NYPD adds 644 police to transit bureau as MTA calls for more assistance

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan — “See something, say something” is the message around the city and in the transit system.

NYPD is responsible for patrolling subway cars, stations and platforms.

Hundreds of new uniformed officers have recently been assigned to the beat. More were added on Tuesday after two separate attacks. Over the weekend, there were multiple fatal stabbings.

Two more women were assaulted on Tuesday.

NYPD says deployments are fluid and more officers could be added and moved to assignments.

The MTA wants 1,000 new officers to bring transit policing back to the level it was in the 1990s.

“We also reiterate the urgent need for increased mental health resources in order to get these vulnerable New Yorkers to appropriate services,” said MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek.

Interim MTA NYC Transit President Sarah Feinberg suggests a way to help address what’s happening in the system.

“For the last few years, we have been asking the city to enter into the 311 system the subway stations,” she said.

Riders know subway lines and station names. Specific location identification aids the 311 process.

A rider could be reporting a station condition or a concern for someone. Feinberg says a caller may be told to dial 911 instead when a non-law enforcement resource may be more equipped.

“So we don’t reach a point where someone needed an intervention and didn’t get one and then we have an incident where someone gets hurt,” she said

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea appeared on the PIX11 Morning News Tuesday and called for coordination.

“We could throw resources at a problem. There are other issues at play that need to be fixed. We can’t arrest people over and over,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Coalition for the Homeless called the attacks “devastating” and that they all were “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.”

A spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio said the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, which operates the call center and data hub, is “actively working” with the MTA to add subway station into the NYC 311 system.

MTA operates a helpline called 511 to handle concerns and questions about schedules. It is not staffed 24 hours a day.

NYC 311 was created in 2003. It handles millions of calls each year and is designed to connect callers with resources and information. It also is a database that can be used to track complaints and issues. In 2017, NYC spent about $20 million to upgrade 311 and install supercomputers.

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