Tide of violent transit crime in NYC appears to be receding

Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Tide of violent transit crime in New York City appears to be receding
NJ Burkett reports on crime in subways the skyrocketing last month.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- As more people are riding the subways, MTA staffing shortages are increasing. However, there is some good news -- crime is going down.

For weeks, it's been unmistakable -- stepped-up police patrols in the subways, officers in the terminals, officers on the platforms and officers on the trains.

And the rate of violent crime underground is beginning to level-off.

In a single 24-hour period, from Tuesday morning until 6 a.m. Wednesday, not a single violent assault was reported anywhere in the New York City transit system.

"We have seen a downward trend which is great, but it is not sufficient to, to make us take our foot off the pedal, we realize that we have got to get to a point where our customers feel comfortable in our system," said MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren.

Crime in the subways skyrocketed last month. But over the past two weeks, the number of violent assaults is down by more than 50%.

At the MTA's monthly board meeting, Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg credited the NYPD's Transit Chief for the increased patrols.

"Those significant increase in police presence, I think, has played a real impact," Feinberg said. "And, you know, the uptick in ridership helps a bit, too. But the numbers seem to be based, for now at least, on the increase in policing."

MTA officials say there are a number of factors at work-with 40% of riders returning to the system, there is "safety in numbers." The agency had added scores of private security guards and surveillance cameras. But much of the impact is believed to be a direct result of hundreds of additional NYPD officers to patrol the system.

"We are grateful that the city has added additional resources, and we continue to monitor it and obviously we're reporting monthly to the, to the public," said MTA Chariman Patrick Foye. "Clearly there's a need for additional social services and mental health services."

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