NEW YORK - New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams 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.
The new measures were announced during a press conference Saturday 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 reiterated that major index crime on the subway is down compared to 2017, 2018, and 2019, but said that what is most important is the perception of everyday New Yorkers.
Mayor Adams: 'If New Yorkers don't feel safe, we are failing'
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new effort to combat crime on the city's subways.
"We can tell New Yorkers all the time that we have decreased crime in certain areas, but if New Yorkers don't feel safe, we are failing, and we are not going to take that out of our equation," Adams said.
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."
During an interview with Good Day New York on Friday, Adams suggested that New Yorkers should take off their headphones and put away their phones to stay aware while riding the subway.
"We need people to be safe on the subway system and feel safe on the subway system," Adams said Saturday.