New York officials warn of increase in 'upskirting' as temperatures rise

Offenders face up to four years in jail

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 18 April 2016 21:54

Upskirters beware!

New York’s police officers are on the look-out for men who take voyeuristic photographs of unsuspecting women - an offence that increases with the arrival of warmer weather.

Reuters reported that police arrested five alleged offenders during a spate of higher temperatures, based on information from the office of Manhattan city prosecutor Cyrus Vance.

Officials said police had recently made five arrests

“This is a serious crime with serious consequences,” Mr Vance said in a statement.

“These are not victimless crimes, but damaging invasions of privacy.”

Cases of “upskirting” increase as seasonal temperatures rise, the prosecutor’s office said.

Upskirters photograph underneath women’s skirts, typically using cell phones or small cameras that might be hidden in newspapers, briefcases, books, hats or jackets, Mr Vance’s office said. In some of the recent arrests, as many as two dozen photos were found.

Women may be targeted on train cars, platforms, stairs, escalators, benches and other crowded areas, the office said. His office said among the locations where the crime was most common were Grand Central, Union Square and Times Square.

Officials said the increase in cases was linked to the warmer weather

An average of 5.6 million people ride the New York City subways each weekday, according to official figures.

The crime of unlawful surveillance carries the possibility of up to four years in prison and potentially being registered as a sex offender.

Additional crimes might apply if the photos are put online, the prosecutor’s office said.

The menace of so-called upskirters is just one of a number of challenges faced by women on the city's subway system. Last year, officials launched a campaign against "man-spreading", the habit of some male passengers by taking up more space then strictly required by refusing to bring their knees together when seated.

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