New investigation reveals that NYPD's real-life sex crimes unit is a mess

Originally published at: New investigation reveals that NYPD's real-life sex crimes unit is a mess | Boing Boing


Is having the victim pay for scientific tests usual in American Law Enforcement?


Some enterprising person needs to produce a faux episode of Law & Order SVU, in exactly the style and structure of the show, but presenting the events recounted in the article.


This is the closest I could find.


Put that pimp guy on it.
He’ll straighten that shit right up

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Remember this next time your racist relatives float the “but how will we stop r*pists?!” concern troll response to the necessary work of defunding police forces and building actual support networks for communities.


“But … but … if we defund the police, then all the rapists will go free, instead of maybe only about eighty-five per cent of them? Is that what you want, you bleeding-heart liberal pussy? Are you going to deny victims their right to be humiliated by largely indifferent officers and then forced to sit through a grueling courtroom trial so that they can enjoy an approximately one-in-six chance of seeing their attacker convicted on minor charges? Why would you want to take that away from them, you monster?”


By March 2018, SVD’s adult sex crime units had only 67 detectives (out of the 96 originally
recommended) and only five were First Grade detectives.

The NYC population census puts NYC at between 8 million and 9 million people. That’s 1 detective for every 83,333 people.

Come On Reaction GIF by Women's History


Well, it’s consistent with anecdotes I’ve heard, and really shouldn’t be a surprise - the NYPD are fucked up in every other respect, so of course they’re fucked up in this one, too. And cops tend to not just be disinterested in sex crimes, but actively hostile to its survivors, because cops tend to be male, conservative and statistically most cops are domestic abusers, and thus likely to be sex offenders themselves, or at least sympathetic to offenders.

Unfortunately, when it comes to sexual assault, it does seem to be common. Even though it’s actually against federal law, many states allow hospitals to charge for the forensic medical exams (which can cost thousands of dollars), and police sometimes will charge to have some evidence processed.

I wish. No tv show about the police is allowed to be on the air, apparently, unless it’s pure copaganda. And there’s so much of it, everyone believes that’s how things actually work in reality.

Oh, how offensive to the police! It’s not 85%. They’re not that bad at their jobs - they are, in fact, highly successful at ignoring sex crimes. The actual stat is 99%. Actually, it’s 99 point something, as on average about 0.7% of incidents result in conviction. And not too much more than half of those actually get custodial sentences. Which means only a statistically insignificant percentage of rapists actually get sent to prison. Functionally it’s as if we don’t actually have law enforcement who deal with this at all. (And sometimes that actually true, too.)

Really shows you the priorities. There’s this myth that in murder cases, the first few days are crucial, with leads uncovered in that time indicating whether they’ll solve the case. It turns out the reality is, it’s entirely down to the number of detectives assigned. Resources determine success. If the resources don’t even potentially exist in the first place…


Just keeping you honest: It’s not most, it’s 40%. Still shockingly high, and doesn’t negate your point.


Keep in mind that the survey only asked about the year prior. (My recollection of one such survey was that it covered an even smaller time-frame.) Not “have you ever.” Which means the actual number is much higher.


FFS! The Legal and Medical Systems in America seem so often to be cruel and unusual.


Due to a series of tragedies and poor decisions, i have just now watched all 23 seasons of SVU. The main thing I notice (other than very positive changes in portrayal of trans people over the years) is how much it fails as copaganda.

The show clearly wants us to love our four key detective players but it portrays the main detectives as prone to mistakes and illegal behavior. They pull strings to get friends and family off the hook, and bend procedure in order to convict people who they ‘know’ are guilty. Especially in the early seasons the main characters fucking HATE the internal affairs investigators, which seems like an odd position for the ‘good guys’ to hold.

There are a couple of episodes every season where our beloved SVU detectives have to follow up on a sex crime originally investigated by some other unit. Any non-SVU NYPD unit is portrayed as sexist, victim-blaming, and rife with domestic abusers – the message to victims is never “good thing you went to the police” but rather “good thing you’re talking to us, the only competent and compassionate officers in the city.”

In total (and especially in late seasons) the show winds up having pretty progressive politics: rape is bad, domestic abuse is unacceptable, trans women are women, no one cares about consensual sex work or drug use, believe victims. I wouldn’t mind if real cops spent a bit more time watching their own propaganda.


the one cop - eliot? - loves to beat up suspects, and it’s usually portrayed as bad but effective. we’re apparently supposed to see that as being born out of the demands of the job. and his struggle with his own violence as sort of a sacrifice he makes.

that’s classic cop story stuff ( and american toxic behavior )

beyond that, the show in general is copaganda because it makes people believe that while there are uncaring grunt cops, there are also good cops and this is the work that they’re doing. when really, these cops don’t even exist at all

the system we have in fact specifically stops them from existing


many of us have hit this same rough patch. also known as the dark years…


The mere fact that the unit is depicted as a team of competent, largely compassionate investigators who actually dedicate real time and resources to investigating sex crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice qualifies it as wholesale copaganda.

As in films like Dirty Harry, rule-breaking cops are still portrayed as a necessary evil working toward the greater needs of society rather than a fundamental problem that undermines the whole enterprise.

It’s all part of the wider propaganda effort conditioning audiences to think of cops as the “good guys” no matter what.


Christopher Meloni plays essentially the same character (Nick Sax) in Happy!, a corrupt and violent drunk ex-cop-turned-hitman. But at least in that show it’s clear that he is supposed to be a piece of human garbage who had no place in law enforcement.


Um…in the new spinoff series, Stabler goes deep undercover and develops a peripheral relationship with his main suspect’s wife, roofies her and goes through her belongings looking for evidence, and then has sex with her the next day while she is unaware of the prior event. All in a day’s work.

Bryan Cranston Reaction GIF


yikes! well. i hope he at least felt bad about it, poor guy.

( sarcasm, if that’s not clear. i got through an episode or two of it and was like: this guy. why do i want a show about this guy? )


I haven’t seen that one so I just looked it up on Wikipedia… the premise for his character reads

Christopher Meloni as Detective 1st Grade Elliot Stabler, a former Manhattan Special Victims Unit detective who returns to New York after retiring from the police department several years earlier. He joins a task force within the Organized Crime Control Bureau to find his wife’s killers and becomes its second-in-command.

I know this whole franchise often stretches plausibility for how law enforcement is supposed to operate but for crying out loud… who the hell would sign off of putting a detective with a long history of violent acts in charge of investigating his own wife’s murder?? Even in the Dick Wolfiverse there’s no way any DA would want to compromise their legal case with that kind of conflict of interest.


I don’t exactly disagree; probably most viewers see it as being pro-cop, and the episodes certainly tend to end on a hopeful ‘the system worked, just this once’ note. I’m just thrown off by the ‘just this once’ bit.

“In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. But the rest of the criminal justice system is shit.”