NEW YORK — Another attack in the subway system is reigniting calls for more police on public transit.
Police launched an investigation after a woman was assaulted and robbed in a Manhattan subway station Sunday evening, officials said.
The woman, 23, was walking toward the exit of the L train station at East 14th Street and First Avenue just before 6 p.m. when an unidentified man approached her from behind, authorities said.
Surveillance video shows the suspect suddenly punch the woman in the side of the head, sending her falling to the ground.
The assailant then snatched the victim’s backpack, which contained an Apple MacBook Air laptop, as well as her debit and credit cards, according to police.
This attack comes amid growing concerns about safety in the city’s transit system, especially as the city gets ready to fully reopen.
Interim President Sarah Feinberg says the MTA is doing its part to keep riders safe.
“We have thrown everything we can at this,” she said Tuesday. “We got MTA police out in the system, deep in the subway system I’ve hired security contractors, I’ve ordered thousands of cameras, we are installing them as fast as they come in. I am saying I need the city to meet me halfway.”
The NYPD says overall violent crimes in the subway are down compared to last year. Only Felony assaults are up — 159 incidents this year compared to 132 last year. But ridership is also down.
“Our ridership is down two-thirds, we have a third of our riders are back,” said Feinberg. “With that number of riders, crime should be back down further than it is.”
Hundreds of additional police officers have been added to patrol the subways, but some straphangers advocacy groups believe it’s not enough.
In a statement, Passengers United addressed the crisis.
“Passengers United warns commuters to ride the subway at your own risk overnight because they are not safe,” they said. “Our subway system is in crisis.”
It’s a risk the 23-year-old victim says she continues to take riding the subway.
“I’m always concerned about my safety I have an alarm on my keys I’m always thinking,” she said.