More women reporting sexual offenses on New York City subways

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Reports of sexual offenses in New York City's subway system are way up.

Authorities say reports are up more than 50 percent from last year due to more women reporting the crimes.

Police said Monday there had been 431 sex crimes in the subway this year. That's 156 more than the year before.

But Transit Chief Joseph Fox says the increase just means there is more reporting of the incidents, not more crime.

Fox says more victims are coming forward because of an MTA campaign, "See Something, Say Something", urging them to speak up.

The offenses include unwanted touching, public lewdness and unlawful taking of inappropriate video or photos.

Police say crimes that would previously go unreported because victims were intimated or didn't believe their case would be taken seriously are now being documented and investigated.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority created a website in 2014 where victims could report offenses. The agency also has added plainclothes officers on trains looking for perpetrators.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls the increase "completely unacceptable."

The Democrat said Tuesday that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs to take more steps to strengthen patrols in the subway system. He says more plainclothes officers are also needed to crack down on lewd behavior.

An MTA spokesman says the agency takes the issue seriously and is committed to deploying all assets to end sex offenses against riders.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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