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Utah Sheriff to Study Porn and Crime Statistics

Utah Sheriff to Study Porn and Crime Statistics
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Oct 18, 2004 1:20 PM PDT    Text size: 
LOGAN, Utah — Seeking to answer whether a link exists between porn use and crime, one Northern Utah sheriff’s department has decided to begin keeping records, XBiz learned Monday.

”We’ve been seeing an increased amount of pornography in relation to some types of crime,” Lt. Matt Bilodeau, spokesman for the Cache County Sheriff’s Department, told XBiz. “The problem was when we went out to look out for statistics to see if there was a relationship, we couldn’t find any.”

According to Bilodeau, the department is currently working to develop a set of criteria for when pornography should be documented in relation to crimes.

“Just like what we’ve done with gang members, where they have to fit certain criteria to be called a gang member, you’ll have to have certain criteria before we report pornography in relation to a crime,” said Bilodeau. "If you get in a car accident and you happen to have a bunch of pornography in your back seat, we’re not going to record that, unless you were reading it when the accident happened.”

The documented statistics are intended to add more information to the controversial debate regarding how pornography affects sex crimes, said Bilodeau.

Recent studies in Japan and Europe have called into question the idea that pornography leads to any type of crime, let alone sex crimes.

In a 1999 study published in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Milton Diamond and Ayako Uchiyama wrote that large increases in available sexually explicit materials have not be correlated with increases in sexual crimes.

“Indeed, the data we report and review suggests the opposite,” the study reads. “The absence of any positive correlation in our findings, and from results elsewhere, between an increase in available pornography and the incidence of rape or other sex crime, is prima facie evidence that no link exists.”

Bilodeau said that the department will use the information as purely a statistical tool and hopes that it will help law enforcement draw some new conclusions about the relationship.

“There was a common thread with a lot of people we have here in our jail with alcohol and drugs. People were committing a burglary to get money for drugs or they were going into someone else’s house and falling asleep on the floor and getting arrested,” said Bilodeau. “Now, we’re seeing a common thread with pornography.”

Bilodeau said that the criteria will probably be compiled by the department within the next three weeks and then handed over to the city and state attorney’s offices to make sure that the reporting does not violate civil rights.

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