NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Random slashings have the city on edge despite claims from the NYPD that the increase in these crimes are mere coincidence.
As CBS2's Dave Carlin reported, New Yorkers say they're in a heightened state of caution and vigilence, worried that lurking on streets, down subway staircases and on platforms and trains could be strangers ready to pounce with brazen, unprovoked violence.
"Anybody could do this to you, and you just have no idea until it's too late," said Regina Graham, of the Upper West Side.
Yet, even Thursday, the city's top cop, Commissioner Bill Bratton, suggested that more than a dozen slashings since December are largely coincidence.
CBS2 wanted to know how he's advising his family members about safety.
"My wife rides it (the subway system). It is a very safe system," Bratton said.
Even though the police commissioner and other city officials called the streets and subways safe, but unprovoked slashings have residents feeling more vulnerable than ever.
Said Annette Benda-Fox, of the Upper West Side: "Relatively, they are (safe), but this is something we have to address. It's real. It's happening right now."
Chilling proof is on surveillance camera footage that slashing suspects include those who are well-dressed, who strike without warning. Slashing victims are often young women who don't even make eye contact.
"This crime is so up close for someone to stab you, it's very scary," clinical psychologist Harris Stratyner said.
Residents say they understand crime is part of city life, but something so random by a growing number of unconnected criminals digs deep into our psyches.
"When we feel we can't control something or solve it, it makes us more fearful," he said.
So even though the NYPD says more police are patrolling subways and streets, residents want even more officers whom they can see.
There were three incidents on subway trains this week. A man attacked a 71-year-old woman Monday morning on a D train pulling into the Broadway-Lafayette station. Police on Thursday, had a suspect in custody who allegedly used a cloth-covered machete to slice a 29-year-old woman's hand on the No. 3 train at the Eastern Parkway station in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
Suspects have been arrested and charged in both of those incidents.
Yet another man was slashed Wednesday night on a subway platform in East Harlem, police said. That incident happened on the southbound No. 6 train platform beneath Lexington Avenue and 116th Street, police said.
And back in December, a man was randomly slashed in the face at the A Train subway stop at Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and a woman was caught on video slashing two victims on the same train line several days later.
New Yorkers say that with these events multiplying they're much more inclined now to rely on transportation options up top, including buses, cabs and car services.
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