The Ann Arbor Police Department ranks 6th highest out of 548 Michigan police departments in number of untested rape kits, according to survey results released Thursday by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
The attorney general’s survey found 1,189 untested kits in total, not including police departments in Wayne County. The survey was prompted by a 2009 study that found 11,000 untested rape kits in Wayne County, which is why the county was excluded in the survey.
According to the survey, AAPD currently has 65 untested rape kits.
Overall, the number of untested rape kits in Washtenaw County ranked 6th-highest out of the 83 counties in Michigan.
The vast majority of counties included in the survey data had zero or nearly zero untested rape kits. 14 had 30 or more untested rape kits. Of those counties with 30 or more untested rape kits, 50 percent are home to a university or college.
The University of Michigan Police Department reported 0 untested rape kits. UMPD’s jurisdiction includes sexual assaults that occur on University property or at a university function.
Other universities, however, reported significant numbers. Of the 11 university police departments in Michigan, Western Michigan University Police Department reported 40 untested rape kits, Eastern Michigan University Police Department reported 7, Michigan State University Police Department reported 5, Saginaw Valley State University Police reported 4 and Central Mich University Police Department reported 1. Other universities had zero.
Andrea Bitely, the attorney general’s director of communications, said city size could play a role in the varying numbers of untested kits among different departments.
“Larger population centers are most likely to have more sexual assault kits in general,” she said. “That’s why you see bubbles in certain places and it’s more associated with population than it being a college town.”
State officials now plan to use the survey data to coordinate local efforts to process the kits with help from state police. Bitely noted that some kits may have been left untested intentionally.
“Some of them were associated with crimes where the suspect confessed or pled guilty or the police knew what happened and they were able to secure a conviction or a plea in another way,” she said. “Just because this kit was not tested does not mean justice wasn’t served.”
Diane Brown, University Police spokesperson, said she could not comment on the descrepancy between reported AAPD and UMPD untested rape kit numbers. AAPD Detective Lieutenant Robert Pfannes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.