New York State of Mind

posted in: Activists | 1

It looks like NYC beat us, again.  Can you imagine a world when the DC Council takes time to hear our complaints about WMATA, MPD collects and shares the number of sexual harassment and assaults that happen on the Metro, and figure out substantive ways to address the problem?  [pause] [pause] Yeah.  Neither can we.  But, that won’t stop us from trying to do that, like our friends are doing in NYC.   From what we know though HBDC!, sexual harassment is the #1 quality of life offense on our public transportation so we hope that DC council members and WMATA employees read this article from the New Times City Room Blog (and listen to this song while reading it).

The peak times in which women report sexual harassment or assaults on the subways are the late morning rush, roughly 8 to 10 a.m., followed by the early afternoon rush, 4 to 6 p.m.

One stretch of the subways — the crowded Nos. 4, 5 and 6 lines between Grand Central Terminal and Union Station — is a particular source of complaints.

And the average age of the men arrested for sexual offenses on the subways is 39.

These facts emerged on Thursday during a joint City Council hearing at which three committees — on transportation, women’s issues and public safety — summoned officials from the Police Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to discuss a pervasive problem that strikes a chord with many subway riders, who say they have been ogled, groped, flashed, harassed and even attacked.

Keep reading article.

P.S. A hearty thank you to everyone who alerted us to this article. We love that you all make sure we are always in the loop.  Holler!

One Response

  1. PR

    “MPD collects and shares the number of …assaults that happen on the Metro”

    The problem is that MPD doesn’t patrol inside the Metro and we generally stay aboveground and outside the turnstiles. We rely on WMATA to patrol, even though Metro Transit Police are horribly undermanned. I think there’s something like 500 sworn and non-sworn officers for the whole system including trains and buses. WMATA also relies on using the reporting system of the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, so unless they keep an updated blotter (which it appears they don’t), the combined reporting statistics can be buried among several different jurisdictions. Never mind that if MPD/Park Police/etc. handle an incident in a station/bus/parking lot that can further obscure statistically crime on Metro.

    “MPD collects and shares the number of sexual harassment…”

    There’s no framework to collect data or file reports on sexual harassment in DC. MPD collects lots and lots of reports on everything from lost property to family disturbances, but there’s no policy on non-physical/non-threats-based harassment. Grabbing someone’s ass or involuntary frottage would be reportable, but being creepy and staring/ogling at someone wouldn’t.

    However, there’s always room to innovate in policy. Previously for calls for families fighting, if there was no assault and it was just verbal, there was no report to be had. Now for every situation where family/couples are fighting and MPD is called, a family disturbance report is filed, creating a paper trail to assist men and women in civil court. MPD also began specifically tracking intra-family offenses via their incident reporting system. A similar effort could be made for MPD and surrounding jurisdictions to incorporate a field to enter whether or not an incident specifically occurred in/at a bus stop, bus, station, lot, or train.