NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Incidents of harassment, groping and assaults on the subway are reported often, and according to NYPD numbers, some subway crimes are increasing.
While the NYPD has said transit felonies are down, crimes like misdemeanor assaults are up.
A few weeks ago, CBS2 reported on the man police were looking for who allegedly groped a 16-year-old at a Midtown subway station.
Last month, 23-year-old Isaiah Thompson, an alleged repeat subway menace, was arrested for pushing an innocent bystander headfirst into a subway car in Brooklyn.
Thompson has a long rap sheet — nearly 20 arrests, which include being charged with exposing himself on a C train at West 14th Street and allegedly pulling a train’s emergency brake, causing massive delays system-wide.
According to NYPD numbers, there were 1,185 transit misdemeanor assaults citywide from Jan. 1 until Nov. 17.
In 2018, for the same period, there were 1,069. That’s a 10.9% increase for the same time frame.
“I don’t always feel safe I’ve had a few things happen to me in the past … Men grabbing me,” one woman said.
“It just feels there’s a vibe down there that’s not as nice as it used to be. And I came here in the ’70s and I remember when it was really bad and I think it’s trending towards that now,” subway rider Michael Towers said.
But plenty of people who spoke to CBSN New York’s Alice Gainer say they don’t have any concerns.
“I feel pretty safe right now. I feel pretty comfortable. I haven’t had any problems,” one woman said.
“I feel safe … No issues,” another woman said.
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But Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano says complaints by transit employees for these types of crimes are up about 40%.
“Getting spit on, getting punched, getting urine thrown on them, lots of different stuff going on,” he said.
Back in September, it was announced that the MTA would be hiring 500 new transit police officers.
“Standing by a station agent or token booth, it doesn’t help what’s going on in the subway system,” Utano said.
He says he hopes that the officers being added will be in uniform and extremely visible everywhere.
All the MTA would say is that safety is a top priority and that the NYPD’s numbers reflect the continued need to protect employees and millions of customers.