NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday was taking to heart complaints from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that reported sex crimes are on the rise in the subway system.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a 53 percent increase in reported subway sex crimes, such as lewdness, groping and grinding, is completely unacceptable. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast heeded his boss’ words.

“I think it’s something that we need to take to task, not only to the MTA but the New York City Transit Police, Transit Bureau, because it’s important that people feel safe and secure when they ride our system — whether it’s the bus network or the subway network,” Prendergast said.

Asked whether the 53 percent increase in the numbers reflects an actual hike in subway sex crimes or just better reporting, Prendergast said that is up for debate.

But he added that perception is reality, and the MTA needs to deal with the problem at that level.

Cuomo on Tuesday issued a letter to the MTA noting that there had been 458 sex crime complaints through Sunday, compared with 299 in the same period last year, the New York Daily News reported.

Cuomo in the letter noted that the MTA has undertaken an ad campaign encouraging people to report such crimes, but wrote that while a start, such measures are “not enough,” the newspaper reported.

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