Today, NYPD Chief James P. Hall, who heads the department's Transit Bureau, told the City Council that sexual harassment was the "No. 1 quality of life offense on the subway," according to City Room. Hall added, "This should not be a part of commuting in New York. t's an under-reported crime." (Nothing, unfortunately, new there.)
Some stats: There have been 587 reports of sexual offenses on the subways (374 of those reports were in Manhattan), with 412 arrests. City Room says that of the arrests, "71 had committed prior sexual offenses and 14 were registered sex offenders. Five of the 14 were the most serious level of sex offender, Level 3. The average perpetrator is a 39-year-old male, while the vast majority of victims are females over 17 years old." Also, many of the perps really like to stalk the 4, 5, 6, lines between 14th Street and 42nd Street-Grand Central.
While the MTA has introduced anti-groping posters, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said, "I'd like to see a wall of shame. Posting pictures of people convicted, especially with 20 percent recidivism ... would be a useful deterrent." Hall said that women shouldn't be discouraged if they don't have a cellphone picture, "At a minimum, a report alone allows us to deploy more effectively."
A reader happened to tell us about a groping incident that occurred her on a Q train this morning (read it after the jump) but didn't tell the cops, "I stayed on the train (I was late and the chances of a cop being on the platform and actually caring were slim to none) and I was too freaked out to snap a picture." (One time, when a woman told a police officer about a subway flasher, the cop allegedly said it wasn't a police matter.) The NYPD's press office tells us that people should not hesitate to contact the police—or an MTA worker or use the speakers in the station—because if a crime is reported, they will try to solve it.
This morning I got on a Manhattan bound Q train at the Prospect Park stop around 8:15 for my morning commute to work. The train was packed but it didn't stop an asian guy in his mid-twenties that also got on Prospect park from pushing through people to stand next to me. He was clearly "off," very disheveled looking, black coat, black canvas laptop bag, holding a plastic water bottle and trying to grab a pole with the same hand, pushing people, etc. Long story short he groped my butt until I yelled at him to stop touching me. I guess thats why he needed the free hand. Of course everyone on the train looked at us (and me, I'm sure they thought I was nuts) but it must have scared him because he ran off at Atlantic ave. I stayed on the train (I was late and the chances of a cop being on the platform and actually caring were slim to none) and I was too freaked out to snap a picture. I know its not much to go on, I just wanted to let other women on the Q train to be on the lookout.