AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Latest statistics from the Amarillo Police Department show crime in our area has decreased from last year. Crimes like burglary, theft and arson went down, continuing a trend. However, rape cases in our area have spiked significantly because of a definition change.
The FBI has implemented what the APD is calling an important change in the official definition of rape.
"The state and the federal government have basically come out and said now sexual assault is not just a female being a victim, a male can be a victim," said Corporal Jerry Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department.
According to APD's Annual Crime Report, the old definition spans back to the 1920's. Neufeld says that definition also left out certain types of penetration.
"We had to got back and correct what the statue was," said Neufeld.
In 2014, there were 92 cases of rape but under the new definition cases went up to 228. The report also show in 2015, the altered number switched from 102 to 166.
While these numbers decreased from 2014 to 15, police say what's disturbing is who the victims are in these sexual assault cases.
"65% of our sexual assault victims are children," said Neufeld . "About 30% of our victims knew their assailant and about 5% were total strangers."
Counselors at the Bridge Children's Advocacy Center agree saying they see more children every year. They continue to work with APD on solving these cases.
"We are a tool that investigative agencies use," said April Leming, Executive Director for The Bridge. "The Amarillo Police Department has the largest number of cases in the Texas Panhandle, and so we work with them almost on a daily basis, where they call us to set up interviews for children."
Leming says what worries her the most is the number of these cases could be even higher because many sexual assault cases go unreported. But APD and The Bridge say they try to educate the public as much as possible on the importance of reporting these crimes.
More information about The Bridge.