NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Every month the NYPD reports crime is going down citywide, but statistics show transit crime on either buses or subways is trending up.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, it’s caused some straphangers to question how they should react if they find themselves on a risky ride.
Video from Tuesday on a crowded D train shows a shouting match between two strangers turn violent. Police say it started after two women bumped into one another. One of them, 40-year-old Anna Lushchinskaya, can be heard yelling racial slurs at the other 24-year-old passenger.
After trading kicks, Lushchinskaya swings at the younger victim with an umbrella and keychain. Cops say the victim suffered lacerations to her face.
You can see several commuters try to intervene in the scuffle, while others record on their phones or opt to keep their heads down. A man police have dubbed a good Samaritan finally stepped in to restrain the alleged aggressor, even pushing Lushchinskaya at one point.
Authorities say he held her at the 36th Street station until officers arrived.
“I never recommend it,” retired NYPD sergeant Joe Giacalone said. “That’s what police are for, but in a desperate situation you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Giacalone commends the man’s actions, while City Comptroller Scott Stringer took to social media to praise the collective response to Lushchinskaya’s tirade.
“Thank you to New Yorkers who stood up and intervened against hate,” Stringer wrote. “You are what’s great about our city.”
While crime is indeed down citywide, the NYPD reports transit crime is up 2.5 percent compared to this time last year. Specifically, assaults are up 4.8 percent and robberies are up 7.6 percent in the city’s transit system.
“People think ‘oh, the other person probably called 911 so I’m gonna sit here and videotape this’,” Giacalone said. “If someone’s getting beaten you have to get involved. Put the phone down and lets do the right thing.”
On Thursday morning, police say a 29-year-old woman was deliberately pushed onto subway tracks by a stranger at Union Square. The NYPD is also still looking for a man they say punched a stranger at a Bronx turnstile several weeks ago, as well as another man who police say followed and then punched a 20-year-old woman last month on a platform in the Rockaways.
Lushchinskaya is charged with felony assault. Police say the victim and good Samaritan were both left with cuts and scratches, but are expected to be alright.