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Rape reports in NYC rose over past two months, NYPD says

Rape reports have increased over the past two months, in a possible sign that increased media coverage of sexual abuse and harassment are having an impact, the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday. / Charles Eckert

NYPD officials said on Monday the department has seen a significant increase in rapes reported over the past two months and an uptick in the number of women reporting rapes that occurred before this year, a possible consequence of increased media coverage of sexual abuse and harassment.

There were 111 rapes reported in November 2017, compared to only 96 for the same month in 2016, amounting to a 15.6 percent increase.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce added that so far this year, 285 people reported a rape that occurred last year or earlier, up from 255 people making those reports in 2016.

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“That coincides with a lot of the news media coverage of late; very difficult to say the role that plays in it, but that is two months in a row of double-digit increases,” said Dermot Shea, chief of Crime Control Strategies. “We continue to see a lot of rapes that are being reported outside this period, outside of 2017 . . . we encourage that, we want to get as much statistical information as we can to try to combat this crime.”

Overall this year, through the end of November, reports of rape are down 2 percent, Shea said.

Of the 111 rapes reported in November, Shea said 21 were committed by a boyfriend, 21 involved a younger girl and an older man, nine were committed by a family member, nine were committed by a stranger and a large amount were committed by someone the victim knew from places like a bar, Tinder, or social media.

Officials said they want to encourage the reporting of rapes and are happy more victims are coming forward.

“It’s crucial that anyone who’s been a victim feel they can and must come forward, and that they will be trusted, they will be supported,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “If the perpetrator is not reported, then they could strike again. . . Reporting gives the NYPD the chance to stop the problem and to bring justice.

“And I think it’s also a moment in history, obviously many, many people, particularly many women, have decided to no longer remain silent,” de Blasio added. “And that is helping to protect everyone else.”

Overall crime in the city is down by about 5.5 percent, police officials said, amounting to what NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said are the lowest levels of total crime since the 1950s.

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“We didn’t get here by accident; nothing happens by accident,” he said. “New Yorkers are understanding that public safety is a shared responsibility.”