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Not Again: Subway Crime in 2022 Resembles That of the 1980s
The problem of subway crime in New York City has been highlighted in headlines like these in the 1980s: “Many commuters in this metropolis are more worried about subway problems.”How bad is a crime on the subways? Police say the thieves were robbed today.”
We Can’t Go Back To The 1980s, Because Crime On The Subway Has Returned To Its Levels By 2022
“If you take the train, tonight’s news isn’t good: subway crime has reached an all-time high.” “You hear about it virtually every day, and tonight there was another victim.” Protect your family with a $1 million life insurance policy and a $3 million premium refund1.
Many New Yorkers say they feel the same way again, 30 years later. In 1989, Rosanna Scotto of FOX 5 New York was reporting stories like “Felonies and robberies are increasing, smashing prior criminal records.” And now, in 2022, headlines like “The NYPD has made an arrest in one of the latest attacks in a particularly violent month in the subway system” ring all too true.
According to the MTA, subway crime is a perception issue. So far this year, subway crime is up 41% over last year, hurting commuters, in the same manner, it did in the 1980s. After being attacked, victims have been devastated.
In 1984, one woman alleged, “He tossed me over the man’s head in front of me.” “I landed on the bottom and my head split open.” Fast forward 38 years and FOX 5 NY’s Linda Schmidt heard similar horror stories while interviewing Tavon Silver of the Bronx from his hospital bed this past June. In an unprovoked attack, a man on the metro stabbed him.
”There was blood everywhere,” Silver recalled. “You can see my bone if you gaze right through.” What the Straphangers are saying right now: “As a woman traveling the train, I have a lot of concerns.”I no longer feel safe or comfortable traveling in my own city as a native New Yorker.”
“It’s critical that you try to secure your belongings because someone will come up to you, take and run.” “I have to keep an eye on everyone because you never know who’s coming out of the woodwork.” “I prefer to keep looking around back and forth to make sure I’m safe.”
“I wander about, terrified that someone may assault me.” In the 1980s, Straphangers said: “You become apprehensive on the subways now, and I’m concerned because I ride every day and night.” “With all the criminality in New York City, we need more officers.”
“I believe you just need more cops in the subways.” There are also echoes of the 1980s among city authorities and other political figures, who argue that subway crime is not as serious as media stories suggest and that the problem is one of perception.
“There is no major danger of criminality in the subway system during commuting hours, as some imagine,” former Mayor Ed Koch declared while taking the subway in 1984 for a photo op. Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Adams recently stated, “We can’t get away from the fact that we have three and a half million people using our subway system, and that average of six crimes per day does not give the impression that our system is out of control. We’re dealing with the perception of fear that people are feeling.”
Getting riders back on the subway is said to be part of the strategy to reduce crime, both then and now. In 1984, then-New York Senator Al D’Amato rode the subway with Mayor Koch, announcing his intention to introduce legislation that would allocate more than $50 million to help make the subways safer, including the installation of cameras.
“So that these types of spaces may be well-lit so that we have vandal-proof lighting systems and closed circuit TV systems,” Sen. D’Amato explained. Almost four decades later, elected officials and local officials are repeating the same thing.
“We’re now moving forward with deploying cameras on all of the trains,” stated MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. Approximately 6 million people traveled the subway every day prior to the outbreak. It is currently around 3.7 million.
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