Cell-u-later, street harassers!

A cellphone snapshot of a harasser lands him in police custody.

Published September 20, 2008 9:35AM (EDT)

Sure, snapping a cellphone picture of a street harasser is good for humiliating the lech -- and alerting other women to his modus perverandi -- on the Web site Holler Back NYC. But, as a story in the New York Times shows, it can serve him with far more than embarrassment.

Last month, a 28-year-old woman was walking up a set of stairs -- wearing a skirt -- at the Dyckman Street station when she noticed a man suspiciously close to her. He just so happened to be fiddling with his cellphone and someone nearby told her that the man had snapped an up-the-skirt shot. The woman told the Times: "I said I had to do something. Since he is taking pictures of me, I am going to take pictures of him." So, she followed him onto a train and readied her cellphone. "And I told him 'smile' because I am going to the police," she said. She took a photo of his mug, e-mailed it to police and filed a criminal report. Bravo!

It's the kind of admirable act hardened city dwellers expect to lead nowhere -- except, thanks to the snapshot, a police officer recognized the suspect in a subway station earlier this week and he was charged Wednesday with attempted sexual abuse, harassment and unlawful surveillance. How's that for bursting your bubble of cosmopolitan cynicism!

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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