Breaking Down Surge in Violence – NBC New York

Every day it seems there’s another violent attack on a subway or bus in New York City, a crime wave that has set many residents on edge — and one that has occurred despite Mayor Eric Adams’ pledge to crack down and flood transit with police officers.

Just Wednesday morning, police said a 57-year-old man was slashed in the arm and pepper-sprayed for refusing to give money to a panhandler while riding a northbound 1 train near Columbus Circle. Police also released new video showing a group of teens wanted for attacking a 13-year-old boy on an F train in Brooklyn, as investigators said the group repeatedly punched the victim in the head while stealing his backpack and cellphone.

Whether it’s a mass shooting on a train, bizarre attackers dressed in green bodysuits going after ridersor a string of random knife attacksone of which turned deadly — transit crime has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. In fact, statistics show that crime on subways and buses is up more than 41 percent in 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021.

Despite the vast majority of the nearly 500 subway stations, and thousands of trains, remaining crime-free most days, riders say that with everything that has gone down, their vigilance is up. Way up.

“Always keep an eye out, second guess who’s on this train with you and sitting in the back,” said subway rider Felix Prabhaker.

MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said that feeling is a formidable obstacle for the transit agency to overcome.

“One of the challenges is the customer sense of safety. Which is really important, our customers have to feel safe,” he told NBC New York.

He also added that perception is key. Take the crime statistic: Even if raw crime numbers show that the 1,700 crimes in 2022 are about 500 more than last year, Lieber said it’s important to note that it is mostly in minor categories.

“What’s frustrating is, numerically, we have fewer bad crimes than ever before. But some of them are so high-profile, and so heart breaking,” Lieber said.

A non-profit group supporting mass transit said what’s most important is that riders should feel safe, and as of now, many do not.

“Subways should be safe and welcoming for anyone who’s here — unfortunately we are not there yet,” said Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance.

Questions remain after an alleged subway stabber was arrested by cops two days after attacking a father on his way home from work. News 4’s Adam Harding reports.

While the surge in crime is impossible to ignore, the fact is that riders have steadily been returning to the subway system.

The February 2020 pre-pandemic high of 5.5 million daily riders quickly sunk to the microscopic April 2020 total of 200,000 daily commuters. Numbers began showing marked improvement in 2021, as August numbers from that year show a daily average of 2.4 million. Those numbers are up to 3.6 million a day as of Tuesday, and 4 million daily riders is well within reach.

But in order to get there, Lieber said it will depend on whether riders feel safe.

“Cops have to be more visible. Communicate their presence so riders know they’re being protected,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *