NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While the NYPD said Monday that the city’s overall crime numbers are nearing a record low, the department also reported a surge in rape complaints.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the NYPD said the complaints coincide with the headline-grabbing sex abuse cases that have swept the nation.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill reported another drop in crime last month. Shootings and murders were down, but in the sea of good news, there troubling statistic about rape flashed a warning sign.
Rapes were up in New York City the report for last month, and have been for the past two months.
“October and November — two months in a row – we have seen double-digit increases, percentagewise, in rapes,” said NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea.
There was a 16 percent increase in rapes in November alone – 11 complaints in 2017 compared with 96 in 2016.
“That coincides with a lot of the news media coverage of late,” Shea said.
He was referring to stories that started with Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and have mushroomed to involve a long list of celebrities – movie and TV stars, comedians, entertainment honchos, and media personalities.
Officials cannot say for sure that the headlines have driven more women to come forward.
“Very difficult to say the role that plays in it, but that is two months in a row of double-digit increases,” Shea said.
The November rape complaints included 21 committed by boyfriends, another 21 where older men allegedly had sex with girls too young to consent, nine rapes by family members, and nine rapes by strangers.
One statistic that led officials to think their headlines played a role in the increase in reporting is that most reports of rapes occurred in the past.
So could it be the post-Weinstein effect?
“We can’t speak to that. We hope that’s the case,” said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. “But we did see a decided increase in people coming forward from past years.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio urged women to come forward if they have been raped or sexually abused.
“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,” de Blasio said. “If the perpetrator is not reported, then they could strike again.”
Although the rape numbers are up, police said except for Weinstein, there have been no new allegations involving figures in the entertainment or media industries in New York.
As for the Weinstein case itself, police said it is still an active criminal investigation. Boyce said there are two NYPD detectives pursuing leads on Los Angeles right now.
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Boyce said there has been no determination as to when the local Weinstein case might reach a grand jury. But he said it is going forward and there is an ever-widening probe.
“There’s a lot here that we cannot speak about and we are not going to speak about, so there is a lot to this case,” Boyce said. “This is no small issue, but we are going to keep going forward because we believe there’s other victims out there.”
Boyce said the detectives now in Los Angeles have also been sent “to Paris and pretty much around the world.” He said he has regular conversations with Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, adding, “We are in total agreement about where we are going with the case.”