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NYC Adding 250 NYPD Officers To Subways As 24-Hour Service Resumes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City subways are running around the clock again, more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic halted 24-hour service.

This comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will add an additional 250 police officers to the subway system to address safety concerns.

After a long nap, it appears New York is back to being the City that Never Sleeps.

"Little sense of normalcy right now," one Harlem man told CBS2's John Dias.

That means he doesn't have to ride a Citi Bike to work at 3:30 a.m. anymore.

"It's good to have options in the morning," he said.


The next challenge for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is getting riders back to mass transit. Subway ridership surpassed 2.2 million passengers per day in May, but overall ridership is still down 63.5%.

Many say they fear for their safety.

"There's got to be more protection. There's got to be more cops out on the trains," said commuter Alberto Velez.

"I'm scared to ride the subway anymore. I used to love it," Lisa McGill added.

McGill told CBS2's Andrea Grymes the mayor's plan doesn't go far enough.

"He needs more police than that," McGill said.

"I think it's a good idea that they're going to have all the cops," Manhattan resident Troy Oberman said, adding when asked if he feels safe underground, "I do. I'm always aware."

"More police will make me feel safer," added Maria Sow of Bedford-Stuyvesant. ​

Even now, while many praised the mayor's announcement, some agree that more police is not the way to go.

"I'm Black, so look at what they do to us now. I don't think it is needed," one Harlem resident said.

The most recent NYPD numbers show transit crime is up 70.6% compared to last year at this point.

"We need to make sure that they've got confidence to come back, and so I'll continue to call on the city to give me additional resources," New York City Transit Authority Interim President Sarah Feinberg said.

The mayor announced he'll be doing just that by adding the additional officers.

"We've got now the highest number of officers in the subways, with this new announcement, in over 25 years," he said Monday. "So we're clearly putting a big investment into making sure the subways come back strong."

At the same time, he passed the buck, saying the MTA needs to do its part and hire more MTA officers, who the NYPD will train for free.

"NYPD is stepping up. MTA, why don't you step up as well?" de Blasio said.


Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he thinks it's the wrong move.

"Very often, you have this tug of 'zero police, we don't need any,' to 'we need more police,'" he said.

He said there are already enough officers, but the city needs to figure out better ways to use them and address the homeless situation.

"We want people to be safe and to actually feel safe," he added. "Are they patrolling patrols that make sense?"

"We've heard from people who are without a home that they feel safer staying on the subway than going into a congregated shelter," said Councilman Stephen Levin.

Attacks on transit workers have also been high. One conductor said it wasn't the cops who saved him, but commuters.

"I was choked by a customer that was mentally disturbed," he said. "The people who had my back were working class riders, just like myself."

The mayor said even when crime was higher, the city has never had this many officers patrolling the subways. The graduation of new officers allowed for the addition of new cops.

When it comes to reopening the subway 24 hours, officials say everyone must still wear a face mask at all times.

CBS2's Andrea Grymes contributed to this report

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