NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York lawmaker is trying to increase penalties against sexual predators on city subways and buses.
State Sen. Diane Savino said sex-related crimes have spiked more than 50 percent in the last three years on the subway system.READ MORE: 'Moulin Rouge! The Musical' Wins Big As Broadway Celebrates The 74th Annual Tony Awards
The incidents have prompted some New Yorkers to change their habits. One mother said she now walks her 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter to and from the subway on a daily basis.
“Us as women we can’t get on the train, people are pulling out their private parts, exposing themselves to us or it’s so crowded on the train they’re rubbing up against you,” the woman said. “Everyday I walk my kids. I walk them to school, when they’re coming home they call me and I go downstairs and I wait for them to get off the train.”
Savino hopes the Assembly takes action and passes her legislation which would increase jail time for people convicted of sexual assaulta on public transportation from one year in jail to up to seven.
“Right now the penal code says that if you sexually assault somebody above-ground it is a felony but if you do it on public transportation or on a bus it is a misdemeanor,” Savino said. “It is a quirk in the state law that needs to be addressed and that is exactly what we’re trying to do.”READ MORE: Police Seize 7 Vans Allegedly Used As Airbnb Rentals In Manhattan
“These are depraved individuals who are predators,” Savino added. “They are vicious and violent and we need to put them where they belong, not in our subway system but in our jails.”
Savino said the MTA’s police officers have already stepped up their watch.
“The MTA has taken this very seriously, their board members have actually taken a vote to ban these perpetrators from being able to use our public transit system,” Savino said.
A 17-year-old girl was one of the most recent victims of a sexual attack on the subway.MORE NEWS: Woman Accused Of Telling Black Couple At Brooklyn Dog Park, 'Stay In Your Hood'
Police released a photo Tuesday night of a man who they said placed his genitals into the girl’s hand while on a D Train near the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History stop on the Upper West Side late last month.