NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the city transit system is beset by a horrifying spike in violent crimes, a dispute has broken out between the Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over how many cops it will take to keep riders safe.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, the NYPD on Tuesday demonstrated a show of force at the Union Square subway station, something called a “train order maintenance sweep,” to show the department is taking the recent nightmare spike in subway violence seriously.READ MORE: New York City Subway Service Hours Expanding; Shutdown For Cleaning Will Soon Be 2 a.m. - 4 a.m.
“This surge was already in the works prior to the unfortunate events,” Chief of Transit Kathleen O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly was referring to the most recent horrifying incident — a homeless man confessing to a deadly stabbing spray on the “A” train. Two men survived, while one man and 44-year-old Claudine Roberts died.
She said an additional 644 Cops — 144 more than originally promised — will be added to transit patrols. O’Reilly said that includes 313 of the officers coming from Patrol Services dedicated to 68 stations.
The MTA said that number is woefully short. Chairman Pat Foye is demanding 1,000 more above and beyond the recent surge to keep a promise of patrol strength made in 1995.
“We feel strongly about the request to provide a safe and secure environment,” Foye said.
But when Kramer asked Mayor de Blasio about the MTA request, he made it clear it’s just not happening. He’s content with the current numbers.
“I feel very confident. The NYPD believes this will be the difference maker,” de Blasio said.READ MORE: Prosecutors Say Subway Stabbing Spree Suspect Rigoberto Lopez Confesses, Ordered Held Without Bail
But at the Inwood subway station, where one of the stabling incidents occurred, the was a cry for more cops.
“At night it’s really dangerous around here. There’s a lot of homeless people acting crazy,” Yesica Martinez said.
“We need police in our city and when people are scared they call the police. Right now, we’re going through a pandemic. Police are necessary no matter what happens,” another person said.
“The more police there are, the safer we all feel,” another person added.
Meanwhile, the mayor was forced to admit that a much ballyhooed program announced by first lady Chirlane McRay last November to change how the city deals with 911 calls has not gotten off the ground. The program is supposed to send mental health professionals instead of cops to certain calls.
“There are a few things that have to be done to finalize it,” de Blasio said.
In addition to the transit cops, there are also about 900 MTA cops to protect the commuter rails.MORE NEWS: Famous New Yorkers Voice New Subway Safety Reminders
CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report