NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret that riding the subway isn’t always a pleasant experience, but could it be getting worse?
Recent numbers show quality-of-life crimes are up, and as the MTA steps up patrols, the agency is also now calling on the NYPD for stricter enforcement, CBS2’s Reena Roy reports.
Cigarette butts, cups, dirty napkins and all other kinds of trash are just a normal part of a New Yorker’s daily commute.
“The subway kind of smells really bad and there’s litter all over the place,” Bushwick resident Rose Schaer said.
“There’s garbage everywhere,” another commuter said.
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While overall crime on the subway system is down, new numbers from the MTA show quality of life offenses are up 44%.
That includes littering, urinating, smoking, panhandling and fare evasion.
“It’s something that I think most subway riders do want to fix. The homelessness issue, the trash issue, it’s something that we all want taken care of,” one commuter said.
As of August of this year, 64,588 summonses were given out for those low-level crimes, compared to 44,910 during the same time last year.
The MTA is hiring 500 more officers to help tackle the problem.
“The MTA Police Department has been deploying officers to various stations throughout the subway system,” said Owen Monaghan, chief of the MTA Police Department.
Now the state agency is calling on the NYPD to step up to the plate, saying there needs to be more patrolling the subways and more summonses issued for nonviolent crimes.
In a statement, MTA chairman and CEO Patrick Foye says cops “need to be fully empowered to address those quality-of-life issues.”
The NYPD says it stands by its current protocol and it vigorously investigates any incident.
Foye warns it could be come a bigger problem, saying the subways were once referred to as “the canary in the coal mine” for New York City crime.
But CBS2 urban affairs expert Mark Peters says it’s highly unlikely these types of offenses would seep up onto the streets.
“That may be a stretch too far,” he said. “To suggest that it’s a broader societal problem may be a couple of jumps too far.”
In the meantime, riders hope things get better.