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MTA Sees Drop In Crime After Police Presence Increased On City Subways

Commuters step off the subway (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Commuters step off the subway (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York Police Department’s increased efforts to keep subway riders safe is proving effective.

In January, the department stepped up patrols on city subways by placing a uniformed officer on every overnight train in the Bronx on the weekends.

The effort came following a spike in early-morning robberies targeting pricey hand-held electronic devices, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“In the Bronx, there have been only six major felonies on the 2, 4 and 6 lines and no crimes on the D and 5 lines during the early weekend hours,” said Transit Bureau Chief Joseph Fox.

The program extended into Queens to the No. 7 and A lines following the success in the Bronx.

“This strategy has proven to be effective and will be continued,” Fox said, adding that an increased police presence led to a nearly 5 percent drop in felony crime on the subway in a 28-day period.

This past month, 108 new Transit Bureau officers have made 170 arrests, the MTA said.

Most straphangers are pleased with the beefed-up enforcement.

“It’s a good thing,” one rider said. “If it reduces crime I’m all for it.”

“If you see a cop there’s less of a chance of somebody doing anything,” another rider said.

Some straphangers believe having one officer on the overnight subway trains isn’t enough.

“If I know what car he’s in, I’d definitely go to that car because God forbid something happens to me in another car he’s not going to know, he’s in another car, he can’t hear,” one woman said.

The MTA and NYPD are also taking other anti-crime efforts, such as sending officers to various stations to hand out crime prevention materials to passengers.

Meanwhile, the MTA is adding 60 to 70 people to its “Eagle Team” in an effort to crack down on fare evaders on express buses.

The agency claims it loses as much as $100 million a year because of fare beaters.