Eyewitness News gets exclusive ride-along with NYPD commissioner amid fear over subway crime

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Wednesday, October 12, 2022
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Eyewitness News reporter Josh Einiger was along for the ride Tuesday night as New York City's top cop went underground in an effort to keep riders safe on the subway.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Eyewitness News was along for the ride Tuesday night as New York City's top cop went underground in an effort to keep riders safe on the subway.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell toured the subway station where a teen was assaulted over the weekend and rode with New Yorkers who all have an opinion.

"Do something about the crime, guys do something about the crime," xx said.

What did Sewell learn today?

"I learned we have more to do, and we're here to do it," she said.

It's been a rough two weeks in the transit system, with three murders, two in the subway and one on a bus.

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The NYPD, which already flooded transit with thousands of cops since the beginning of the year, surged nearly a thousand more, focusing on 15 train lines in 20 stations citywide.

"Obviously we're concerned about the safety of New Yorkers," Sewell said. "This subway has to be safe. I remember taking the subway myself to go to school. The people who go to school, the people who work in the city, and this is the lifeblood, it has to be safe."

The irony is, statistically the subway is as safe as it was before the pandemic.

With, on any given day, an average of 3 million riders, there have been just six so-called major crimes, things like robbery or assault, throughout the entire system.

"We've increased officers on trains and platforms so that you can ride safely," Sewell said.

But when it comes to straphangers and their safety, perception is reality.

So, the commissioner's voice is now being broadcast above station platforms and cops say conductors will soon announce the presence of officers as a train pulls into a station.

"We have to make people feel safe and that's what we're trying to do every day, every hour, every train that we're on," said Chief Jason Wilcox of the NYPD Transit Bureau. "We're trying to make people feel safe and make them safe."

"They want to feel safe in the subway system," Sewell said. "That's what they're telling us every time we ask them. Riding these trains, seeing commuters and letting them know we hear them and want to address their concerns is very important to us."

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