Crime in NYC subway drops 25% in March vs. last year amid surge of cops on trains, NYPD says

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NEW YORK — Crime in New York City’s subway system fell by 23% in March compared to the same period last year as the NYPD sent hundreds of additional officers to ride the rails and keep straphangers safe, the department’s latest statistics show.

Following several high-profile shootings and random attacks in the subway, the NYPD sent nearly 2,000 additional officers underground this year to deter crime. About 800 new cops were assigned to transit late last month as part of a new initiative to crack down on fare evasion. Gov. Kathy Hochul also sent the National Guard into the city’s subway stations to conduct bag checks at major transit hubs.

The extra cops will stay on the subways indefinitely, City Hall spokeswoman Kayla Mamelak told the New York Daily News on Wednesday, adding that there’s no end date or crime benchmark that will trigger their removal.

The immediate results from the increased police presence had Mayor Eric Adams crowing during a press conference with NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban at police headquarters regarding quarterly crime stats.

“We’re down in crime in the subway system folks,” Adams told reporters. “Can we please stop saying we’re up in crime in the subway system? We are not. We are down in crime in the subway system.”

Police recorded 166 felony crimes at city train stations in March, 51 less than the 217 recorded in March 2023, NYPD officials said.

Cops also saw a 51% drop in robberies, a 10% drop in felony assaults and a 15% drop in pickpocketing and thefts of cellphones, credit cards and other items with a value of over $1,000 compared to the same month last year.

Arrests in the subway were up by 53% and 22 guns have been taken from straphangers, 10 more than last March, NYPD statistics show.

March’s decline in crime, however, did little to balance out the spikes the subways suffered earlier in the year.

Crime in the subway system was only down by 1% in the first quarter, with just six fewer crimes than the 544 reported by the end of March a year earlier, according to NYPD statistics. Transit cops were also still fighting a 4% jump in felony assaults, from 135 last year to 141 as of March 31, as well as increases in homicides and shootings.

Four people have been killed on the rails this year, police said — three more than last year. Eight straphangers have also been shot, seven more than last year, cops said.

Public safety fared a bit better above ground, with a 17% drop in homicides, from 99 last year to 82, and an 18% drop in shootings, which plummeted from 222 by the end of March 2023 to 181.

Cops were still fighting a jump in robberies and felony assaults, which saw a 4% and a 3% jump respectively for the year, cops said.

Three out of the city’s five boroughs saw a reduction in shootings, and more than 1,500 guns have been taken off the streets, said Caban.

“It is highly encouraging to see the tangible results of our hard work,” Caban said. “The investments we are making is clearly paying dividends.”

Caban said crime would be reduced even further if something would be done about recidivist criminals who are constantly rearrested and then released without bail.

The constant rearresting of career criminals have driven up arrests to “a 25-year high,” Caban said.

“In many cases we arrest the same people over and over again,” Caban said. “It’s incredibly frustrating to law enforcement. It’s unfair to law-abiding citizens and has a negative impact on both actual and perceived public safety.

“It’s past time we start taking this seriously,” Caban said. “New York is fed up with the revolving door.”

Adams also bashed recidivist criminals, encouraging judges to use the power they sway to order defendants held on bail.

“We know the biggest challenge that we are facing as I say over and over again is in three areas — recidivism, recidivism, recidivism,” the mayor said. “There are too many bad people who are doing bad things to the good people of this city, and they believe they have the right to do that. A small number of people are committing a large number of crimes.”

But according to the City Council, the mayor has slashed some of the very programs that could address recidivism.

“Many of these programs have been the target of cuts or have lacked investment over the past year,” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Monday. “All of these help reduce recidivism and deserve resources. The city has a responsibility to invest in programs that reduce recidivism rather than cutting them.”

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(With Graham Rayman and Chris Sommerfeldt.)

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