Crime during the first weeks of 2018 continued to decline in New York City but one anomaly has been a nearly 18 percent increase in rape complaints, according to the latest NYPD statistics.
Through Sunday, homicides were down 27.6 percent to 21, compared with 29 in the same period of 2017, a year in which the city hit a modern-era record low of 292 killings. Total serious felonies, including burglaries, robberies and rapes, are down 7.2 percent so far in 2018.
But when rapes are broken out as a separate category, complaints have risen 17.8 percent in 2018 to 139, compared with 118 during the same time period in 2017. The uptick in rape reports may be related to the continued prominence of the #MeToo movement, following some high-profile sexual assault allegations, notably against film producer Harvey Weinstein, some police officials said.
The increase in rape reports is one of a number of crime developments scheduled to be discussed Tuesday by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Under NYPD record-keeping practices, a rape or sexual assault that occurred months or years ago but was first reported in 2018 will be tallied in the current year. Police officials have noticed upticks in rape complaints for the past couple of years, something they have said privately is a result of victims becoming emboldened enough to report past offenses.
“The #MeToo movement has caused some victims to come forward,” said one NYPD commander in Queens, who didn’t want to be identified. A commander in Brooklyn, who also didn’t want to be named, said investigators believe acquaintance and date rapes have increased because of more dates being arranged online going awry.
Reports of rapes have increased about 41 percent in Manhattan, the largest rise among all of the boroughs, police data showed.