NY tightens security in subways as crimes rise

2024-03-08 09:40:53China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday she is sending a force of nearly 1,000 personnel into New York City's subway system to conduct bag checks for weapons and "rid our subways of people who commit crimes".

The additional security — comprising 750 National Guard troops, state police and transit police officers — was expected to begin appearing in the subway system by Wednesday's evening rush hour, and full deployment is likely to be completed by the weekend, officials say. The checks will be set up at the busiest locations in the city.

Hochul said that if riders are stopped, they will have to consent to a bag check to enter the station. While they can refuse, they will be barred from entering if they do so.

Police in New York have long conducted random bag checks at subway entrances, though passengers are free to refuse and leave the station.

"Brazen heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated," Hochul said in announcing the move at a news conference on Wednesday, referring to a number of recent high-profile assaults.

Less than two hours after she made the announcement, a female conductor on a train said she was hit with a glass bottle as the train was leaving a station in the Bronx. The man who hit her fled and no arrests had yet been made, the police said. The conductor was in a stable condition.

Last week, a subway conductor was slashed in the neck when he stuck his head out of the cabin window during a stop at a station in Brooklyn. A doctor on the train treated him and the conductor received 34 stitches before being discharged from the hospital.

Three homicides have taken place since January and several brutal assaults have put the spotlight on safety in the nation's largest transit system.

The New York Police Department recorded 97 assaults in the subway system this year as of Sunday, 13 more than in the same period for 2023.

Incidents such as grand larcenies, felony assaults and robberies have also skyrocketed.

The governor's announcement on the increased patrols drew outrage from civil libertarians, who called the move an overreach that would infringe on the rights of commuters.

"Deploying troops to the subway will unfortunately increase the perception of crime," said Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group. "The police can't solve every problem," he said.

The union representing the city's transit workers applauded the deployment as "the beginning of real action".


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