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Hochul deploys National Guard troops to New York City subway amid rising crime numbers

National Guard helping with bag checks at NYC subway stations
National Guard helping with bag checks at NYC subway stations 02:50

NEW YORK -- Following a series of violent incidents in the New York City subway system, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new five-point safety plan that includes bringing in hundreds of National Guard troops and adding new security cameras. 

Hochul announced that a combined 1,000 personnel — including 750 National Guard troops, along with MTA Police — would be deployed in the subway system to help the NYPD conduct bag checks in an effort to keep weapons off trains.  

"Let me just be very, very clear. These brazen, heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated," Hochul said Wednesday.

This followed Mayor Eric Adams' announcement Tuesday to add more police officers and re-institute bag checks

"I know how it plays on your psyche when you hear about some random acts of violence and that's why we must be proactive," Adams told CBS New York in an interview earlier Wednesday ahead of Hochul's announcement.  

The governor and mayor both argued the new safety plan will protect both passengers and transit workers. However, within an hour of the its announcement, another subway conductor was attacked. The conductor was struck on the head with a bottle at the East 170th/Jerome Avenue station in the Bronx, the NYPD said.

Adams speaks ahead of announcement

Mayor Eric Adams speaks with CBS New York about subway bag searches 07:50

In Wednesday's interview with CBS New York, both the mayor, who was noticeably absent during the governor's announcement, and NYPD Transit Chief Michael Kemper, defended the bag checks as an important safety tool.

"We are instituting random bag checks," Adams said. "They are random. They are not profiling. They are random."

"Including with what they're doing checking bags to make sure explosive or illegal weapons are not entering our subway system, it's also creating another sense of presence," said Kemper.

City Hall sources told CBS New York that each week the NYPD will deploy 94 bag-screening teams at 136 stations, about one-third of the 472 stations in the system.

Hochul's 5-point plan

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces 5-point subway safety plan 35:12

In addition to the bag checks, Hochul's plan incudes:

  • Amending state law to ban repeat offenders
  • Installing cameras in each conductor's cabin
  • $20 million for mental health outreach
  • A plan to improve coordination between police officers and district attorneys to go after repeat offenders, the suspects who seem to make all the headlines that scare people

"There's a psychological impact. People worry they could be next," Hochul said.

The mayor is on board.

"We have a recidivist problem. When you look at the subway system, we have 38 people who were arrested for assaulting just transit workers. They committed 1,126 crimes in our city," he said.

Watch Marcia Kramer's report

Hochul deploys National Guard for subway bag checks amid rising crime numbers 03:14

Transit riders had mixed feeling about whether bag checks will improve safety.

"How many people do you know that actually carry a knife or gun in their bag when it is they are ready to stick you up, 'Oh, hold up, I'm going to go into my bag.' It doesn't make sense," one person said.

"That's just racial profiling. It's just a way to solve a fake problem that's not there," another person said.

"I've got to trust the NYPD. If they feel that there is cause and it's not discriminatory, that's the real issue. We got to keep our city safe, but it's got to be equitable," another person said.

"New York City's subways are crazy. You don't know what to anticipate anymore. I would rather the bag checks than end up dead," another said.

"I know these are difficult times in many ways and I've been through bag checks before. They do them at theaters. I can do it if I have to do it," another added.

In a statement, the New York Civil Liberties Union said in part, "These heavy-handed approaches will, like stop-and-frisk, be used to accost and profile Black and Brown New Yorkers, ripping a page straight out of the Giuliani playbook."

Richard Davis, the head of the Transport Workers Union, said the measures don't go far enough, and that the 1,000 National Guardsmen and MTA Police cannot be temporary. CBS New York asked Hochul how long the surge would last, but she refused to say how long and how long the state would fund the program.

She tartly pointed out that New York City has an unanticipated $3 billion surplus.

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