NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- NY Gov. Kathy Hochul, NYC Mayor Eric Adams and police officials joined MTA leadership at a Lower Manhattan subway station on Friday to deliver what they say is encouraging news for commuters.
They announced recent crime statistics that show the subway system is getting even safer, and riders are more comfortable using the system as they return to work.
An MTA customer satisfaction survey shows subway riders "saying they feel safer," the mayor said during a separate series of media appearances before the 10 a.m. announcement.
"The one thing that riders say again and again and again, up and down the demographic and economic spectrum, is they want to see cops and they are happier about the number of cops that they're seeing than ever before," MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said.
Adams credited recent initiatives, including flooding the system with 1,200 officers in the fall.
Riders say they notice a difference with more police officers patrolling underground.
"Yeah, of course having a cop around makes you feel better and more secure about it," subway rider Jeff Hahn said.
The city has also been working to move people who appear to be experiencing mental health episodes out of the subway system and into a hospital.
Since October, arrests are up 63%, overall. Summonses for fare evasion are up 170%, while quality of life violations doubled. Overall, crime is down 16%.
Crime in the transit system is down 28% this year compared to last, NYPD statistics show, and officers are making an average of six felony arrests in the system, the mayor said.
Mayor Adams told reporters that it's no coincidence. He said the surge in subway crime last year, specifically violent assaults, required drastic action.
"If my house is burning, don't come to me and talk about fire prevention strategies," he said. "Put out the fire, and then let's engage in a conversation about how do you prevent future fires. What we had, we had a blazing fire in our subway system. We had to deal with that fire."
He said the majority of the city's 2.9 million daily subway commuters are getting around safely.
"We needed a visible presence of our police officers," Mayor Adams said. "We needed them walking through the train cars. We needed them on the platform. We needed them inside the station. We did not ignore what people were feeling. People felt unsafe in our system."
Officials are reiterating that this morning as they encourage former daily commuters to get back onto the system as they get back to work.
Watch Governo Hochul's full announcement here:
Weekday ridership is still down about 35% from what it was before the pandemic.
"The reality is, everyday New Yorkers don't want to see someone on their subway system, or sleeping on their stoops, or in their hallways, on ATM machines, that can't take care of themselves, their basic needs. And we responded to that and we're going to continue to do so," Adams said on Wednesday.
Though city officials want to increase ridership, Adams did admit that some of those vacant Midtown offices will never be full of workers again.
That is why Adams called for rezoning parts of Midtown for residential purposes in his State of the City address on Thursday,
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