NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As crime continues to spike underground, an internal Metropolitan Transportation Authority study reveals there is very little police presence at most subway stations.
An MTA conductor was recently punched in the face at the 96th Street and Broadway station. A man was pushed onto the tracks at the 21st Street-Queensbridge station, and another man was shot in a Bronx subway station during a robbery.READ MORE: NYPD: Suspect At Large After Shoving Asian Man Onto Subway Tracks In Queens
As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported, those are just a few of the crimes that have some riders on edge.
“More people out there doing outrageous crimes on the subway. Nowadays, out of control,” rider Sixco Cartagena said.
“I think we need more services for the mentally ill. That’s the answer,” another rider added.
“There just isn’t enough cops to patrol the subway system, so we need to carry the underground,” said Charlton D’Souza, the president of Passengers United.
Transit advocates and subway riders who have been worried about what’s going on with security in the subway, finally got some answers from the NYPD on Wednesday.
“We have surged over 1,100 officers. That’s above and beyond what our daily number is in transit,” Transit Chief Kathleen O’Reilly said.
That average number of NYPD cops is normally 1,450 officers daily. Added together, right now there are 2,600 on patrol.
“It helps us to just understand, you know, where the police are and how often they are being seen,” NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg said.READ MORE: Police: 2 Shot During Attempted Robbery At Bronx Subway Station
For weeks, the MTA and city had been debating the police presence on trains and platforms. Not satisfied with the police presence in the subway, the transit agency performed its own review, visiting more than 2,900 stations from May 15 to 24.
MTA data shows police were visible, on average, at only 14% of stations. On some days, the agency found cops were in as few as 4%.
NYPD statistics show there have been 210 felony assaults in transit so far this year — a 43% increase from 147 last year.
“There have been too many disturbing incidents recently, including several disgusting attacks on employees, that we simply cannot tolerate,” MTA CEO Pat Foye said at the MTA board meeting Wednesday. “Our system can and should be even safer. To make that happen, we need resources from the city.”
“Police presence doesn’t necessarily make me feel safer,” one rider said. “So I’m good the way it is.”
“I don’t know if the police are going to make me feel safer, but I definitely think increased vigilance, increased awareness of what’s happening,” another rider added.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke about subway crime Wednesday, referencing the MTA survey.
“We have a major problem in the subway system. The MTA did a report that the number of police on trains in the subway station is de minimis. New Yorkers don’t feel safe. You know why they don’t feel safe? Because the crime rate is up. It’s not that they are being neurotic or overly sensitive, they’re right. They are right,” he said. “Well, ‘the answer is more police.’ No, the answer is you have to reform the policing, the public safety function, in a way that restores trust with the community. It is a relationship issue.”MORE NEWS: Police Trying To Identify Man Accused Of Grabbing Woman's Chest At Manhattan Subway Station
Last year, the MTA hired 100 private security guards. This week, the agency confirmed it would spend an additional $2 million a month to double the number of guards to 200 to help control crime.