A new report by New York City’s Department of Investigation claims the NYPD has understaffed and under-resourced the Special Victims Division for nearly a decade.
The DOI said those limitations resulted in many sexual assault cases not being properly investigated. The department said that was confirmed by multiple prosecutors who were interviewed.
“Victims of sexual assault deserve justice, with the full weight of law enforcement by their side. The neglect and understaffing of NYPD’s Special Victims Division are serious and deeply troubling and the failure to treat acquaintance rape as an equal priority is unacceptable,” DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said.
The report found that SVD’s adult sex crimes units had only 67 detectives, despite having a caseload of 5,661. The DOI said the NYPD needs to double the size of the unit in order to properly investigate the crimes.
The NYPD pushed back on the report. They said it’s inaccurate and investigators didn’t talk to top police brass.
“Each complaint of rape we take seriously and we fully investigate each and every one,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
The DOI said because of understaffing, some cases don’t receive the attention they deserve and some are sent to local precinct squads. They said that results in “diluted” and “shortened” investigations, jeopardized prosecutions, victims who are re-traumatized and the reporting is negatively impacted. The DOI said that adversely affects public safety.
“While DOI’s report details the shortcomings currently hindering SVD, it provides a critical roadmap for the future. NYPD must give the Special Victims Division the resources and personnel it needs to carry out its important mission,” Peters said.
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