NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD is set to deploy hundreds more officers into the New York City transit system amid an ongoing surge of violent crimes in the subways, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We’re announcing an additional 250 officers on a special deployment, on top of the previous 500, on top of the previous 2,500,” de Blasio said Monday at his daily briefing.
According to the mayor, this new surge of cops will make the current total NYPD transit deployment the largest in over 20 years.
“We’re going to take the officers and put them at the right places in the subways at the right time, particularly at peak times of ridership,” the mayor said.
The mayor said the city will continue to scale up resources for mental health outreach on streets and in subways. Some additional funding is included in the preliminary budget.
The news comes as 24/7 subway service has resumed in the city and as more New Yorkers are taking public transit than anytime since the peak of the pandemic. The subway enacted overnight closures just over a year ago.
Before the pandemic, the MTA said ridership was at 5.4 million a day, during the pandemic it went as low as 300-thousand daily, and it is currently at about 2.1 million.
“They don’t buy into a culture of fear,” de Blasio said Monday. “But we need everyone to be safe. We need to look at the perception and reality of safety.”
Just last week, MTA CEO and Chairman Pat Foye told the PIX11 Morning News the agency wanted the NYPD to send another 600 officers into the transit system to address safety concerns.
The MTA and the mayor have been in a war of words over subway safety for weeks now, with de Blasio continuing to assure New Yorkers that subways are safe, despite a rise in assaults.
When asked what changed his mind about giving the MTA more cops, the mayor said, “We have more officers. We just graduated 850 more officers, 600 more coming in June, which will allow us to put more officers where we need them.”
MTA officials want assurances from City Hall that NYPD will continue the deployments and mental health outreach to people in crisis on trains and buses.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye was asked why he believed the additional officers were added.
“It was the righteousness of our cause,” he said.
“We will take the mayor at his word,” said Interim NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg.
Feinberg spoke with PIX11 Monday morning about subway safety, her back and forth with the mayor and subways resuming 24/7 service:
Undercover officers have been added to the transit beat; uniformed officers will walk platforms and the trains.
Friday marked another record at the turnstile, with more than 2,269,000 swipes on the subway.
Transit and tourism are key indications of the city’s return to normalcy.
Statue City Cruises runs tours of to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Rafael Abreu, the group’s vice president for sales and marketing, said attendance has been increasing, especially from people driving to the city.
“This weekend, we saw 40% [of the normal total] and hope for 50% moving ahead,” he said.
The boats are allowed to carry 75% capacity. Passengers can board in Lower Manhattan. The New Jersey dock for the statue cruises opens May 29.
Other restrictions will continue to ease this month in New York and New Jersey. The indoor dining curfew is set to end in New York on May 31.