MTA officials address alarming rise in crime, promise more uniformed officers on platforms

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The MTA held one of its regular monthly meetings Monday and crime was one of the top topics of discussion.

According to the data that was presented, there were 461 felony assaults in the subway system last year, the highest number since 1997.

Total major felonies in the subway were up 63% in December, driving the 2021 crime statistics up 1.1%.

"They're feeling unsafe. Our riders are feeling unsafe," said MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber.

That sentiment is without question. Sunday, a 61-year-old man survived being pushed onto tracks at the Fulton Street station in lower Manhattan.

But sadly, Michelle Go didn't - after being shoved in front of a train at the Times Square station by a man dealing with mental health issues.

"The city is also still reeling from the loss of Michelle Alyssa Go," said Lieber.

An MTA official says the subway system was on track to finish down in major index crimes in 2021, until December.

Lieber went on to emphasize the urgency of things the agency can implement now to make the subways safer, as he introduced the newly appointed NYPD Transit Chief, Jason Wilcox.

"It's critical to the future of our city. We have to allow people to get back to normal lives," said Lieber. "And if they're scared to travel on mass transit, they can't. It's that simple."

Wilcox says riders will see uniformed train patrols be on the platform and on the trains 24/7.

"We want the riders, the New Yorkers, the people who come here, work here go to school here to see our officers and feel safer," said Wilcox.

And beginning this week, a team of mental health professionals deployed by Governor Hochul will go into the system as well.

"We know where a lot of these chronically homeless who are experiencing mental health issues are, we just need to keep creating a system that, first of all, gets them off the platforms and off the trains," said Lieber.

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