NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Graffiti sprayed on subway trains this week has sparked a nasty war of words between former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the MTA.
The discovery of a paint-covered E train Wednesday, exclusively reported by CBS2 the same day, is stirring up finger-pointing between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Police Department.
Bratton tweeted about the graffiti-covered trains, at least five cases since June, calling the situation “outrageous.”
This is outrageous. Where is the security in these train yards and why is the MTA running these cars through the system giving these graffiti clowns the attention they crave. Heads need to roll at the @MTA. What if these were terrorists and not nitwits? https://t.co/ZZmkbKSbTZ
— Bill Bratton (@CommissBratton) January 30, 2020
He asks “where is the security” and why are trains visible to the public in a way that gives “these graffiti clowns the attention they crave”?
He wrote, “Heads need to roll at the MTA. What if these were terrorists and not nitwits?”
Some riders agree.
“It’s pretty cool but it’s dangerous,” one woman said.
“That takes a lot of time so they could do other stuff in that same amount of time,” another woman said.
The MTA has a red-hot, irritated response to Bratton, saying that “inaccurate claims like these are irresponsible.”
Bratton’s tweet suggested the vandalism happened in rail yards when it happened in tunnels, where NYPD has jurisdiction. The trains were visible to the public only as they were being sent to yards for clean-up.
Now, the NYPD confirms it is responsible for the tunnels and extra resources are being deployed in them.
With each case, concern grows about the areas where trains are often scored, that they are soft targets.
Transportation Expert Carl Berkowitz wonders why not also add many more cameras to the tunnels.
“When they identify somebody crossing the path of the camera, it will notify the train control that hey, somebody’s intruding,” he said.
New York’s governor is aware of this.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin told Gov. Andrew Cuomo, “It’s covered with graffiti end to end, top to bottom. Is there anything about security there that concerns you?”
“Yeah, it’s good question. I don’t know, but I will check,” Cuomo said.
Bratton compared the situation now to the graffiti-rich bygone decades of the ’70s and ’80s, warning New Yorkers, wake up before you lose your city once again to rising crime and disorder.