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Rapes Increased in South Bronx Precincts in 2014, Police Say

By Eddie Small | January 7, 2015 8:51am
 The 40th Precinct saw 28 rapes in 2014 as of Dec. 28, according to NYPD stats.
The 40th Precinct saw 28 rapes in 2014 as of Dec. 28, according to NYPD stats.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

SOUTH BRONX — Rapes increased throughout the South Bronx in 2014, and police attributed the rise to domestic violence and statutory rapes, not to victims being attacked by strangers.

The sharpest spike was in Morrisania's 42nd Precinct, which saw 30 rapes in 2014 through Dec. 28 compared to 24 during the same period in 2013, according to NYPD CompStat numbers.

Over the same period, reports of rape increased from 25 to 28 in Mott Haven's 40th Precinct, from 16 to 18 in the 41st Precinct, which covers Hunts Point and Longwood, and from 30 to 32 in the 44th Precinct, covering Concourse and Highbridge.

Some of the South Bronx's reported rapes occurred in schools, including a Nov. 18 case at Bronx Preparatory Charter School in the 42nd Precinct and an Oct. 16 case at JHS 145 in the 44th Precinct.

Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson, commanding officer of the 40th Precinct, said his officers would work to fight rapes in the precinct in 2015 by speaking to students in local schools and educating residents about the laws, as many of the precinct's cases involved an underage victim.

Capt. Steven Ortiz of the 42nd Precinct similarly stressed that there had not been an epidemic of "stranger rape" occurring throughout the neighborhoods. Rather, most of the rapes were committed by people the victim knew, which he said can be more difficult to prevent.

“Out of the 30 rapes that we took this year, I think only one was a traditional stranger rape,” he said.

Deputy Inspector Martine Materasso, commanding officer of the 41st Precinct, said "stranger rapes" in her precinct were very uncommon as well. She planned to continue fighting domestic violence in the community.

Rafael Salamanca, president of the 41st Precinct Community Council, said the numbers showed that education is essential for fighting sexual assault.

"Maybe we need to educate our young men as well," he said. "You know what? No means no."

Citywide, crime dropped by 4.6 percent over the last year, including a 1.7 percent decrease in rapes and a 13.6 percent decrease in robberies.

Robberies went down in all four South Bronx precincts from 2013 to 2014, from 448 to 407 in the 40th Precinct, 327 to 247 in the 41st Precinct, 322 to 306 in the 42nd Precinct and 418 to 409 in the 44th Precinct through Dec. 28, records show.

Ortiz attributed the drop in robberies in the 42nd Precinct to knowing where the neighborhoods' problem areas are and deploying officers accordingly. Johnson said he had been pushing for robbers to receive higher bail and longer sentences.

Although Materasso, from the 41st Precinct, was pleased with the drop, she said her officers would not lessen their focus on robberies going forward.

“We definitely have to keep an eye on that," she said.