Safety on NYC subways, in city is biggest 'return to work' obstacle, poll finds

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ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Friday, March 25, 2022
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Public safety is the single biggest obstacle to mobilizing the return to work in New York City as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, a new poll found.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Safety on public transportation and in New York City in general is the single biggest obstacle to mobilizing the return to work as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, a new poll found.

The survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Partnership for New York City and sampled nearly 10,000 adults who work in the city's private sector and live in the city as well.

"We spent two years worrying about our mortality with the pandemic and losing family members, etc," said Kathryn Wylde, with the Partnership for New York City. "People are on edge."

Ninety-four percent of those polled said that not enough is being done to address homelessness and mental illness in the city, followed by assaults and gun violence, citing these as major contributors to safety on the streets and subways.

Eighty-four percent say conditions in the city have worsened in the past two years, and 40% said they are considering moving out of New York City.

ALSO READ | NYPD launching quality-of-life initiative; critics fear return to 'broken windows'

"People's fears and anxieties are triggered by things like the increased incidents of shoplifting and the number of increase assaults on the subway system and people being pushed in front of trains," Wylde said. "And these are magnified by two years of a pandemic in which we just had a great sense of anxiety, about illness, about death and about normal life."

Despite these concerns, over 70% of employees express a commitment to New York City and want to be part of its recovery.

Many provided ideas of how their companies can work with government to help, including investments and philanthropic support for homeless and mental health services and increased patronage of local small businesses.

Seventy-four percent of public transit commuters say safety on transit has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic, while 46% say not enough is being done to address turnstile jumping in the transit system.

Fifty-seven percent of employees said not enough is being done about shoplifting in New York City.

Only 38% of employees are optimistic about the future of the city, while 62% say they are pessimistic or unsure.

This week, the NYPD announced that officers would begin targeted enforcement of relatively minor offenses. Mayor Eric Adams has insisted that public safety is his top priority, and he turned up the volume Friday.

"Let's be clear on this," he said. "What's not going to happen in the city. You're not going to walk into Duane Reade, take whatever you want, and walk out. You're not going to openly-inject yourself with drugs. You're not going to just do whatever you want to in the city."

According to the poll, employees feel strongly that their company should hold public officials accountable for taking action to fight crime and restore quality of life in the city.

In addition to public safety concerns, almost 60% of employees say not enough is being done to address affordable housing and small business recovery.

ALSO READ | NYPD introduces emotional support dogs to help officers cope with stress of job

Fifty percent of employees say more needs to be done to address public education.

This poll was conducted between February 17-March 11, 2022, among a sample of 9,386 adults who work in New York City and live in the metropolitan area.

The interviews were conducted online. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

CLICK HERE to access the full report.

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