Women in a Brooklyn neighborhood on edge over a spate of sex attacks are being told by police that wearing skirts and dresses might not be a good idea.
The surprising message from the NYPD is not being taken well.
"I think that women should be able to wear whatever they want," said Theresa Troupson, a Park Slope resident. "I don't think that they should be held responsible in any way for the actions of criminals."
Lauren, who did not want her last name used, told the the Wall Street Journal that she was walking down the street in shorts and a t-shirt after leaving the gym on Monday when she was stopped by an officer who also stopped two other women in dresses.
Lauren said the officer asked them if they knew what was happening in the area, and asked them if they knew what the suspect looked for.
"He pointed at my outfit and said, 'Don't you think your shorts are a little short?'" she told the Journal. "He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin."
The officer also told them that "you're exactly the kind of girl this guy is targeting," according to Lauren.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the officers "are simply pointing out that as part of the pattern involving one or more men that the assailant(s) have targeted women wearing skirts."
A group called Safe Slope says the NYPD effort is "completely inappropriate."
"There have been reports that the women attacked were all wearing skirts," said Jessica Silk, a Safe Slope founder. "Unfortunately this might be a common link between the women that were attacked but the message shouldn't be that you shouldn't wear a skirt. The message should be that, 'Here are ways that you can protect yourself.'"