Subway crime remains major concern, attacks continue ahead of MTA meeting

Local News

Rush hour was busier Monday around the subway system Monday as riders return to their commutes following a year of significantly decreased ridership.

But an increase in crime remains a major concern.

MTA board members will hold their regular monthly meeting Wednesday. Safety and ridership is on the agenda. 

The presentation from NYPD Transit Bureau will include statistics from April. They show a 68% increase in felony assaults. That’s 37 assaults compared to 22 last year. 

Ridership was drastically lower in 2020, although it has been trending up. 

More than 2.3 million subway swipes were recorded on Friday. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the NYPD Transit force is the largest it’s been in 25 years. 

Mental heath and homeless outreach resources are also working in stations. 

MTA spokesman Michael Cortez said customer safety remains a top priority for the agency as it seeks ways to address the rise in crime.

“There is no higher priority for the MTA than the safety and security of our customers. Like other transit systems across the country the MTA has experienced a significant dip in ridership as a result of the pandemic and a spike in crime. We continue to call on the de Blasio Administration to partner with us and do more to address these incidents in the subway and the ongoing mental health crisis in the city,” Cortez said.

But Monday night, another attack was reported.

Police said a man was stabbed during a robbery in Queens on the train or platform of a Lefferts Boulevard A train.

The incident is the latest in a series of concerning crimes in the subway system.

An Asian man was pushed onto the subway tracks in Queens Monday morning, police said. He was standing on the Manhattan-bound F train platform at the 21st Street-Queensbridge station around 7:43 a.m. when he was pushed onto the tracks, according to a department spokesperson. 

The Hate Crimes Task Force launched an investigation into the assault. No arrests had been made, as of around 11 a.m.

Several people, including an NYPD officer, were attacked over the weekend in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

A 23-year-old man was hit in the face with a hammer on a southbound No. 2 train at the Church Street station in an unprovoked assault on Sunday, officials said. The suspect remained on the loose, as of Monday morning.

Earlier on Sunday, the NYPD responded to reports of a man shoving riders onto the trackbed of the southbound platform at the Lenox Avenue and West 135th Street subway station in Manhattan, police said.

When officers arrived, they found 41-year-old Derrick Toms on a bench, but then he got up and allegedly punched a 54-year-old man, officials said. As police tried to arrest Toms, he allegedly punched an officer, knocking off her body camera and glasses.

After he was subdued, Toms was arrested on charges of resisting arrest, assaulting an officer, assault and reckless endangerment, according to the NYPD.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week the NYPD would deploy an additional 250 police officers to the subway system in an effort to deter violent crime. 

“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 had said.

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

If you or someone you know are experiencing anti-Asian hate, click here for resources. Anyone who witnesses an incident can also find out more information on bystander intervention by clicking here. 

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