From grabbing and groping to downright assault, deviants who prey on women have seen that they can get away with this kind of behavior partly due to the fact that it might not ever get reported. And they happen to be right.
Precincts, precinct community councils, and community boards like to report low crime numbers. Why? So their neighborhood looks safe.
We continually hear about muggings, attacks, attempted assaults, etc., and we follow up with phone calls and inquiries to One Police Plaza, precincts and even those ad-hoc and official precinct community councils.
One recent case in point is an attack in Forest Hills Gardens at Station Square on the last weekend of September. There were reports from several unconfirmed sources that a man held a knife or gun to a woman, took her necklace and ran, dropping the jewelry only after a witness chased after him. The woman was apparently obviously shaken.
This went unreported, so it is not a crime. It wasn't in an official police log, nor was it in the precinct community council’s newsletter. Why not?
And the precinct community council in Forest Hills is not the only one that is tightlipped and consistently in “protect the precinct” mode. It’s a chronic problem that leads to shock and surprise when something even more serious happens.
We don’t have confidence that the police will be able to end these attacks on women any time soon – and it’s a shame that in our zeal to show that our own community is safe, we actually encourage and even create this kind of activity.
As Deputy Inspector John Argenziano of the 78th Precinct in Brooklyn briefed a community board’s Public Safety Committee this week, the status of the string of sexual assaults plaguing Park Slope, Bushwick, Williamsburg, Ridgewood, Woodside/Sunnyside and Jamaica/Laurelton hasn’t changed. Over the past few months there have been unofficial reports that more than 100 sexual attacks have occurred throughout the two boroughs. Who knows how many have gone unreported?
According to police sources, there has been an avalanche of reports of groping and touching inside subways and just outside stations on the streets. Although there have been some arrests, police are not able to find a pattern.
So what are police advising throughout the two boroughs? Don’t travel alone, stay in well-lit areas, plan your route in advance and stay alert. Oh yeah, and try “not to wear short skirts.”
Wow, don’t wear short skirts? That’s advice?