Disturbing NYPD data reveals a stark reality: physical assaults on women in New York City have surged by an alarming 41% over the last four years. By October 1 this year, 2,830 women fell victim to felony assaults, an increase from the 2,006 women attacked just four years ago. This statistic excludes domestic violence cases. These attacks vary in nature, from unnerving subway confrontations to violent beatings.
These alarming figures don’t just stop at felonies. Misdemeanor assaults on women have also witnessed an uptick of 8% over the same period. Taking a broader look, both felony and misdemeanor assaults, irrespective of gender, have increased by 6% citywide this year.
— Mark Groubert (@lordbuckly) October 7, 2023
Several victims believe that the surge is due to women often being seen as “easy targets” due to their size and stature. However, there’s also mounting concern about the city and state policies. Some residents argue that legislation allowing more criminals on the streets and insufficient services for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals exacerbates the problem.
“You could see a lot more people with mental illness out and about — it’s never been this bad,” mentioned HR executive Gladys Chen, who became a victim of an attack at the 23rd Street station.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor, described these assailants as “opportunists” and “cowards.” He emphasized, “There are plenty of people that are out, specifically in the subway and the streets, that shouldn’t be out among the public…and it results in more victimization.”
The sentiment is shared by another 27-year-old victim, who, after being assaulted at the West 4th Street subway station, lamented the decisions by ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and others to reduce the number of people in custody, especially during the pandemic. This sentiment echoes through the corridors of NYC, with the lady asserting, “It feels like men just hate us.”
Recent events underline the gravity of the situation. In one horrifying incident, Samuel Junker allegedly pursued Wan Xu into a Chambers Street subway station, resulting in her sustaining a fractured leg. Such events have left physical scars and instilled a profound fear. Xu even voiced her reluctance to ever use the subway again.
A City Council spokesperson highlighted the recent legislative efforts to expand mental health services and initiatives aimed at violence prevention. But for many women, these measures might feel too little too late.
The streets of NYC have borne witness to a string of assaults that have jolted the city’s sense of security. From Kemal Rideout’s subway slashing spree to Norton Blake’s brutal attack on a 60-year-old at a Harlem subway station, the list is long and heart-wrenching.
Jane Manning, director of Women’s Equal Justice Project, linked the rise in assaults to explicit public displays of misogyny, suggesting that both political spectrums have played a role in creating an environment that emboldens some men to target women.
Despite the grim circumstances, New York women are uniting. Ellio Wagner, a 19-year-old assaulted in Chelsea, took to social media to spread a message of caution: “If you are a woman living in New York City, please protect yourself.”
In a city that never sleeps, safety should never be compromised. With rising concerns and palpable fear, it calls for immediate action and long-term solutions.