Note: Arrest estimates for 2015-2020 were developed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice based on the FBI’s annual Master Arrest Files of 12-month reporting departments available from the Crime Data Explorer. Arrest estimates for 2015-2019 were revised in June 2022.
2020 was the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities. Additionally, stay-at-home orders likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior that came to the attention of law enforcement in 2020.
Note: Beginning in 2013, the FBI broadened the definition of rape, removing the phrase “forcible” from the offense name and description. The new definition of rape is: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. The new definition includes the NIBRS offenses of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object.
Law enforcement agencies may submit data on rape arrests based on either the new or legacy definition of rape. Due to differences in agency reporting practices, arrest rates for rape are not available after 2012. Additionally, arrest rates for the Violent Crime Index (which included “forcible rape”) are no longer shown as this category is not compatible with prior years. Violent crimes include the offenses of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault and is presented as an alternative to the Violent Crime Index. In any given year prior to the change in the rape definition, these three offenses accounted for more than 95% of arrests for Violent Crime Index offenses.
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