We've got good news and bad news.
Bad news first: reports of sex crimes in the subway are on the rise. Good news: the NYPD is expanding its efforts to stop sex crimes.
While it seems like these two bits of information are fairly black and white, think again.
The New York Times reported that reported sex crimes on the subways grew 19% within the last year, from 620 reports in 2014, to 738 in 2015.
While this number is pretty significant, it's impossible to judge whether or not it has grown due to the simple fact that the amount of sex crimes are increasing, or whether there are more victims willing to file reports.
Chief Joseph Fox, chief of the Police Department's Transit Bureau, told The New York Times that "[many] men don't know this issue exists; far too many women do... It's a crime that goes largely unreported."
While the NYPD made around 400 arrests in 2015 in reference to sex offenses on the subways, the majority of those arrests occurred because an officer either witnessed the offense or the victim found an officer nearby.
The MTA is also looking to crack down on offenders, introducing a website for sexual misconduct complaints where the victim can report offenses, attach photos, or make an anonymous report. The complaints are then passed to the NYPD.
The NYPD is increasing their efforts to prevent sexual crimes, announcing that a team of seven officers wearing plain clothes have been searching the trains for sexual offenders, looking for specific behaviors.
Though the NYPD has renewed their efforts to curtail sex crimes in the subway, it seems as if the NYPD and the MTA need to educate responders on what to do following an attack.
The New York Times stated that a victim, Tiffany D. Jackson, was directed by the train operator to go to a station booth upstairs for assistance after a man masturbated while staring at her on the train. She could not find the booth, but realized that she was followed there by the offender.
She managed to escape by hopping the turnstile and jumping on a train to Manhattan, where she reported the incident. However, she felt as if the police did not take her complaints seriously until she posted a lewd picture of the offender on Instagram.
"What is so disturbing is that if I hadn't posted the picture, one: He wouldn't have been caught," Ms. Jackson stated to The New York Times. "And two: Nothing would have happened."
schechter_world Monday morning commute. Waiting for the #nycsubway. Yeah...this may take a while!
Other victims of sexual offenses feel that the police haven't been trained to properly deal with victims in terms of victim blaming. One victim, Elizabeth Yuko, described the inappropriate questions asked by the NYPD when she went to report an occurrence of a man groping her under her skirt on the subway.
She describes in an article for Refinery29 that after the police officer asked her what she was wearing, the officer stated, "I hope at least your boyfriend gets to touch you like that." She was also asked whether or not she was doing anything that would have caused her to be targeted.
She told Gothamist, "[as] a society, we are all so conditioned to think of public spaces as belonging to men, and as women, we're supposed to play by a certain established set of rules, for example, dressing a certain way, not smiling, and using any technology available to assist in the investigation."
It's clear that the NYPD is attempting to make an effort to stop sexual crimes committed against women on the subway, but it's glaringly obvious that both the MTA and NYPD need a lot more training when it comes to their responses to victims and victim blaming.[via The New York Times] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]