A New York City Police Department captain drew backlash Friday for saying a spike in reported rapes was "not a trend that we're too worried about" because many of the perpetrators were acquainted with the victims, and not strangers.
The 94th Precinct, in the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn, has seen a 62.5% increase in reported rapes over the last year, with 10 out of 13 reported cases in 2016 remaining unsolved, DNAinfo reported Friday.
Police attributed the lack of arrests to the fact that most rapes were committed by victims' acquaintances, adding that women who reported the attacks often stopped cooperating with investigators, according to DNAinfo.
"Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of them were actually coworkers. It's not a trend that we're too worried about because out of 13 (cases), only two were true stranger rapes," Captain Peter Rose told the website.
"Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more," Rose said.
Rose reportedly made further comments at a community council meeting Wednesday suggesting that rapes committed by strangers to the victim were more worrying to police than acquaintance rapes.
"They're not total abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets," he said.
"If there's a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards," he added.
Rose's comments received fierce backlash from the public and city officials alike, after being circulated on social media on Friday. Sexual-violence prevention advocates frequently decry the myths that most sexual assaults are committed by strangers and that such cases are more severe than assaults committed by acquaintances.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said Rose's comments "did not properly explain the complexity of issues involved with investigating rape complaints."
"Every report of rape is thoroughly investigated by specially trained detectives in the NYPD's Special Victims Unit. All complaints of rape and other types of sexual crimes are taken seriously whether they are committed by domestic partners, acquaintances, or strangers," Davis told Business Insider in a statement.
A spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said "rape is rape," adding that the crime "merits no moral qualification and does not involve shades of criminality or degrees of danger."
And New York City's public advocate, Letitia James, said in a statement provided to Business Insider that she is "extremely disturbed and concerned" by Rose's comments, and called upon the police department to ensure its officers are properly trained to handle sex crimes and interact with victims.
"Too often, victims of rape and sexual crimes do not come forward because of fear that their claims won't be taken seriously, and these comments perpetuate those concerns," James said.
"I want victims to know that we believe them; we are here for them; and we will never tolerate rape or sexual assault in our society."
Statistics show that most sexual violence perpetrators are, in fact, known to the victim — just 28% of rapes are committed by strangers, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
On Friday afternoon, the women's rights group UltraViolet called upon the police department to immediately fire Rose "for his dangerous and unacceptable views."
"Captain Peter Rose and the NYPD are engaging in victim-blaming of the worst kind while judging which rapes they deem to be legitimate and which they do not," co-founder Nita Chaudhary said in a statement.
"With comments like these, it is not surprising that survivors of sexual assault don't feel comfortable reporting and cooperating with police authorities who dismiss the seriousness of violence against women."
View some of the social media responses to Rose's comments below: