NEW YORK, NY – Crime has been spiraling upward across New York City in the past year, but nowhere is it more evident than on the city’s busses and subway system. On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the problem.
New Yorkers don’t feel safe going out
“Crime is a problem in the MTA. Crime is a problem in New York City generally. Crime is a problem across the nation, predominantly in urban areas. But if we’re going to get the economy back we have to address this problem,” Cuomo said. “You know people don’t talk public safety in terms of economic development, but it is the number one issue. If businesses don’t feel safe, if people don’t feel safe, if your riders don’t feel safe they’re not going to go to a restaurant, I don’t care how many, what we do with curfew, what we do with occupancy, if you don’t feel safe, you’re not going to get on the subway and go to the restaurant so that is a major concern in many areas.”
The MTA is asking for an additional 1,000 workers to bring staffing levels back to where they were in 1995 when the city began tackling the crime wave that lasted through the 1970s and 1980s. During the 1990s violent crime in New York City dropped by 56%, a rate far better than the national average of 28%.
14-hour subway stabbing spree leaves two dead, four others wounded
This past weekend, a 21-year-old Brooklyn man went on a 14-hour stabbing spree that left two dead and four other victims with stab wounds. That incident prompted New York Police Departmetn Commissioner Dermont Shea to move 500 of his officers underground, into the subway system this weekend.
While the MTA reports overall crime is down, violent crimes, felonies, and assaults are on the rise, even as ridership in the network dwindled during the pandemic.
Cuomo cited BLM protests after George Floyd murder as contributing factor in rising crime
“Public safety is a top priority. You want to talk about reopening the economy, you have to talk about public safety. We mandated last year after the George Floyd killing, every locality has to come up with a new public safety plan,” Cuomo said. “It will be different in different parts of the state, but we have 500 jurisdictions that have police departments and I get the tension between the community and the police department and there is no easy answer and there is no one size fits all.”
Cuomo said New Yorkers can’t ignore the tensions between black communities and police departments in the city, saying everyone is going to have to come to the table in agreement if the city wants to start fighting crime and reducing the personal health and safety risk of MTA passengers.
“But you can’t ignore the tension. Ignoring a problem will never solve the problem. That is true in life and that is true in society and that is true in government, so put people at the table, let them vent their issues and they will vent, but then let’s come to a collaborative and a consensus and let’s move on,” Cuomo added.