Nicole Robinson waited for her uptown train Thursday night, 16 feet from the edge of the platform. And she wasn’t alone.
“I don’t feel safe anymore. I really don’t feel safe. I would rather take the bus for two hours, versus taking the train for 45 minutes,” subway rider Nicole Robinson said.
Despite the NYPD’s stepped-up enforcement, many New Yorkers are still deeply worried about crime, both in the subways and on the streets.
Last month, overall crime in New York went up 59% over the same period in 2021.
Crime is being led by felony assault, up 22%, and robbery, up 56%. Grand larceny jumped by 79% and auto theft more than doubled.
A child punched in the head in Times Square, a woman in Queens assaulted with a hammer, and Christina Lee, murdered in Chinatown. All of the incidents were random, senseless and unprovoked attacks.
Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce says it’s alarming.
“We’re in different times, now. This is not a spike. It’s not a trend. We’re in a crime surge right now,” Boyce said.
Chief Boyce credits officers for making arrests but blames prosecutors and judges for downgrading crimes.
“They’re downgrading crimes to misdemeanor status and then letting them out,” he said. “You can’t hold anybody under the bail reform laws for misdemeanors.”
But Boyce and other experts stress there are other factors. The city’s inability to manage the crisis of homelessness and mental illness has made the streets and the trains less safe.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams promised last month to turn it around. And while transit crime soared by 73%, arrests in transit went up 64% just last week.
“Nothing happens overnight in New York. But I think with the proper resources, yeah, I think it’s a possibility,” said subway rider Peter Brill when asked if crime could turn around.
The number of shootings skyrocketed in January, but last month it leveled-off.
That needs to happen in the transit system before most New Yorkers begin to feel safer.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.