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NYC subway bag checks to resume in some stations, Adams says – NBC New York

by Staff

The NYPD is expected to resume and enhance bag checks at certain subway stations starting this week as part of an effort to cut down on burgeoning crime within the transit system, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday.

The Democrat didn’t immediately say which stations would see enhanced security. He also said the city is continuing to review technology for detecting metal objects entering the transit system. Nothing is yet imminent on that front.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said Tuesday the governor planned to add state manpower to support the NYPD efforts.

“Governor Hochul has made historic commitments to make our subways safer, from security cameras to mental health personnel, and tomorrow she will unveil new legislation to protect riders, new State personnel to assist NYPD with bag checks, and other new measures to keep New Yorkers safe,” a spokesperson said.

Hochul, also a Democrat, met with Adams and top officials with the NYPD and MTA last week to discuss the plans.

High-profile cases of subway violence have killed and injured a number of New Yorkers in multiple boroughs in recent weeks. Most recently, a man checking his phone was kicked to the tracks at New York Penn Station. He was still in the hospital as of Monday evening, undergoing a CAT scan and X-rays to assess his injuries, but was expected to survive.

Last week, a subway conductor was knifed in the neck in Brooklyn, a 27-year-old was slashed in the hand in Manhattan and a 61-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach in the Bronx in three unrelated incidences of transit violence within 36 hours. A recent trio of homicides also made headlines.

Another MTA worker has been violently attacked while on the job. The A train conductor stuck his head out of the conductor’s window when the train stopped at Rockaway Avenue in Brooklyn when someone rushed up and slashed his neck. The suspect is still on the run. NBC New York’s Myles Miller reports.

MTA officials have condemned the string of violence.

The Transport Workers Union blasted the MTA after the attack on the conductor, saying the incident was “a horrific example of the epic, decades-long failure by the MTA and Chairman Janno Lieber to protect transit workers.”

“We stand ready to assist Local 100 as they confront this plague of violence – and transit executives who are either inept or indifferent to the harm inflicted on their own employees day and night,” said TWU President John Samuelsen. “On workplace safety, the MTA has been an abysmal failure. Assaults against transit workers in the subway increased nearly 60% last year. Unlike Lieber, transit workers don’t travel with a dedicated and armed MTA Police squad.”

The NYPD is searching for the man behind a subway kick that sent a man onto the tracks. The incident occurred Sunday night at 34th Street-Penn Station. Police said the suspect is on the run, but they’re putting out a photo hoping it helps them track him down. NBC New York’s Marc Santia reports.

The union pleaded with the MTA to deploy members of the agency’s 1,000-member police force — officers usually seen on the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad — to start patrolling the city’s subway lines.

Recent NYPD data paints a concerning picture, with 2023 seeing the highest number of subway assaults since at least 1996. Over that year, there were 570 assaults, marking a slight increase from the previous year and averaging about 1.5 incidents daily.

But NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper says progress is being made. An infusion of 1,000 more officers into the subway system — done in direct response to a January crime spike — led to a 17% reduction in crime in February, Kemper said.

For the year, however, subway crime is still up 13% compared to 2023, with assaults on the transit system up 11%. NYPD transit police are investigating 86 assaults, up from last year’s 77. And three homicides in the first two months of the year mark a troubling start, especially when compared to 2023 at this time, when there were none.

Kemper said the increase was driven mainly by grand larcenies, pickpocketing and property thefts. The increased police presence at stations, on platforms and aboard trains will continue for now, Kemper said.

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