Complaints of sexual offense on the New York City subway system have risen over 50 percent compared to the same time last year.
The report, released June 20, 2016, includes violations such as unwanted touching, public lewdness, and unlawful surveillance: taking inappropriate video or images.
“Few males know this crime happens,” said Joseph Fox, transit chief for the NYPD. “But too many women do.”
The figures don’t include rape, although the underground transportation system does see a couple of rapes reported every year.
The increase, according to Fox, is pushed more by an increase in victims reporting the crimes instead of an actual increase in offenses.
“Crimes that would have gone unreported due to embarrassment, intimidation or a lack of confidence in the police department are being documented and investigated,” Fox said.
The subway system is apt to finish 2016 with around 900 violations; a 22 percent increase from 2106 when there were 738. Fox said the yearly total had stayed around 600 offenses; in 2014 there were 621 and 647 in 2013.
Fox believes that the new Mass Transit Authority’s website started in 2014, permits victims to quickly report offenses. Investigators can better pinpoint where the violations occurred
Investigators follow up on each incident report when they believe a crime has been committed. A detective is also assigned.
In 2015, Fox went to England to find out how London handles sexual offenses on its subways. On Fox’s return, both the NYPD and MTA increased the number of plainclothes officers, including female officers,
As a result, the two groups have been able to catch more people in the act.
Ira Greenberg, an MTA board member, praised the new attention:
“This kind of environment has existed in our transit system for way too long,” he said.
Greenberg and Fox may want to rethink their “novel” idea.
More cops don’t automatically translate into fewer assaults.
How Other Countries Manage the Problem
Argentina’s newly elected president, Mauricio Macri, introduced legislation in May that would set aside several cars on each of Buenos Aires’ subway system for women.
Segregation on the rails, by sex, has been around since 1874 when “Ladies Only” cars were offered by the Metropolitan Railway. The women-only compartments were officially abolished on British trains in 1977; they may be making a comeback. Jeremy Corbyn has suggested “women-only” subway cars to reduce sex attacks in the UK.
The idea of women-only cars
Brazil, Japan, and Indonesia are just a few of the countries to implement the idea.
When Mexico City instituted carriages for women and children in 2001, the reaction was positive, and now all trains reserve the first few cars for women. This later sparked “pink taxis” — cabs for women complete with a woman drive, alarm button, and even a make-up kit.