It was just several months ago a serial rapist terrified women in Montgomery.  Now a new report from the U.S. Depatment of Justice examines the crime of rape and how often it happens.

At first glance the news sounds good for the nation, but it may not be so good for Montgomery.  Researchers at the Department of Justice used data collected from the census bureau and found since 1993, rape has declined by 52%.

We checked with the Criminal Justice Information Center in Montgomery to see what's happening here and the numbers vary.  The statistics go up and down until 1998 when the numbers jumped from 75 to 111.

But, when WSFA checked with the Council Against Rape, it was a much different picture.  Candyce Dekruyff of the Council Against Rape says, "All I know is that we're a lot busier than we ever used to be."

candyce dekruyff was surprised by the national findings about the decrease in rape... Because she has seen just the opposite in montgomery since 1996.)) [cg=502-candyce dekruyff/council against rape] (("the number of crisis calls that we've received is up 220 percent.. And the number of actual people that we've served..whether we've met them at the hospital, the police station or whether we've just had them here for counseling is up 280 percent.. Almost 300 percent." while those numbers seem scary, dekruyff says they could be a good sign... Depending on how you look at them. "maybe we're actually reducing the stigma to report that's always been around rape. When you reduce the stigma around a crime, then the actual reporting increases because people are willing to." dekruyff says many victims report violent attacks... And even more say the attacker is someone they knew. So how safe do women in montgomery feel?.. It depends on who you ask:)) [cg=502-t. Parker/montgomery] (("i kinda would know how to defend myself and protect myself. I guess i'm kind of cautious with the training i have.")) [cg=502-sharon salter/montgomery] (("it was unnerving knowing that we had a serial rapist and he has not been caught.. Especially when there was so much talk going on about it. I think i was more cautious than i usually am.")) we checked with montgomery police who say if you compare this year to last...they've seen fewer rapes at this point in the year than they did for the same time last year. But they say they've seen an increase in other sexual offenses, including sodomy, sexual misconduct, indecent exposure and public lewdness. As for that serial rapist....there's still nothing new to report to you..he apparently hasn't struck again... But he's still at large. Police warn women to always be cautious and not to take their safety for granted. [take graphic](take graphic) [graphic=council against rape/crisis line / 286-5987] if you are attacked, report it to the police... Or at least the council against rape at 286-5987. [cu](***cu***) they have staff members who will walk you through the process of getting help... Starting with a private examination at a special facility designed to deal with such crimes.