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At least 45 New York City workers and police officers have been assaulted on subways so far in 2022, while stabbing and cutting attacks on strap hangers have increased more than 70% year to date, and crimes in transit as a whole increased 65% compared to 2021, he said. officials Monday.
New York City Transit Chief Jason Wilcox said police chiefs were “deeply concerned” by the latest crime statistics, which showed that 20 Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees and 25 officers have been assaulted so far this year in the subway system. Overall, crime arrests have increased by 63% this year compared to 2021, and New York police have carried out an estimated 60% of arrests in connection with the assaults on city workers, Wilcox said during an MTA board meeting Monday.
But while certain crimes – including theft and robbery – are now lower than pre-COVID levels, “the same cannot be said of aggravated assault, where we see a continued increase over time,” Wilcox said.
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“We have seen an increase in the area of 33% this year in aggravated assault compared to 2021. That accounts for about 29% of our overall picture of major crime,” he continued. “The many gun attacks on 36th Street have affected this increase, but there are other driving forces as well.”
On April 12, 62-year-old Frank James entered a subway passing through Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where he placed a gas mask on his face, set off a smoke bomb and opened fire. The shooting left 29 people wounded, including 10 who were shot, officials said.
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James is now being held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal detention facility in Brooklyn. He has been charged with one count of committing a terrorist or other violent attack on a mass transit system and risks life in prison if convicted.
Regarding the 70% year-to-date increase in stabbings and cutting incidents, Wilcox said such types of assaults account for 39% of the MTA’s total crime.
“Too many,” he said. So far this year, police have made 230 arrests for stabbing and stabbing in the subway. And assaults on objects, including a stick, a cane, a hammer, among other kinds, have increased 48% year-to-date, he said.
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“Many of these assault incidents have started as a fight, a bump, a push, a shoe that has been stepped on or a quarrel over a seat, which then quickly escalated to violence,” Wilcox continued.
The metro chief warned metro riders to be on guard against purse strings and mobile phone snatchers.
As of Sunday, total metro crime had increased by 65% year to date, 706 to 427, the NYPD said.
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Meanwhile, amid Mayor Eric Adams’ push for metro safety, 67 newly-struck NYPD officers have been assigned to the underground training unit and will eventually be tasked with patrolling the transit system.
Adams has pushed for New Yorkers to return to the subway and work in their city offices. Dr. Dorothy Schulz, a former captain of the MTA-Metro North Railroad Police, previously told Fox News Digital that she expected high-profile crime events on the subways would likely make Adams’ efforts “a little harder” to achieve.
But she said people are probably more afraid of the “day-to-day kind of events.”
“People who live in New York are not naive and they know things are happening. But the things are that your pocket gets picked up, or someone swears at you or spits on you or something,” Schulz, professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, continued. “There is a level of expectation.”