NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton are taking action following recent slashing incidents on the subways.
For weeks, the mayor and police commissioner have been on the defensive about the increase in slashing and stabbing incidents across the city, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“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.”
When asked by Kramer how he plans to address concerns regarding street attacks, de blasio said when NYPD sees a problem area, they put more personnel to make sure resources are there to protect New Yorkers.
Now, realizing that people are still worried, and that the slashings have continued, they’ve taken action putting more cops on the subways at night, Kramer reported.
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.
1010 WINS has also learned from sources that train inspections will increase from about 10 to 15 times a day, to 40. Teams will also fan out from Times Square or mid-Manhattan stations into the outer boroughs, sources told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.
Teams involving community affairs officers will also be at strategic subway stops, talking to commuters and showing a presence, sources said.
Transit police and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have also figured out a way to have radios work below and above ground, and will now be able to communicate with each other, sources said.
De Blasio and Bratton are expected to officially unveil the plan at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
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.
“At night I have to come home at 9:30, sometimes 10, and sometimes I’m really scared,” Martha, from St. Albans, Queens, told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
“The police make me feel safer,” another subway rider said.
“People feel more protected and of course those doing the damage will feel they will get caught,” said Baychester resident Sharilyn Garcia.
“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.
In the most recent incident, a 60-year-old man was slashed across the face at the 57th Street and 7th Avenue subway station in Midtown last Friday.
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.