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Latest Slashing Has Riders Terrified, As Bratton Insists Subways Are Safe

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's been another slashing on a New York City subway, and terrified riders are calling for protection.

This, as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton insists the subways are safe.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, a 30-year-old man is recovering after being slashed with a knife while on a No. 3 train Monday around 12:40 p.m.

Police said a suspect in the case, 37-year-old Stephen Braithwaite, has been arrested and charged.

Police said the victim was standing with a friend on the Pennsylvania Avenue platform when he saw Braithwaite walking back and forth.

The victim told police Braithwaite asked him what he was looking at, challenged him to a fight, threw coffee at him and then slashed him on the chin with a pocket knife once they got on the 3 train.

"Every night I see a different slashing," one woman said.

"It does concern me because I have to take it every day. So it's kind of scary," another woman said.

"We're living in fear of being slashed on the subway; something needs to happen," Kyle Millionmile, of Inwood, told CBS2's Jessica Schneider.

Riders griped that they're not seeing police on trains, or many platforms.

"Any extra eyes in the subway is a good thing. I mean that's what we want," Bill Henderson, Director, MTA Riders Council said.

While it seems there has been an uptick in slashing incidents, particularly on the subway, Bratton downplayed the issue on a radio show Monday, Gainer reported.

"Last year in the month of January we had three slashing incidents that did not attract any media attention," Bratton said on Gambling Radio. "What happens from time to time, a series of incidents occur that attracts significant media attention as well as certainly appropriate police attention and that's what's happening here."

Monday's attack makes seven subway slashings this year, Gainer reported. According to the NYPD, so far for this year, there have been 365 slashings and stabbings citywide. For the same time last year, there were 305 -- a 19.67 percent increase.

The Guardian Angels have started patrolling the subways again as a result. But many wonder if that's enough.

"They should be doing more," one man said.

"They're doing the best they can, but as citizens we have to be careful," said another man.

Bratton did say his department is looking into banning career criminals from the subways altogether, Schneider reported.

"We are looking actively and have begun discussions with the MTA and it may ultimately require potentially some legislation up in Albany that some of these career criminals that use subways to prey on victims, we find some way to exclude them as they parole and try to maintain order on the subways," Bratton said.

The MTA board is also working with the NYPD to bring additional security measures to the subways.

Braithwaite is charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He has a history of arrests and police said he suffers from schizophrenia, Gainer reported.

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