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New York City officials cautiously optimistic after subway crime drops 13 percent during recent 28-day stretch

NYC officials cautiously optimistic after subway crime drops over 28-day stretch
NYC officials cautiously optimistic after subway crime drops over 28-day stretch 02:51

NEW YORK -- To some, it is a startling discovery. Despite the steady occurrence of horrifying incidents happening on the subways, crime underground has actually started to go down.

It's way too early to say whether it's a blip on the crime radar screen or a definite trend, but after Gov. Kathy Hochul shelled out millions of dollars during the governor's race to surge cops on the subways, crime underground went down for a 28-day period that ended Sunday.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Monday, Mayor Eric Adams and MTA officials are quietly thrilled.

"Right now, we're on the right train. We're moving in the right direction. We're going southbound on crime," Adams said.

It's hard to know whether "going southbound on crime" means the city is finally turning the corner on the making the subways safer, but it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Transit crime fell 13.1 percent during those 28 days -- 185 crimes this year compared to 213 in 2021, when the city was still in the throes of the pandemic and ridership was lower.

"Major crimes are down. That's an important reversal of what had been a trend in the other direction, and I just want to acknowledge, while it's way to early to celebrate, that is significant progress," MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said.

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The reason neither Adams nor Lieber were doing an end zone dance is because subway crime is up 33.5 percent year to date -- 2,096 crimes this year compared to 1,570 in 2021. It's also up 28.8 percent for two years, though it's down 6.2 percent from five years ago.

"The blue surge in our subway system is working," Adams said.

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The mayor was referring to the fact that in the heat of a combative gubernatorial race where Republican Lee Zeldin slammed her on subway crime, Gov. Hochul opened up the state pocketbook to pay for more cops, including 1,200 more shifts per day and 10,000 daily overtime hours.

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But the unanswered question is how long the state, which is facing fiscal problems, will continue to foot the bill. State officials did not reply to questions from CBS2 about how much is being spent and how long the surge will be sustained.

Riders would certainly like to know. They said the following when asked if they feel safe underground.

"If I travel during the day, yes, but not at night," one said.

"Yeah, I feel safe on the subway. It might be because I'm a tall guy," another said.

"I don't feel safe at all," another said.

"Not very safe. The other day someone was doing drugs on the train. A person acted very inappropriately in front of children," one added.

The mayor hinted that he has more initiatives on the way, including assigning new cops graduating from the Police Academy to beef up the transit patrol force.

A City Hall spokesman declined to offer more details.

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