Renewed push to make NYC subways and streets safer

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022
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There is a renewed push to make the streets and subways in New York City safer.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- There is a renewed push to make the streets and subways in New York City safer.

It comes amid a spike in crime in the city's subway system, including last week's mass shooting in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that left more than two dozen people injured.

Crime is going up as ridership is going down, with subway ridership currently just 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell says there have been 280,000 inspections in the subway since the start of this year, but the crime levels continue to rise across the five boroughs -- up 30% from this time last year. Shootings are up 16%.

Mayor Eric Adams says more needs to be done to stop the flow of illegal guns, including untraceable ghost guns, into the city.

"Many of these generational social problems have become the pipeline to violence," Adams said on ABC's This Week. "The only thing beating that pipeline is the pipeline of guns coming into the inner cities."

The mayor and police commissioner addressed subway safety concerns over the weekend, after that mass shooting on a crowded subway train Tuesday in Sunset Park.

Ten people were shot and a total of 29 people hurt, and 62-year-old Frank James was arrested the next day and is being held without bond.

"There were a number of avenues we pursued to try to locate Mr. James," Commissioner Sewell said on Sunday. "We disseminated his picture - made the strategic decision to disseminate his picture. We had a number of people looking for him, hundreds of detectives looking for him. One of the key factors, our force multiplier - which are the eyes and ears of New Yorkers."

Some riders tell Eyewitness News the Brooklyn subway shooting won't stop them from returning.

"I'm not really fearful to be riding on the subway at all, to be honest," Jesse Geoghan said.

"I feel just as safe as I did before the 36th street bombing slash shooting," Yasmin Chaiep said. "I think it was a one time kind of thing."

Others, though, acknowledge the impact increased crime is having.

"It's getting hard out here with people," Bruce Lawhorn said. "You can get scared riding the train because you got people running up on you and beating you up for no reason. Just a few minutes ago, a guy on the corner that panhandles and dances, a guy walked up and punched him in the head and broke his face."

New Yorkers held another candlelight vigil near the scene of last week's subway shooting in Sunset Park.

It was billed as a rally for gun control and for an end to gun violence.

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