Council Probes Sexual Harassment on Subways

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A woman squeezes onto a crowded subway car at the Times Square station.

    Sexual harassment is the biggest “quality of life” crime on the subway, police brass announced at a special City Council hearing Thursday.

    And the peak times for perverts is about 8 to 10 a.m. and then 4 to 6 p.m., officials said.

    The jam-packed No. 4, 5 and 6 lines between Grand Central and Union Square are the worst stretches.

    And the average age the men arrested is 39.

    These stunning statistics came to light during the hearing where the committees on transportation, women’s issues and public safety came together to discuss the growing problem with officials from the NYPD and MTA, the Times reported.

    James Hall, Chief of the Police Department’s Transit Bureau said sexual harassment is the “No. 1 quality of life offense on the subway,” and said that as of mid-November, there had been 587 reports of sexual offenses this year.

    And, he added, “we strongly suspect this is a highly underreported crime.”

    Cops have arrested 412 people for sexual harassment crimes this year, and 71 on those had committed prior sexual offenses. Fourteen were registered sex offenders.

    Hall pointed out that the sexual harassment crimes “go more to a middle-aged individual” but other crimes usually involve men 17 to 25 years old.

    Queens councilman and comptroller-elect John Liu did chastise Hall for calling sexual harassment a “quality of life” issue.

    “It’s an issue of safety, safety of women in the subway,” said Liu.

    Hall said that the NYPD started a campaign in 2006 called “Operation Exposure,” in which undercover officers go out and look for perverts underground. On one recent day they busted five men.

    They have also instituted a program to take in cellphone pictures from victims, which are then sent to investigators, Hall said.

    Meanwhile, councilmembers questioned the effectiveness of public service announcements and displays on sexual harassment in the subway, and why the hotline number for reporting harassment is 212-267-RAPE, which could discourage woman who've been harassed but not raped.

    Liu also brought up the progress of camera installation, which has been as slow as the G trian.

    Queens councilman Peter Vallone Jr., on the other hand, proposed a "wall of shame" in stations, made up of photos of people who've been convicted of sex offenses in the subway.