|Updated: 1/21/2013 9:12 am
||Published: 1/18/2013 7:57 pm
DVIS gave FOX23 an early look at rape numbers in the City of Tulsa for 2012.
The picture isn't pretty. Last year, there were 39 more attacks on people in Tulsa. The numbers jumped from 241 rapes in 2011 to 280 in 2012, and that represents a 14-percent jump from 2011.
“That's pretty alarming,” Alicia James told FOX23.
It's alarming to her because beyond being a mom, she could be considered a target.
“I am a runner; I'm out by myself a lot.”
James was surprised to hear that so many Tulsans were being targeted.
“I haven't thought it was any worse or better (here) than anyone else,” she said.
FOX23 went to TPD headquarters to get their thoughts on the numbers. TPD Officer Jillian Roberson says the sad fact is that it's difficult, if not impossible, to protect most victims from predators.
“Any sexual assault crime is going to be hard for us prevent, because we can't predict what the suspect is going to do,” Roberson said.
DVIS' Education Coordinator says while most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, stranger rapes also jumped in 2012. According to DVIS statistics, which do differ from the records TPD keeps, there were 23 more rapes by strangers in 2012.
“The stranger-sexual-assault is the one more people are afraid of, because these are the people that can come in your home when you think you’re safe,” Angela Brown with DVIS told FOX23.
How can people keep themselves safe?
“I can give you an entire laundry list of how to keep yourself safe, and this can still happen to you.” Brown said about rape.
Roberson says there's one thing everyone should do after hearing these numbers.
“People should definitely be more aware.”
She says they should be aware by not putting themselves in positions where they're alone and vulnerable. That's something Alicia is already thinking about.
“I think I'd be a little more aware, maybe take some more precautions, pepper spray or something like that,” she said.
DVIS says it's possible the increase in rapes could be due to more victims reporting, but that cannot be substantiated.
On a positive note, domestic violence arrests were up 9% in 2012 in Tulsa. Last year there were 961 arrests compared with 879 in 2011. Brown says that sends a message that domestic violence will not be tolerated in Tulsa.
“That would send a message to the community that domestic violence is not OK, it won't be tolerated.”
Domestic violence incidents also increased by 5% last year, but at a slower pace than domestic violence arrests.