Surge in Violent Crime on New York City Subways During Pandemic

A recent analysis by The Post has revealed a significant increase in violent crime on New York City subways since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Felony assaults resulting in injuries have surged by 53% compared to pre-pandemic levels, with 373 reported in 2019 and 570 in 2023. This rise in attacks has contributed to a 25% increase in major crimes reported on trains and in stations in 2023, compared to 15% in 2019.

Despite a 30% decrease in ridership, approximately 4 million people still ride the subways each day during the week, down from 5.5 million before the pandemic. The increase in violent incidents underground has coincided with a rise in murders, with three occurring in 2019, ten in 2022, and five in 2023. The first three months of 2024 have already seen three murders.

The surge in violence has left law enforcement officials and criminal justice experts perplexed, as there is no clear explanation for this disturbing trend. Christopher Herrmann, an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-City University of New York, hypothesized that the lingering effects of the pandemic may be a contributing factor. He emphasized the importance of police presence in deterring crime, stating that when the police are present, crime rates decrease.

The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment, but MTA spokeswoman Joana Flores expressed confidence in the NYPD’s ability to keep New Yorkers safe in transit. She highlighted the recent deployment of an additional 1,000 officers, which has significantly reduced crime in the past six weeks.

Prior to the pandemic, the number of felony assaults on subways remained relatively stable, hovering above 550. However, as the city reopened post-vaccination, the number of assaults increased. In 2021, there were 466 felony assaults, which rose to 556 in 2022 and continued to climb in 2023.

The surge in violence extends beyond attacks on passengers, with assaults on MTA employees and police officers patrolling the system also on the rise. In 2023, 100 cops and 60 transit employees were assaulted, compared to 71 cops and 32 transit employees in 2019. More than half of the suspects arrested for assaulting MTA employees in 2023 had histories of mental illness.

The recent increase in crime follows a significant decrease in patrols underground after the NYPD exhausted the $60 million in overtime funds provided by Gov. Kathy Hochul to enhance their presence in the subway system. This drop-off in patrols was revealed in documents obtained by The Post earlier this month.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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