With reported rapes on the rise in the city, is the NYPD doing all it can to hunt down sexual predators? The Department of Investigation (DOI) says no:
"There are only 67 detectives assigned to do adult sex crimes, with a case load of over 5,000," DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said Tuesday.
In a scathing report, the DOI said the NYPD's Special Victims Division should have added more detectives years ago.
The report also found that cases of date rape and other sexual assaults where victims know their attackers often do not receive the proper attention of the police.
"NYPD's own internal documents state that acquaintance rape will not always be enhanced, which means get post-arrest investigation by SVD [Special Victims Division] detectives — instead it will be sent to precincts, where they don't have the training," Peters said.
The DOI commissioner said that has led to mishandling of evidence and victims.
"That's not so. Every crime is done by the Special Victims Division, yes, so that is not so," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
The NYPD disputes much of the DOI report, including the findings that there are not enough specially-trained detectives to investigate sex crimes. It said detectives in the Special Victims Division handle only about five cases a month.
DOI said it interviewed prosecutors, advocates, and officials who run the sex crimes unit. But the NYPD said DOI never interviewed the chief of detectives.
"How could you conduct a thorough investigation and not talk to the most senior people who are in charge of this program that is recognized nationally?" NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Lawrence Byrne said.
But the National Organization for Women backed up DOI's findings.
"This report confirms what we see first hand: sexual assault is not treated as a high priority at the top levels of the NYPD, and sex crime victims and public safety suffer the consequences," the National Organization for Women said in a statement.
While speaking to officers a promotion ceremony Tuesday, Police Commissioner James O'Neill appeared to take aim at the DOI.
"The constant second-guessing and the many people out there that think they can do your job better than you can, you rise to the occasion each and every day," O'Neill said to the newly-promoted officers.
DOI said about 75 detectives should be added immediately to the Special Victims Unit. Based on the NYPD's response, it is not clear that will happen.