Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders have been requesting New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for a more effective police presence in subways and buses in order to deter crime for quite some time now.
There has been a rash of violent crimes throughout the subway system involving homeless individuals, transit workers, and officers, including a slashing spree Friday morning that left four people injured and four MTA employees being assaulted earlier in the month. The most recent stream of crime was Sunday morning between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m in the New York Subway Station, where four violent attacks took place.
Subway crime stats from the New York Police department show 2.23 felony crimes per million riders in March 2021 compared to the 1.47 crime rates per million riders across the year 2019. The MTA unions wrote a letter to Mayor de Blasio that while some weeks crime numbers are up and other weeks the data is better, one thing remains the same – the system does not feel as safe as it used to or as it could be.
“No one should be afraid to use these basic transit services, especially the heroic women and men in our ranks, who have sacrificed so much to keep the city going during one of its darkest hours,” the letter reads.
Mayor Bill de Blasio changed his anti-police stance from last summer and announced that the City will temporarily add 250 officers on special deployment to the subway station force, adding that this will become the largest NYPD transit force in 25 years.
“Now, that’s what the city of New York is doing. That’s what the NYPD is doing. We need the MTA to pull their own weight as well. It is easy to criticize. How about simply contributing and helping achieve the mission together. So over the past 17 months. We haven’t seen what we needed 17 months ago the MTA approved the hiring of hundreds of new MTA police officers, but here we are basically a year and a half later, and they still haven’t filled all those vacancies,” de Blasio said.
Interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg said that the fundamental disagreement between the MTA and the de Blasio administration is how to get here from there and make a safe and secure system for customers. “The mayor’s just saying we’re going to get there eventually like eventually we’ll get to enough, enough riders where we’ll hit that tipping point. I’m saying help us get there. Help me, partner with me to get us there so that the city comes back, and the economy comes back,” she said.
With more than 3,000 NYPD officers in the transit system, de Blasio claims that the force will address concerns regarding spiking crime in the city’s mass transit system. But some transit officials are arguing that the move isn’t enough. According to the NYPD, the boost represents additional shifts, not actual cops. Officers could be offered overtime shifts or be pulled from administrative duties to work the transit system.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye said that the MTA will have to hire an additional 500 of its own cops by the summer but asked for a commitment from City Hall that the patrols will remain dedicated to the transit system as they recover. U.S Rep Nicole Malliotakis also said that de Blasio’s move was a step in the right direction but that he should immediately restore the plainclothes unit and fully refund the NYPD.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the MTA, agreed that crime is the authority’s main problem and that the additional patrols aren’t enough to keep riders safe. “I think we have been under-policed for quite some time. You go back and look at the staffing rate that there was in the subways in, like, the mid-’90s, we’re below that. To the extent the mayor has acknowledged that crime is a problem in the subways, I say ‘Amen,’” he said.
De Blasio said that “anyone who commits an offense on the subways will be found, will be prosecuted, and will be held accountable.” He said this will ensure that New Yorkers are kept safe and that they can get back to the subways to move the recovery.
Between defund the police and no bail releases, De Blasio and Cuomo’s left-wing policies made New York a criminal paradise. What happened to the ‘social workers’ and ‘violence interrupters’ they advocated for all last year while kneeling a knee to the Black Lives Matter movement and ‘woke mob?’ De Blasio and Cuomo wanted to wipe out the NYPD as we know it. The only thing “social justice warriors” have done is increased crime rates in the city and made the transit systems a cesspool of violence.