The new NYPD Special Victims Division looks nothing like the grubby precinct on television.
There is a brightly lit waiting area, comfortable seating and soothing paint colors on the walls.
Believing design makes a difference, the NYPD has given the division a makeover to encourage sex assault and rape victims to come forward.
The new Special Victims Division center, located at 137 Centre Street, just across from the Manhattan DA’s office, is part of a “victim centered” approach meant to make the experience of talking to detectives less intimidating and more private. The SVD has been undergoing extensive reforms over the last 18 months, according to officials.
"The significant facility improvements, increased staffing, enhanced training and new leadership within our Special Victims Division amplify our ability to respond effectively to survivors of all crimes, while continuing to conduct thorough and victim-centered investigations,” Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a press release. “The NYPD remains deeply committed to ensuring survivors feel the safety and support needed to come forward, bravely share their experiences, and help the NYPD bring to justice those who have committed these horrific crimes."
The changes come after the city’s Department of Investigation found that SVD was understaffed and ill-equipped to deal with a massive caseload. In response, 35 detectives were added.