Undercover Police Officers Patrol for Sexual Assaults on New York Subway

"Sometimes you might not know that I'm there, but I am."

Police officers dressed as everyday straphangers are patrolling the New York subway system to catch sexual predators.

NBC 4 New York went behind the scenes with one of the NYPD special ops teams deployed to ride the subway, watch for sexual assaults and make arrests.

NYPD lieutenant Angela Morris is one of the plain-clothes officers catching the train alongside millions of others every day - albeit with her eyes peeled for suspicious activity.

"I'm able to see the crime take place where as they might not do it when a uniformed officer is there," she said.

"Sometimes you might not know that I'm there, but I am."

Subway rider Crissy Waves said she had been improperly touched on the train, but she didn't report it thinking it was just part of life in the city. After talking to Morris, she said she felt better.

"I feel a little bit more safe because I know they're there watching us and making sure nothing happens to us," she said.

With violent crimes like robberies on the subways at nearly record low numbers, there has been a 28 percent rise in subway sex crimes. There have been 113 more forcible touchings this year and 71 more incidents of public lewdness, police said.

However Morris said the numbers pointed to the fact more people were reporting sexual assault.

"I don't really see a rise I just see more people, more women reporting the crime," she said.

Morris stressed the rising numbers are largely due to education through emails, social media and even announcements on the trains.

The ability to report subway sex crimes, and the NYPD's mission to encourage victims to step forward has made the process easier, she said.

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