The NYPD has reduced the number of cops assigned to full-time patrol in the transit system — even as crime surges on the rails, data provided to The Post show.
The NYPD said there are currently 2,500 members assigned to its Transit Bureau, but the NYC Police Benevolent Association contended that as of last month there were only 1,990 who are “rank-and-file police officers permanently assigned” to the system.
“The ranks of our Transit Bureau – the cops who know the system best – are seriously depleted,” said PBA Union head Patrick Lynch. “The NYPD is trying to cover that with forced overtime and by pulling cops from topside precincts, which are also severely understaffed. The NYPD is playing a shell game with its dwindling staffing and everyone is losing.”
New Yorkers have heard about multiple personnel deployments for two years — but within the system, crime continues to soar. There have been 17 subway homicides alone in that two-year span — nine this year so far. Killings in the New York City subway system since 2020 have skyrocketed to the highest annual levels in 25 years, even amid plummeting ridership numbers.
Transit crime across the city is up 41% this year through Oct. 16 compared to the same time last year, NYPD data show
In February 2021, the NYPD deployed 644 more cops into the NYC subway system amid an outcry about violent crime on the rails, including that of the A-Train Ripper, who fatally knifed two homeless people and injured two others.
Three months later, in May 2021, then-Mayor Bill deBlasio promised to temporarily add 250 police patrols to Big Apple subways after a string of subway slashings across Manhattan left multiple people injured and one person blinded in one eye. It was part of the largest law-enforcement deployment across the system in two decades.
In April, Mayor Adams announced that the city would double the number of NYPD officers on the subway system in the wake of a horrific Brooklyn subway shooting that injured 28 New Yorkers.
“The city bragged about surges of cops but it’s really a Band-Aid,” said one “exhausted” veteran Transit cop assigned to Queens.
“We appreciate the topside cops, but they aren’t spending their whole tour down here. They have them just checking in, or they do a few hours in the station for visibility so that people see a cop and feel safe. But if we want them to actually be safe, we need to get the people who are causing problems out of the system.”
An NYPD spokesman said, “There are approximately 2,500 uniformed members assigned to the Transit Bureau. This includes patrol officers, executives, specialty officers such as K9 handlers, front line supervisors, and uniformed members primarily assigned to administrative functions.”
The NYPD noted that on Oct. 19 it performed 3,369 subway station inspections and 1,675 train runs and train inspections systemwide.
“The added numbers of station inspections and train runs create an omnipresence that riders, at all hours, can see and feel as they make their way to school, work, or home,” the a spokesman said. “The effort announced in January by Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell combines NYPD topside and underground patrol assets to surge into the system in meaningfully proactive ways wherever needs arise.”
Critics were skeptical.
“Something is not working,” said Joseph Giacalone, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor and a former NYPD sergeant. “You’ve [the NYPD] had four homicides in the last two weeks, a 47% jump in crime last week. You had attacks by Green Goblins and a guy dressed as a ninja with a samurai sword. The NYPD needs to re-evaluate their deployment.”