Subway shooting raises questions for riders about safety in NYC

Kristin Thorne Image
Thursday, April 14, 2022
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Kristin Thorne reports on the issue of subway safety from Sunset Park.

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The day after the mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway left 29 people injured, including 10 who were shot, security was beefed up across the transit system.

Police could be seen checking backpacks at some stations, and to show their confidence in subway safety, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and other NYPD officials took the subway to the NYPD graduation Wednesday morning.

Still, many commuters are nervous about riding the subway, and the horrific shooting is raising more questions for straphangers.

Some customers say all the pushings, stabbings, beatings, and shootings make them hesitant to ride.

The shooting on the Manhattan-bound N train was the last thing the city needed in their quest to get people to ride again amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just two months ago, Mayor Eric Adams announced his subway safety plan, which included flooding the system with officers and also having people that could reach out to the mentally ill who may be on the trains or the platforms.

He's now saying that he will again double the number of officers in the subway system, but will it be enough to reassure people?

For months now, the MTA and the city have been trying to convince riders that the subway is safe, but at the same time, there have been reports of violent crime nearly every day.

It is not uncommon for people to hear from their friends and family members that they are not riding the subway right now, that they do not feel safe.

"This is a rarity, but one instance like this is one too many," Governor Kathy Hochul said.

After Tuesday's shooting, it will be even harder for local and state leaders and the MTA to reassure people that the subway is safe.

"New Yorkers have just been through COVID, they've overcome Superstorm Sandy, they've been through the financial crisis, 9/11, they are incredibly strong, but they're also mindful of the need for all of us to team up and increase subway safety," MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said. "(The) governor, Mayor Adams, made a commitment to subway safety before this event."

Just hours after the shooting, Hochul released pictures of herself riding the subway in an effort to show people that it was safe.

RELATED | Extensive search for gunman in Brooklyn subway shootings, what we know so far

However, another problematic aspect is that cameras that could've capture more of the shooting were not working.

"This is a shocking and horrible burst of violence in our transit system," Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano said. "TWU Local 100 officers have responded to the affected stations in Brooklyn and have been in contact with train crews and stations personnel. At this time, it appears that no members were physically hurt. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. This latest emergency illustrates again why we need Station Agents, and fully staffed trains with both a Conductor and a Train Operator on board, to assist with evacuations and communications."

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