NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Mayor Eric Adams defended his get-tough approach to crime in the subway on Tuesday, likening it to the necessity of eating vegetables.
The mayor announced a return to issuing summonses for minor violations like turnstile jumping, smoking, urination, and seat spreading, believing they lead to more violent crime.
Adams dismissed criticism that his policies are returning the city to days of heavier-handed policing.
"We are going to be safe. I'm like broccoli. You're going to hate me now but you're going love me later," Adams said.
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Teams have been sent into subway tunnels to search for homeless encampments and more than 300 people living in the subway have been relocated to shelters.
So far this year the NYPD has issued more than 16,000 fare evasion summonses, more than 1,200 summonses for smoking, 700 for drinking and 500 for obstruction of seats.
The NYPD has seen a 75% increase in index crimes in the subway from last year but they're down from pre-pandemic levels.
There are currently 4.8 million riders in the city, which is 60% of pre-pandemic levels.
"We have we have millions of New Yorkers that are using the subway every day and they use it in a safe way to get to and from but the actual crimes and the perception of crime is going to destroy our recovery," Adams said. "We stopped prosecuting those who were fare evasions because we stated it was criminalizing poverty. No. There's a way to get on the subway system if you don't have enough money to pay your fare. We've created an environment in our subway system where rules don't matter. I don't subscribe to that."