Jackson seeing increase in rape cases this year - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson seeing increase in rape cases this year

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

New surveillance video could help identify the men wanted by Jackson police for allegedly raping a woman last Friday.

While that victim wants justice, one woman who deals with these cases says it's much more prevalent in the Metro than you might think.

Jackson Police Officer Colendula Green said the surveillance video clearly shows the suspects' vehicle, which pulled up to the Shell gas station on Daniel Lake Boulevard last Friday.

It's described by police as possibly an older model Toyota Camry or foreign vehicle.

The victim is seen at the window, talking to the store clerk.

Three men get out, with one who immediately follows the victim to her vehicle.

The other two, one dressed all in black and the other wearing a striped shirt, eventually make their way out of the shot as well.

According to the victim, all three raped her.

Her attorney said there were other attacks in south Jackson as well.

Dr. Gwen Bouie-Haynes agrees with that, and says she's handled more cases from that area of the Capital City than any other in the last twenty years.

She's also noticed a disturbing recent trend.

"We almost are not seeing any single perpetrator cases at all. Many of those are multiple persons [involved with one victim]," Dr. Bouie-Haynes said.

The latest statistics available from Jackson police prove that the Capital City has seen more rapes already this year than last, a 24 percent increase.

Over the last 28 days, that percentage has increased significantly.

JPD says 9 rapes took place during that four-week span, an 80 percent increase over the same period last year.

"This time last year, we could reasonably say we had somewhere between 5 and 6 cases. This year, we've seen that almost double," Dr. Bouie-Haynes said.

One of the complaints the victim from last Friday's incident alleged was that people just watched it happen, and no one helped her.

The video from that incident shows a man wearing a black shirt and khaki shorts appearing to watch something off-camera for several minutes while talking to one of the suspects.

Dr. Bouie-Haynes said if someone witnesses something like this, they need to act, even if that means simply calling 911.

"Do not stand and watch it. It is not something that can be viewed as, you know, fun, by no means," Dr. Bouie-Haynes said. "Sexual assault and sexual violence is a crime."

Dr. Bouie-Haynes said prevention and awareness are key to reducing those numbers, but she's also been in talks with Interim Chief Lee Vance to bring back a sex crimes unit for the Jackson Police Department.

She said having that unit in the department would give officers more time to be able to handle these cases.

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