NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As a New Yorker, taking the subway is often a daily necessity. But for some, that routine is becoming increasingly intimidating.
According to the NYPD, there have been 343 sex crimes reported in the subway system this year — an increase of 24 incidents, or 7.5 percent, compared to last year, CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported.
“The bulk of these incidents are crimes such as sex abuse, forcible touching, public lewdness and unlawful surveillance,” NYPD Chief of Transit Bureau Joseph Fox told a Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee Monday.
Marianni Ruiz-Santana, of Ozone Park, Queens, said she’s “definitely” worried after hearing about the increase.
“I take the subway all the time. I take it with my son as well, so you know it’s kind of frightening to think that I could be on a train with him and something could happen to me.”
“That’s scary because I’m vulnerable. I’m a woman. I’m little,” added Rebecca Turkel, of Scarsdale.
While Fox said none of the subway incidents have been rape, he adds that one of the biggest barriers to keeping track of and fighting sex crimes is that victims often don’t report them.
Rebekah Ward, of Chinatown, said she experienced someone grabbing her rear end on a train.
“And then he got off, and I felt very uncomfortable,” she said.
Samantha Saint said she didn’t go to police when a man touched her on the subway, but she did fight back by slapping him.
“Because I felt like touching my thighs is not something that I’m comfortable with,” she said.
Fox said his main message to victims now is that the criminal justice system cares and wants to hear their stories.
The NYPD also says it’s working to battle the upswing by training more female officers to work undercover.