NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams announced a joint plan to address homelessness and crime in the New York City subway system Thursday.
Hochul announced that homeless outreach units, dubbed Safe Options Support or S.O.S., teams made up of eight to 10 "trained professionals who will be embedded" to get homeless people out of the subway system and into shelters.
Meanwhile, Adams said police officers on normal patrol above ground will proactively go to subway stations as part of their normal duties and transit officers will start riding subway trains and engaging commuters.
"They are going to ride the trains. When is the last time you saw an officer walk through the train? To see them there and engage with passengers, 'how are you, how was your day.' to rebuild that trust," Adams said. "Too many police officers hired for public safety are sitting behind a desk. We gave them that bullet proof vest, that badge and that firearm to go on patrol and protect the public, not to protect a computer screen. We want them on patrol, where they are supposed to be."
Nine out of 10 riders say they haven't returned to mass transit because of the perceived threat of crime on the subways, according to the MTA.
Thursday night's rush hour was a barely recognizable at the usually bustling Herald Square transit hub.
Jose Duran is one straphanger that tries to avoid taking the subway because of crime.
"I am very concerned because anybody can come at you wearing mask, wearing hoodies and you don't know who is around you," said Duran.
Standing side-by-side the governor and mayor promises to address the increased violence in the subway system, and increase outreach to homeless individuals.
"I knew we needed a more visible presence on the subways. Not up on the streets, not on the platforms, but in the subways," Hochul said.
Hochul noted the initiative has the state and city working together for one common goal.
"Like I said, it's a whole new day, New York," Hochul said.
On Thursday, police released video of a man accused of stabbing another man at a Queens subway station on Sunday.
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