New Yorkers can expect more cops on the subways overnight with the relaunch of an NYPD unit to target high crime areas in the system, the department’s transit chief Jason Wilcox said Monday.
Called the Train Patrol Force, the group rolled out earlier this month and performs “dedicated, target and visible train patrols on late evening and overnight hours,” Wilcox said during a Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee meeting.
It is not a new unit. An identical group existed as part of the NYC Transit Police, but was disbanded in 1995 when the NYPD took over policing of the subway, Wilcox said Mayor Eric Adams worked on the Train Patrol Force when he was a transit cop.
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The announcement of more overnight cops comes less than a month after a Quinnipiac University poll estimated 86% of New Yorkers wanted more cops on the subways — and a day after a 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez was fatally shot in an unprovoked attack on a Q train.
Enriquez was the fourth person murdered in the subway system this year.
The NYPD reported 845 major crimes on the subways this year through May 15, up 65% from the same period in 2021. But this year’s subway crime figures are down 2% from the same period in 2019 when ridership was about 5.5 million trips per weekday compared to the 3.6 million the MTA recorded last week.
Wilcox said most of the crimes reported this year in the subways — about 54% of them — are on trains instead of stations or platforms. He said 40% of the crimes on trains are reported during the late night hours when the Train Patrol Force is working.
NYPD data show cops have made 3,194 arrests in the subways this year, a 67% increase from the 1,911 recorded at the same point in 2021.
MTA chairman Janno Lieber on Monday lamented Enriquez’s murder and said crime concerns continued to discourage New Yorkers from returning to the subways.
“New Yorkers are tough and they’ve demonstrated that again and again during the pandemic,” said Lieber. “They’re trying to resume their normal lives but they can’t resume their normal lives if just getting around is frightening.”
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