The number of rapes reported in the Big Apple continued to skyrocket in February for “the sixth straight month” — and one high-ranking NYPD official believes the spike is a likely result of the media attention garnered by allegations against famous people like Harvey Weinstein.
There were 122 rapes reported in February as compared to 88 in the same month last year, for an increase of 39%, police announced at a crime stats briefing at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan.
It’s the sixth straight month the rape numbers have spiked over what they were in the same month last year, NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea said.
“This is a story that has unfortunately been told several months in a row,” Shea said. “That’s the sixth straight month.”
He said in September the city saw an increase of less than 10 rapes. Then, starting in October the city began seeing “sizable increases.” He believes the increases are due at least in part to the stories about sexual harassment and assault complaints against the Hollywood producer, which began dominating headlines in October 2017.
“I think it makes sense that the increase has at least party been due to that,” Shea said. “To some that’s viewed as a good thing, the fact that people are coming forward now… making the reports. I am of the opinion that these incidents were happening before it’s just not reported. It’s very difficult to quantify that, but that is my belief.”
Not everyone on the force agreed with him.
“I just think that we changed the way we do it and they’ve been training cops and detectives to make victims feel more comfortable going forward and reporting the crimes,” one police source said. “Women would always complain in the past that ‘they’re going to bring my past up and say it’s my fault.’”
Shea said only a small percentage of reported rapes are determined to be unfounded and that once that happens they are taken off the books.
Almost all other major crimes in the city continued their downward spiral – including murders and shootings, which were at record all-time lows.
More than 80 women, many of them famous actresses, have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sex harassment or assault. He has denied all allegations.