NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD has announced a change to the way it keeps track of sex crimes in New York.

They’re hoping the new system makes the department more transparent, especially for those vulnerable victims.

It seems every day the public is being warned about another sexual assault suspect in New York.

If you’ve never been the victim of a sex crime you may not know the NYPD has a public system for tracking and checking on those crime statistics.

That system — called the CompStat — is about to change their definitions of what constitutes a sexual assault.

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“This was really done for transparency purposes, working with our advocates, we think this is a good thing,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea (left) announces changes to how the NYPD’s CompStat reports will track sex crimes. (Credit: CBS2)

Few would argue against transparency but what does it all mean?

The NYPD says the idea is to get victims feeling more comfortable coming forward, confident their case will matter.

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Under the new revisions mentioned Wednesday by Chief Shea, the category “misdemeanor sex crimes” will be removed from the CompStat reports. More crimes will be now added to the rape category.

Incidents such as a suspect putting a hand up a woman’s skirt on the subway. That sort of crime will now be categorized as rape.

“This is not going to change the day to day investigations of sex reporting,” security expert Manny Gomez said.

Gomez added it’s more about the NYPD being in line with nationwide crime reporting; so statistics and information on suspects can be more easily shared.

“We’re gonna know more specifics about sexual crimes committed in the city, keep better statistics on it, and thus hold the NYPD more accountable for those crimes,” Gomez told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.

Until the change, Compstat had been reporting misdemeanor sex crimes had significantly been on the rise all year.

The last weekly report ending on Aug. 18 registered a 15-percent rise in those crimes compared to the same point last year.

Under the new system, the “Uniformed Crime Reporting Rape” category shows only a 1.2-percent increase since last year. Another new category called “other sex crimes” registers an 8.2-percent jump in crime.

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