Historically high subway assault rate finally drops after MTA cop push06/22/2021
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The surging number of assaults in the subway system is finally on the slowdown following the addition of more NYPD patrols underground, data obtained by The Post shows.
Transit cops recorded 14 felony assaults in the two weeks between June 7 and June 20, the NYPD stats show — a dramatic turnaround from the 36 assaults reported between May 3 and May 16 and 25 between May 17 and May 30.
The drop comes amid the worst year for felony assaults in decades, according to documents distributed ahead of Wednesday’s MTA board meeting.
The first five months of 2021 saw 223 felony assault reported in the subways, the documents show — higher than any time since at least 1997, the earliest year of available figures.
Felony assaults nearly doubled from April to May, with 37 and 65 reported, respectively, prompting an outcry from transit leaders for more police underground.
De Blasio on May 17 relented to weeks of pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state-run MTA and agreed to add 125 extra cops to the morning and evening rush hours.
Crime persisted in the initial week after the mayor pledged more cops, with an astounding 24 felony attacks from May 7 to May 23, according to the figures obtained by The Post.
However, an internal MTA survey conducted May 15 to May 24 reported an increasing police presence in the days following de Blasio’s announcement — with felony assaults going down since — along with sex crimes, robberies and grand larcenies.
Whereas the week ending May 23 saw 16 sex crimes, 14 robberies and 17 grand larcenies, the week ending this past Sunday, June 20 saw half as many sex crimes and robberies and just 10 grand larcenies, the figures show.
Adjusted for ridership, there were 2.87 crimes per million riders on the subways in May, a 37 percent increase compared to April — and the highest rate since October, when NYPD recorded 149 felonies on the subways and 3.1 crimes per million riders.
Subway crime rates also soared amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 compared to 2019, when NYPD recorded 1.47 felonies million riders.
Last month’s crime spike included 51 robberies, 52 grand larcenies and 65 felony assaults — including a terrifying early morning spree on May 14 in which three teens with alleged gang connections attacked five random straphangers, blinding one victim’s right eye.
MTA Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg accused de Blasio of “negligence” in the aftermath of the May 14 attacks, which she said should be a “wake-up call” for the mayor, though he dismissed the MTA’s call for more subway cops as “fearmongering.”
But three days later, the mayor caved and pledged to assign the extra shifts of cops.
The MTA did not immediately returned a request for comment.
A City Hall spokeperson said, “When the going got tough, the mayor didn’t play politics or point fingers. He added cops to the system and reassured New Yorkers that crime would fall as ridership rose. That’s the calm, steady leadership that’ll fuel this Summer of NYC.”
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks
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