MANHATTAN, N.Y. — The NYPD and MTA stepped up their police presence in the city’s subway system in an effort to ensure rider safety following a series of violent crimes but even with more officers deployed, two more attacks were reported Tuesday.
Police said two Asian women were assaulted during separate incidents on the subway in Manhattan.
The first attack happened on the northbound A platform at 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem around 7 a.m., according to the NYPD. The 68-year-old woman was punched in the head and refused medical attention at the scene, officials said.
Then around noon, a 71-year-old woman was struck in the face and body while riding an E train near 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, according to police. It wasn’t clear if the victim suffered injuries.
No arrests were made in connection with either incident.
The attacks were the latest in a string of violent crimes plaguing the subway system in recent weeks.
Over the weekend, a man was charged with stabbing four people, two of whom died, in separate attacks along the A line. Police said Rigoberto Lopez, a 21-year-old homeless man, has a history of psychiatric evaluations.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Coalition for the Homeless said, “These devastating attacks are a reminder that failing to offer the dignity and safety of a real home, or at minimum a safe and private room during this historic pandemic, is literally a matter of life and death…”
The NYPD and MTA are stepping up patrols in the subway system in response to the recent crimes. The NYPD deployed 600 officers and the MTA said it would hire 500 additional officers to send out for uniformed patrols.
However, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday that deploying more officers will not solve the problem on its own.
“We’ve encountered this individual multiple times,” he said. “We could throw resources at the problem and put whatever the number of officers into the system is, but there are other issues at play that need to be fixed.”
The MTA still says it still needs more resources from the NYPD.
“Our thoughts are with the victims of these horrible attacks,” said Shams Tarek of the MTA. “The NYPD’s recent increase in Transit Bureau officers into the subway system is a welcome first step. But we continue our call for an additional 1,000 officers to address this recent uptick in crime and to bring transit policing back to the level it was when the NYPD took over responsibility for keeping riders and transit workers safe. We also reiterate the urgent need for increased mental health resources in order to get these vulnerable New Yorkers to appropriate services.”
Hate crimes against members of the Asian community around the country have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. It wasn’t immediately clear if police were investigating the attacks on Tuesday as hate crimes.