November ended with another record low in most serious city crime but a rise in reported rapes, NYPD officials said Monday, attributing the spike to widespread coverage of numerous accusations of sexual misconduct against celebrities.
“We have seen an increase in the last three months,” NYPD Chief Dermot Shea told reporters about rape complaints at a briefing on crime trends. “Particularly in the last two months, double-digit increases.”
The NYPD reported 111 rape complaints last month, an increase of 15.6 percent over November 2016, when there were 96, Shea said.
The increases in rape complaints coincided with what is going on in the news, Shea said. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce added that there had been 32 more cases of reported rapes in 2017 than the previous year. Some of the 2017 rape reports involved allegations from prior years, Boyce said, andmay have been spurred by media coverage of the highly publicized cases.
Neither Shea nor Boyce mentioned the allegations of sexual misconduct against movie producer Harvey Weinstein or other celebrities in talking about the spike in rape reports.
Separately, Boyce said, his detectives were moving forward with the Manhattan district attorney’s office in the investigation of sexual assault against Weinstein, but the chief wouldn’t say whether an indictment was imminent. He said two NYPD detectives have traveled to London as part of the probe.
“There is a lot here we cannot speak about,” said Boyce about the Weinstein case. “There is a lot to this case. This is no small issue.”
Despite the increase in rape complaints, Shea said, for all of 2017, rape allegations were down 1.9 percent. Overall in November, as expected, the NYPD reported decreases in all other serious crimes, including homicide, grand larceny, burglary and felonious assaults.
According to crime statistics through Sunday, there have been 263 homicides, compared with 314 in 2016, a drop of 16.4 percent, while shootings fell to 729 from 936, or 22 percent.
The plummeting homicide rate puts the city on pace to record fewer than 300 killings for the year, a level not seen since the end of World War II. The city is also on pace to record 800 shootings by the end of 2017, the fewest since the modern era of record keeping began in 1994.
“If the trends continue through this month, the people of this city will have had the safest year on record in over half a century,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who presided over the briefing with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “That is the trajectory we are on right now.”
In response to a question about who would replace Chief of Department Carlos Gomez when he retires on Dec. 21, O’Neill said no final decision had been made but that the person who gets the job would “be the most qualified person.”