NYPD innovating extra ways to combat subway crime amid violent week in New York City

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Friday, February 16, 2024
NYPD innovating ways to combat subway crime amid violent week
NYPD prioritizing trying to reduce violent crime at subway stations.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Police Department is ramping up its efforts to keep riders safe after a particularly violent week of crime in the subway system.

Just this week alone, a tourist was stabbed in the Queens Plaza subway station, a 16-year-old was stabbed at the Stillwell Avenue-Coney Island station, a subway musician was hit in the head with a metal bottle at the Herald Square station and a teen was charged in a deadly shooting at the Mount Eden subway station in the Bronx.

Not only is major crime up, but so are felony assaults and grand larcenies. Statistics through the start of this week show overall crime up 22.6% this year vs last year, and felony assaults up 10.3%. Grand larcenies are up 39.4%.

NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said officers are walking the stations in uniform and undercover. He also revealed a command center where police can track suspects' movements.

"It scares them, concerns them," said Kemper on the efforts. "And to be quite frank, it concerns us, too. Our cops are out there. They're engaging these acts of lawlessness head on."

Safety is also top of mind for riders after the violent week.

"So I have to take the subway every morning," added rider Beverly Powell. "So, you know, I have to just be careful, you know, and look out."

The transit bureau's command center has surveillance cameras that overlook the entire subway system, including the platforms, turnstiles and mezzanines, acknowledged Kemper.

"If they see something or if something were to occur, they could go to that video and they can get information out to the men and women or cops that are patrolling the subway system in real time," he said.

Last week, the cameras at the Rockefeller Center station played a big part in quickly identifying 15-year-old Jesus Alejandro Rivas Figueroa. He was charged with attempted murder for a shooting at a sneaker store in Times Square.

The NYPD exclusively showed Eyewitness News the video of the teen as he ran into the subway station, jumped the turnstiles and walked on to the platform.

However, Kemper says arresting the suspects is only a part of the answer.

"Every time we arrest someone, we handcuff them and we take them out of the subway system to answer for the crime that they committed," he said. "Yet we find them returning and we find ourselves having to arrest them again and again and again. My question is, how is that advancing public safety?"

Kemper says new cameras will be added to the inside of trains soon.

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