Police have arrested a person they are saying choked a girl unconscious after which raped her inside Central Park on Thursday. The arrest comes because the variety of reported rapes has risen contained in the 843-acre park up to now this 12 months.
Paulie Velez, 25, was arrested early Saturday morning and faces quite a few expenses together with rape, assault, theft, and prison possession of stolen property. Police say Velez, who’s homeless, approached the 27-year-old sufferer from behind close to a strolling path by Swan Lake and Heart Drive at round 7 a.m. on Thursday, allegedly choking her till she fainted earlier than sexually assaulting her. The sufferer got here to and requested a passerby for assist, in keeping with police. The sufferer was rushed to an space hospital the place she was listed in secure situation.
Police launched surveillance video capturing Velez exiting a subway station on the N and R subway line, and later at a retailer close to Occasions Sq.. In accordance with WABC-TV, the person was on the retailer attempting to promote the sufferer’s mobile phone, however the clerk refused.
Following the incident contained in the park, police elevated patrols.
Roughly 45 minutes after police responded to the rape, officers obtained one other report of an tried rape close to the footbridge at 103rd Road and the FDR Drive. Police dominated out Velez as a suspect in that assault after arresting a 38-year-old man in that incident.
Velez’s arrest comes amid a rise within the variety of reported rapes contained in the park. Crime statistics present six rape instances contained in the park had been reported to police up to now this 12 months, in comparison with two across the identical time a 12 months in the past.
In the previous couple of weeks, the NYPD has confronted intense scrutiny over the way in which it investigates rape instances. Final 12 months, 59% of rape instances reported in 2020 went unsolved, the best fee because the division started to publicly disclose that information in 2018. On the identical time, the variety of reported rape instances decreased from 1,794 in 2018 to 1,427 in 2020, in keeping with police statistics launched throughout a Metropolis Council listening to evaluating the success fee of the NYPD’s Particular Victims Division.
Deputy Inspector Michael King, head of the Particular Victims Division, testified on the listening to that instances have a tendency to interrupt aside if investigators are unable to show that pressure was used or if a complainant declines to come back ahead.
“It comes down to a lot of different variables with the cases,” King said. “It’s very difficult to pinpoint just one reason why.”