Demands stiffer penalties for serial subway predators whose crimes are on the rise
Albany, NY - Sex crimes on the subway known as “grinding” are on the rise by over 51.7 percent over a three year period, according to a new report released on Tuesday by Senator Diane Savino (D- SI/Brooklyn).
The report,“Perverted Justice: How Subway Grinders Continue to Victimize New Yorkers,” examines the alarming increase in sex crimes reported on the city’s subway system since 2014.
“Subway grinding and lewdness are serious sex crimes meant to threaten and humiliate victims. While we pass my legislation over and over again, it’s horrifying these disgusting crimes are not met with appropriate punishment because the Assembly fails to protect straphangers. Without tougher penalties in place, serial offenders will continue to victimize passengers on the train and this issue must be taken seriously,” said Senator Savino.
The MTA in recent years has made it easier to report sex crimes on the transit system, creating an online page that allows victims to report incidents and upload photos or audio files. The report found a sizeable increase in reports since 2014 when victims reported 620 sex crimes, followed by 738 in 2015 and 941 in 2016. There’s been a 9% increase from January 1, 2017 to May 28, 2017 from the same point in time last year.
The report also looked at the category of offenses, finding a sizeable increase in forcible touching from 2015-2016. An increase in public lewdness was also found.
Unfortunately, most of those arrested are repeat offenders who either evade prosecution or serve minimal incarceration, resulting in their ability to continue to victimize subway passengers.
“Subway grinders” earned the moniker for sidling up to victims on crowded subway cars and rubbing against them. Under Senator Savino’s legislation, forcible touching on public transportation would become a Class-D felony punishable by up to one-to-seven years imprisonment. This crime currently carries an impotent misdemeanor penalty of one-year in prison and most offenders wind up with little to no jail time.
The penalty for an act of public lewdness on public transportation, another provision of Senator Savino’s legislation, would increase from three-months to one-year in prison.
Savino’s legislation will be brought to the floor on Tuesday for a vote.