What to Know
- Hochul and Adams expect to fill 1,200 additional overtime shifts every day to boost the presence of uniformed officers on platforms and trains
- Their weekend announcement also called for two new in-patient psychiatric facilities to aid people experiencing serious mental health issues.
- The installation of security cameras is among the priorities — the governor expects at least 750 to be installed inside subway cars every month; the entire fleet should be done by late 2024
Faced with mounting pressure over a recent spate of subway violence, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a crime fighting plan Saturday they hope will address problems in the New York City transit system.
The officials plan to greenlight more than a thousand overtime shifts every day designed specifically to increase the number of uniformed officers on patrol on platforms and trains. Funding for additional 1,200 shifts would account for 10,000 more patrol hours each day. Their weekend announcement also called for two new in-patient psychiatric facilities to aid people experiencing serious mental health issues.
Hochul said part of the plan includes MTA police focusing resources on stations linked to the four major commuter rail hubs — Penn Station, Grand Central, Atlantic Terminal, and Jamaica Station — a move, in turn, that allows NYPD officers to increase coverage across the system.
“We have a crime fighting strategy. We’ve leaned into proven law enforcement strategies, investing in new technologies that’ll make a difference, and we’re providing New Yorkers the support and the help they need,” the governor said.
“Cops, Cameras, Care,” as Hochul called the series of initiatives, includes expanded mental health training previously given to New York State Police and first responders in crisis intervention. The state training will now be provided to police and other city first responders specifically involved in the transport of people needing psychiatric evaluation.
During their afternoon announcement, the electeds made note to acknowledge the perception of violence plaguing public transit. City leaders say there has been a drop in crime, but the nine homicides within the MTA this year has created a boiling over of frustration they said must be addressed head-on.
“We must address both the perception and reality of safety, and the expanded partnership we are announcing today with Governor Hochul will do just that, while building off the successes of our Subway Safety Plan. The bottom line is that riders will see more officers in the system, and so will those thinking of breaking the law,” Adams said.
Sending scores of additional officers into the transit system is a method already in the mayor’s toolkit. His subway safety plan announced earlier in the year deployed additional cops after the start of his administration.
The two new psychiatric facilities, the first of which is scheduled to be open by Nov. 1, will each hold 25 inpatient units. The second is expected to open early in 2023.
The state’s Office of Mental Health will oversee the treatment program designed to aid people 18 and older who are experiencing homelessness and have severe mental illnesses, Hochul explained.
Within the new OMH assignment, a step-down program will be established to help patients transition to independent geared living settings.
The installation of security cameras is among the plan’s top priorities — the governor expects at least 750 to be installed inside subway cars every month; the entire fleet should be done by late 2024. Already, the governor noted, more than 200 cameras have been added to cars since her announcement last month.
Conductors will also start announcing police presence when officers are on platforms and trains in an effort to deter crime.
Criticisms came quick from the Police Benevolent Association, whose president called the new plan “unsustainable.”
“Our city must immediately boost pay and improve working conditions in order to recruit and retain enough police officers. That is the only way to provide real safety in the subway, rather than the illusion of ‘omnipresence,'” President Pat Lynch said.
Saturday’s announcement also fell on day 1 of the mayor’s weekend crime summit convened at Gracie Mansion. With major felonies up 31 percent, Adams held a meeting of city leaders with a goal of finding long-term solutions.
District attorneys from the five boroughs, defense lawyers and top NYPD brass were among those invited to speak with the mayor over four hours Saturday. Some of those leaving the session said it was filled with lively discussion and debate, but gave no specifics.