Subway sex crimes reported to police rose after crackdown, NYPD says

After the NYPD cracked down on subway sex crimes last year, the agency said it has seen an uptick in the number of reported cases.

Reports of subway sex crimes through 2016 are up 56% when compared to the same period as last year, with 431 reported cases thus far through June, according to NYPD Transit Chief Joseph Fox.

The reports have led to an increase in arrests for crimes like forcible touching, public lewdness or unlawful surveillance, where men have recorded up women’s dresses.

“Most arrests come from officer initiated enforcement, where our plain officers observe elements of crime and intervene,” Fox said at an MTA committee meeting on Monday. “You can see how increased enforcement has had an impact. The same is true of the number of recorded crimes that come from women who have courageously come forward to report incidents.”

Fox attributes the upswing in arrests and reported cases to the publicity that came along with the NYPD’s increased sex crime enforcement beginning in 2015. Until then, Fox said the number of reported cases remained stagnant at around 600. In 2016, he said the agency is on pace to receive 900 reports.

“I want to be clear, there is no indication that there are more sex offenses occurring in the subways. Rather our efforts are having the desired effect,” Fox said after the meeting. “More women are coming forward knowing that we’re committed to aggressively pursuing each complaint.”

He added that his department has also found more cases coming from MTA’s online complaint portal for sexual misconduct. Cases criminal in nature are assigned to NYPD detectives to investigate. As part of a pilot program, portal complaints documented in Manhattan are directed to investigators that are part of the borough’s Special Victims Unit.