This year, violent crime on the subway represents only about 2 or 6 percent of New York City's total, but the randomness of many attacks has made passengers afraid. There have been nine homicides this year, compared to an average of less than two in the years leading up to the pandemic. It's true that crime rates have increased relative to the subway, but there are many things first-time visitors can do to travel (safely) within New York. For many of the homeless seeking shelter in the subway, treatment for mental health and substance abuse remains out of reach.
Christopher Herrmann, a former crime statistics analyst at the New York Police Department who now teaches at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice, emphasized that the subway is still very safe, but noted that the low number of passengers may be associated with changes in the types of crimes that occur. He was of Asian descent, at a time when hate crimes against Asians were increasing all over New York City, including on the subway. When asked about their strategy to help the homeless on the subway, New York City's social and homeless services officials said the agency had stepped up its efforts at subway stations at the end of the line and with heavy traffic. Catch up on the day's biggest headlines with a summary of essential New York news, sent to your inbox every day at 5 p.m.
There are many ways to travel within the city, and while the subway is the cheapest and fastest, in most cases, it's not something beginners need to try. And in October, a Citi Field worker was randomly stabbed at a Bronx subway station and a 15-year-old boy was shot dead on an A-train in Rockaway. Although the city is quite large, it is not so to the point that the subway is the only option for travel. In fact, if the distance back to the hotel is too long, travelers should consider taking a taxi anyway to be safe.
There have been three murders so far this month; too many in too short a time not to raise a serious question about security. They said that municipal outreach staff had tripled in recent years to 600; Hochul recently announced that the state would send behavioral health specialists to help on the subway, who will help connect homeless people to social services and shelter. Over the next three years, the MTA also plans to add security cameras to all subway cars to help passengers feel safe and solve crimes. A common mistake among people visiting the city is that they will have to use the subway to get where they need to go.
It's a quick way to get from one place to another, and it's also a safe way to do it, especially at night.
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