On Sunday, police arrested and charged Rigoberto Lopez for attempted murder for the stabbings of four homeless people, two of which were fatal, in different subway stations; this prompted 500 officers to be deployed throughout the system. Now the MTA says it isn’t enough and requested 1,000 additional cops.
The MTA Chairman, Pat Foye, and the interim New York City Transit President, Sarah Feinberg, wrote a letter to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and NYC Mayor Bil de Blasio.
“We believe the additional 500 officers you agreed to dedicate to the subway system is an important first step, which will help ease the fears of customers and the heroic transit workers who serve this city every day. We believe more is needed, however, and so we are writing today to request an additional 1,000 NYPD officers be assigned to the Transit Bureau to patrol subways and buses immediately. We request teams of uniformed officers be assigned to every station and that officers ride the system throughout the day and during the overnight to ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues.”
The letter also mentioned the issues the MTA has dealt with and the violence increase.
“Ridership is down 70% in the subway and 50% on buses, and while overall crime remains on the decline, felony assaults have increased 26.5%. In 2020, murder and rape – while they remain incredibly rare and represent a small fraction of crime systemwide – doubled from three to six and three to seven respectively. Assaults on our workers, from harassment and threats to physical violence, continue to occur far too often. Every single one of these occurrences is one too many,” the statement continued.
In January 2020, the decision was made by the MTA for additional law enforcement officers to be hired to patrol the subway, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a hiring freeze was implemented.