they’ve most likely been raped. And now India is reporting extremely high numbers of rapes:


Recent media reports of horrific rapes in India depict a country where every woman is in danger of being assaulted at any time. Official crime statistics tell a very different story.


Last year, there were 24,923 cases of rape in India, according to the government’s official statistics. That’s about two per 100,000 Indians. The per capita rate in the U.S. is more than 13 times higher.


According to criminologists, these surprising numbers are among many that suggest a need for, well, better numbers. Official figures include only crimes reported to police. What criminologists call the “dark figure” of unreported crime isn’t captured, and those missing incidents can greatly outnumber reported ones, especially for rape. The rate of underreporting can also vary sharply by country. And a nation that makes headway in encouraging more victims to come forward will appear, in its official stats, to have a worsening rape problem.


You can  read more of Carl Bialik’s articles here:


Statistics Shed Little Light on Rape Rates by Carl Bialik


Rape: the Darkest Dark Figure of Crime by Carl Bialik

What do you think can be done to make reporting rape safer for people?

~Tammy Perlmutter


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