Police officers in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, where several sexual attacks have occurred in recent months, are amping up their nighttime presence and offering a more unusual form of protection: wardrobe advice.
According to the Wall Street Journal, one 25-year-old woman was stopped with two other women recently. The 25-year old was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, while the other two women wore dresses.
“He pointed at my outfit and said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?’” the woman said. “He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin.”
Their clothing, the officer said, would provide “easy access” for the at-large attackers.
“You’re exactly the kind of girl this guy is targeting,” she recalled the officer telling her.
However, the New York City Police Department said that officers were there for protection, not sartorial advice.
“Officers are not telling women what not to wear—there’s a TV series that does that,” Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told the Journal in an email. “They are simply pointing out that as part of the pattern involving one or more men that the assailant(s) have targeted women wearing skirts.”
Multiple citizen groups, including Brooklyn Bike Patrol and Safe Slope, have also sprung up to patrol the neighborhood and protect late-night pedestrians.
Jay “Rocket” Ruiz, part of the Bike Patrol, said in recent days he has escorted more than a dozen women during their walks home.
“I hate to see women getting attacked, that’s one of the most cowardly acts anyone can do,” Ruiz said. “We just want to get people home safe.”
Park Slope resident Ronnie Yoked, however, said she had no need for escorts or a change of clothing to ward off potential attackers.
“I have my black belt in karate,” she said. “They’re all short dudes. I’m waiting for one of them to try to get me.”
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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