NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are looking for two men involved in a dispute that ended with a slashing at a Bronx subway station.

At 5:35 p.m. on February 19, two men got into an argument with a 23-year-old male straphanger on the northbound 2 and 5 train platform at the East 149th Street station.

One of the men brandished a sharp object and stabbed the victim in the abdomen, authorities said. The man was taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released.

The first suspect has been described as Hispanic, approximately 45-years-old, 5’7″ and weighing 190-lbs. He was wearing a black skull cap, a gray waist length jacket, eye glasses, and was carrying a cane.

The second suspect was also Hispanic. He was between 5’8″ and 5’11” and weighed between 150 and 165-lbs. He was wearing a black skull cap, a black waist length jacket, and black jeans.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have been on the defensive over an increase in slashings and stabbings around the city.

“Shooting and murders are down so you’ve lost interest in them, when was the last time any of your reported on that?” Bratton asked reporters last month. “If it bleeds, it leads.”

“I fully understand many New Yorkers are concerned,” de Blasio said. “I think what people are very concerned about is could something happen to them randomly.”

The mayor said that NYPD resources and personnel were being utilized to protect New Yorkers on the subway.

The plan, similar to the Operation All Out program used to reduce murders and shootings, has been in effect for several weeks, sources said.

It puts more officers on the trains during the 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. tour and the midnight to 8 a.m. tour; sends Strategic Response teams to targeted stations; and officers assigned above ground are asked to stop into subway stations in their command and walk the platforms, Kramer reported.

The number of slashings in New York City has jumped more than 20 percent so far this year compared with the same period last year, and many people – particularly subway riders – said they no longer feel safe.

“I do believe it’ll make a difference because we all need protection from everyone getting slashed out here,” Staten Island resident Shaquille Greene said.

There have been 645 incidents since Jan. 1, compared with 536 for the same period last year. In the transit system alone, there have been 15 slashings this year, compared to 10 for the same period last year.

According to a recent NY1/Baruch College citywide poll, 51 percent of New Yorkers said they are now afraid to ride the subway at night.

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