© Keith Bedford / Reuters
Mumbai trains are famous for inappropriate touching of women and girls. Is the NYC subway system catching up?
Sex crimes committed on the New York City subway are up nearly 18 percent this year, according to the New York Police Department, which cited an uptick in incidents of groping, flashing, and voyeurism.
In the past five months, a total of 699 sex-crime incidents have been reported. That is an increase of 106 incidents compared to the same period last year, when 593 incidents were reported, the New York Post reported citing city authorities. Police said there have been 382 arrests for sex crimes.
Forcible touching, lewdness, and uninvited staring or surveillance are the most common sex offenses committed on the subway, New York police Deputy Chief Vincent Coogan told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the city's subway system.
"Many of these crimes to light when officers observe elements of a crime and intervene," said Coogan said, according to amNewYork.
Coogan added that the rise in reported incidents may be due to increased vigilance among riders.
“I think everyone has a subway horror story,’’ subway rider Ashley Ezparda, a Queens resident, told the Post. “[I saw] some homeless guy masturbating on the R train this past summer. I wanted to throw up.”
On December 4, a persistent sex offender was arrested at the Columbus Circle subway station after he groped a five women on a subway platform, according to the Manhattan District Attorney. His arrest was aided by a subway rider's cellphone photo that was shown to police a week prior, the Post reported.
In mid-July, the New York Police Department reported a 7.5-percent increase in sex crimes compared to the previous year, again citing "forcible touching, public lewdness and unlawful surveillance" as the top crimes. In the first six months of 2015, no one had reported a rape on the subway system, according to WLNY.
Felony crime on the New York City subway is up 9.2 percent from last year, NYPD officials said Monday. Between January and November 2015, there were 2,241 felonies committed in subway stations or cars, up from 2,053 felonies in the same period of 2014.