BY AMANDA MOSES
On July 15th, a 23-year-old male followed an 84-year-old woman into the elevator of her apartment building (G5) and committed a lewd act in her presence. The victim reported the incident three days later to the Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) Department of Public Safety (DPS) because she did not want anyone else to have the same experience.
Sexual harassment, exhibition-ism, and other indecent crimes can leave a victim feeling traumatized, embarrassed and hesitant to speak with law enforcement. DPS urges residents to report all crimes. “There should be absolutely no fear or shame. Everything you tell us will be kept strictly confidential. Those responsible will never know that the complaint originated from you. Not reporting an incident or condition to us jeopardizes the safety and security of everyone else on site,” said DPS Director, Vincent DeMarino.
After the incident was reported, DPS’s Investigation Unit reviewed the elevator’s surveillance camera video and secured images of the alleged lewd act. Additional review of the G-5 elevator surveillance camera video, dating back several days from the reported incident, revealed that the same man committed lewd acts on two separate occasions in front of two other women. Neither of these women reported the crimes to DPS or to NYPD; however, the victims were identified by DPS and agreed to cooperate in the investigation.
The alleged perpetrator’s photo was distributed to all DPS officers and to NYPD’s 75th Precinct. Less than 12 hours after the crime was reported, DPS spotted the alleged perpetrator while monitoring live elevator footage. He was seen entering building G5 and following a senior woman into the elevator. Just as he was about to victimize another female passenger, DPS apprehended him without incident.
The alleged perpetrator was placed into custody and transferred to the 75th Precinct where he was arrested and charged with three incidents of public lewdness and one attempted act of public lewdness.
DPS Director, DeMarino com-mended the bravery and coopera-tion of the three victims in coming forward with their stories and hopes that no one will hesitate to report such crimes to DPS or NYPD. “Both DPS and NYPD have been trained to take these matters very seriously, and treat victims with the sensitivity, dignity, and grace they deserve. We will interview the victim and discuss this matter with them in a location that the victim is comfortable with, out of public view (no one has to know they are reporting an incident to us),” said DeMarino.
Reporting a crime is important in assuring the safety and security of every person who lives, works and visits SCT. That report could be the one. “It is critically important for residents to immediately notify us whenever they see something because they could stop someone else from becoming a victim, or help the officers apprehend a criminal. For us to achieve that goal, we need every member of the community to partner with us in this effort,” said DeMarino.
“We at DPS promise that if You See Something and Say Something; DPS Will Do Something,” DeMarino said.
In an Emergency call 911.
If there is a situation that requires DPS you may call 718-642-7550.
Never Fear to Report a Crime
Sexual harassment and other crimes are shocking and uncomfortable to discuss. But these are crimes that need to be reported and documented.
DPS would like residents to know:
- Reports are taken seriously and victims are treated with dignity and sensitivity.
- If the victim is uncomfortable coming into the DPS Headquarters to discuss this matter, they can send plainclothes members of DPS’ Investigations Unit to their apartment, or even meet them in another location such as a restaurant, if that is preferable.
- Many of DPS officers are multilingual, which can help a victim if a language barrier exists.
- If victims feel scared or traumatized after experiencing such an incident, DPS and NYPD will advise victims of the many social services available to them such as Safe Horizon, which provides crime victims with assistance, guidance and counselling during their most difficult time.
For counseling or help you can contact:
*Safe Horizon General Phone: 212- 577-7700
*For victims of crime and their families: 866-689-HELP (4357)
*For rape & sexual assault victims: 212-227-3000
*For domestic violence victims: 800-621-HOPE (4673)