NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Increased attacks on the subway have some riders fearing their commute.
The NYPD is promising to put more officers in subway stations, and on Tuesday CBS2’s Marcia Kramer got a first hand look at their safety strategy.
An unhinged rider, chased a subway conductor into a token booth early Monday and threatened to hurt him.
“I’m going to knock you out. I’m going to knock you out,” the rider is heard saying on video.
A 31-year-old restaurant worker was slashed in the mouth while with his family early Monday morning on the 116th Street subway platform.
“It’s getting more dangerous. You can’t even take the subway now,” the victim’s daughter said.
A homeless man was seen pushing his shopping cart through the Columbus Circle platform on Tuesday.
All are signs of a subway system that scares people, a system that keeps them away from using mass transit.
Add to that the latest crime stats which say felonious assaults were up 140% last week — 12 compared to five in 2020 — and up 81% for the month — 40 as opposed 22 at this point last year.
“We’re at such a critical moment for the recovery of the city, right? This is the moment where transit has to come back,” Feinberg said.
But it’s a tale of two realities — riders on one side, the mayor on the other. He has said subways are safe and that the push for more cops is a political ploy by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“She’s playing out a political strategy dictated by the governor for his own political needs,” de Blasio said.
“It’s insulting, frankly, so that is not what I do and that is not my job and I have not been given instructions on this,” Feinberg said.
Meanwhile, transit police are promising more visibility.
“The main thing is more cops riding trains, more cops on platforms, and we’re doing that,” said Inspector Steven Hill, the commanding officer of Transit Borough Manhattan.
The transit police are rolling out strategies like one called TOMS — Transit Order Maintenance — where cops check trains as they enter the station to make sure everything is okay.
The big question is how safe any of these measures will make people feel.
“Crime is up and people don’t feel safe,” rider Martina Garcia said.
Another rider said the subways are, “not as safe as it used to be before the pandemic.”
“If there would be more police presence people would feel more safe,” another person said.
“I think we can make the job done with the cops that we have,” Inspector Hill said.
The only way to find out is to see if, and when, ridership goes up.