May 17, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The NYPD will be adding 250 extra cops to patrol the subway system—which will result in the network having the largest police presence in more than 25 years, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
The additional cops will bring the total number of officers securing the subways to 3,250, and follows an uptick in violent crimes within the system. Just this weekend, five straphangers were slashed on trains in Manhattan.
“Today 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.
The announcement also comes as 24/7 subway service resumed today after more than a year of overnight closures due to COVID-19 and low ridership.
The 250 additional officers brings the total number of officers within the subway system to the highest level in more than two decades, according to the mayor.
“We’re going to take officers and put them in the right places in the subways at the right time, particularly at peak times of ridership,” de Blasio said.
He also said that the system will get safer as ridership increases.
Officials with the MTA — which is controlled by the state — have repeatedly criticized de Blasio for the uptick in subway crime. They have demanded more cops in the system for months.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye has a clear conflict when he said that the role of hundreds of new officers would be other than deterring fare beaters. Didn’t he previously announce a crack down on fare beaters as a method to significantly reduce the loss of several hundred million in annual pre-COVID-19 revenue losses attributed to a growing number of riders who would not pay their fare. Is this not an invitation for more people to ride for free, thus adding to the MTA’s financial deficit?
While Mayor Bill de Blasio & the MTA fought over the level of police, it was interesting that no one asked Governor Cuomo to increase the number of State Troopers assigned to NYC. They could be assigned to patrol Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica Station & adjacent subway stations. This would free up both NYC & MTA police to patrol many of the 467 of 471 other subway stations and subway trains.
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus, NYC DOT Staten Island Ferry along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ).