From the Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City and state officials on Saturday announced new efforts to curb violence and other crimes on the city’s subway system, including increased police patrols, cameras and mental health help for those in need.
Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, and other officials disclosed the new measures in the wake of more disturbing attacks in the system, including the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy on an A train in Queens earlier this month and the death of a man pushed in front of another Queens train during a dispute on Monday.
Adams said that while crime in the city is down 4% since 2019, and down 17% from 10 years ago, many in the public don’t feel safer. He said the new efforts complement the subway safety plan he announced at the beginning of the year.
“We can give you stats all day,” he said. “The question is, how do New Yorkers feel? We must match the actual impacts with how New Yorkers feel on the streets and in the subway system.”
Adams and Hochul said police with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be taking primary responsibility for patrolling subway stations adjacent and linked to the four major commuter rail hubs — Penn Station and Grand Central Station in Manhattan, Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Sutphin-Archer Station in Queens. That will free up about 100 New York Police Department officers and allow for increased patrols at additional subway stations, they said.
Hochul said the state will provide funds for additional police overtime pay. The New York Police Department plans to increase the police presence in the subway system by adding 1,200 overtime shifts per day, or about 10,000 overtime hours daily.
The officials said that will allow NYPD officers to patrol platforms in at least 300 stations during peak hours and transit officers to ride hundreds of additional trains per day, also during peak hours.
Hochul said the state also will help to open two new units at psychiatric care centers, with 50 total beds, to help people on the streets and in the subway system who are experiencing homelessness and severe mental illness.
The MTA also will have conductors announce to riders when they are entering stations with police officers present.
Patrick Lynch, president of the City of New York Police Benevolent Association, the union representing rank-and-file officers, in a statement Saturday called the plan to add overtime shifts “unsustainable.”
“We have 12.45% fewer rank-and-file cops permanently assigned to the subways than we did in 2020,” he said. “The increased workload is crushing the cops who remain. The answer is not to squeeze them for more forced OT. Our city must immediately boost pay and improve working conditions in order to recruit and retain enough police officers.”
Last month, Hochul announced that the MTA had received about $5.5 million in state and federal funding to purchase and install security cameras on all of the city’s nearly 6,400 subway cars. The installation is expected to be completed sometime in 2025. The subway system already has more than 10,000 existing security cameras in its 472 stations.