Last night around 8 p.m. an 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted just after she left a subway station at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park—a day after an attempted rape in the neighborhood. Last night's victim says the man sneaked up behind her, groped her buttocks, and ran away. Though the assault seems to resemble a dozen other similar assaults that have locals on edge in South Brooklyn, police say this one does not fit the pattern. Of course, they initially said that about a sexual assault in Windsor Terrace on Sunday and then changed their minds, so who knows? What we do know is that many locals are alarmed—and think the NYPD isn't doing enough.
“This is getting ridiculous," Laura Tendler of Kensington tells CBS 2. "I mean all these attacks. I think maybe police need to re-evaluate what they’re doing, that’s all. I’m sure they’re trying, but this is not a good situation." Around midnight on Sunday night, on Vanderbilt Street in Windsor Terrace, a woman was attacked by a man who sneaked up behind her and grabbed her breasts with both hands. "She was attacked by a man who pulled her down by her chest," the victim's sister says. "She screamed luckily or maybe I’d be looking for a dead sister."
Police say last night's perverted perpetrator, an Hispanic male, is much older than the other suspects and they do not believe the attack fits the pattern. Speaking to reporters yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "Yes, we are concerned about it. The Special Victims squad is very much involved in an all-out effort to arrest this individual or individuals. We’ve done a lot of canvasses. We are going through pictures. We are going through motion pictures."
But some say the NYPD's decision to show women video of attacks is flawed, and last week officers of the NYPD’s 72nd and 78th Precincts held a meeting with members of Safe Slope and Hollaback!, two groups that have been working to raise awareness. According to a press release, "police officers will now provide a 'trigger warning' to community residents before showing them a graphic assault video (being shown in an effort to identify the attackers). By giving the individuals the ability to opt out, the NYPD is acknowledging the sensitive nature of viewing attack footage, especially for victims of sexual assault or others who may be triggered by watching violent actions on film."
The statement also notes that during the meeting, the "commanding officers agreed that it is entirely inappropriate for officers to imply that women, because of how they are dressed, bear responsibility for being attacked, and have reinforced this to their officers." Progress! Now they just need to catch these guys.