NEW YORK (PIX11) — MTA President Richard Davey and NYPD Acting Chief of Transit Michael Kemper spent hours answering questions Monday during a joint City Council committee meeting about subway safety.

Kemper touted some promising numbers about subway safety, but he acknowledged that the problem is far from being solved.

“In the last five weeks in the subway system, the transit bureau has reduced crime five consecutive weeks,” said Kemper.

Kemper reported that major subway crime is down nearly 13% from November 2021 to November 2022, and subway crime is down 25.7% since 1,200 additional officers were injected into the system daily.

Subway arrests are also up 46%. But Kemper pointed to a major problem with fare evasion.

“It’s a free for all,” said Kemper. “A lot of people aren’t paying. I was in full uniform, and people were going through the turnstile without paying. People were asking me to help them go through without paying, hold the door for me, and giving me attitude when I closed the door.”

Davey caught heat during the meeting for his handling of fare evasion. According to Davey, the agency is spending $1 million per month to station roughly 200 unarmed security guards outside subway exit doors and turnstiles, as a means to deter fare evasion. Davey defended the decision and said he very much believes it is a wise use of taxpayer dollars.

The MTA is also adding cameras to every subway car and lobbying Albany to expand the number of crimes eligible for a transit ban.

Both the MTA and NYPD acknowledge that, regardless of statistics, how riders feel is of critical importance.

“Our strategy has been more visibility, more coverage, and more public engagement,” said Kemper.

“We have to solve this problem – this issue – of perception and try to beat back the crime we do have in our system because subways need to be safe and they need to feel safe,” said Davey.

Davey said the MTA has also increased its focus to end-of-the-line stations, to target those in need of essential services. He said the MTA has made 800 shelter placements in the last nine months.