Yesterday we received two accounts from women who were separately approached by the NYPD over the weekend. The purpose of these interactions, it seems, was to make sure the women knew about the attacks going on around here the past few months, and to show them some surveillance vids. Here are their emails:
On Saturday afternoon, two cops came to the door of my apartment on 16th St. and 6th Ave; one man (in uniform) and one woman (in plain clothes). They said they were going door to door with videos of the sexual assault attackers to see if anyone had any information or recognized them from the footage.
They showed me three or four videos on a laptop, one of an actual attack, to see if anyone 'recognized the way the man walked' or any other features. They didn't go into detail about any other efforts they were making, but emphasized they still didn't know how many attackers they were looking for (sometimes witness accounts aren't 100% reliable when describing attackers, and they gave an example). They also were saying the community is so up in arms about this, they think the strong community presence is going to get this guy (or these guys).
This whole exercise seemed to be in reaction to the community criticism than anything else. Although I have heard reports of people seeing lots of undercover cops around and increased police presence, if that’s anything. Ultimately, I was happy they came by. Both the cops were really nice, and although it’s a longshot these videos could turn up something though, I’m glad they’re trying.
Glad it's not all crickets and tumbleweeds down in the South Slope.
Here's the second account, sent in by a woman who was NOT happy about a cop stopping her on the street.
As you know, there's been a recent string of rapes/attempted rapes in the Park Slope, Brooklyn neighborhood. Thanks to a highly publicized rally, there are now police patrolling the streets during the evening.
Earlier this evening, at around 7:30 p.m., I was on my way home from the gym, keys in hand, not talking on my cell phone, very aware of my surroundings. I passed a cop and he asked if I would stop and talk to him. He then asked two women who were wearing dresses to stop and talk to him. Here is our conversation:
Cop: "Do you know what's been going on in this neighborhood?"
Me: "Yes, a man has attacked several women."
Cop: "Do you know what he's looking for?"
Lady: "...Young women walking alone?"
Cop: "And how do you know that? Someone told you that?"
Lady: "No, I've been reading about this in the news."
Cop: (points to my gym clothes) "Your shorts are pretty short." (points at women's dresses) "Kind of showing some skin. Do you think that might make this guy angry, think he can get easy access?"
Me: "I really appreciate that cops are out in the neighborhood, but I'm coming home from the gym, and it's hot outside. Women should be able to wear shorts and dresses without it being seen as an excuse to be attacked."
Cop: "I'm just making sure you're aware of what's going on. Girls like you are targets."
Me: "Thank you for being out here, but I would really prefer if you caught the criminal."