Mayor Eric Adams has unveiled a new plan to tackle safety in the subways.
He plans to split up police so they patrol solo instead of together to cover more ground.
Adams says the NYPD is not deploying police correctly, especially in transit. He hopes this plan changes that and makes riders feel more at ease
“It is the wild wild west all over again,” Queens resident Cheryl Stiller said.
Stiller and her fiancé always stay paired up to ride the subway.
“I could say not safe, right? We travel together. I won’t go on the train by myself, I won’t,” Stiller said.
They may travel in twos on the train, but Mayor Adams says soon, the NYPD patrolling will not. Adams has announced patrolling in pairs or groups will mostly end, except for larger stations like 34th Street. Instead, cops will be solo.
“By going back to single patrol, we’re now doubling the size, and you’re going to see the omnipresence and the confidence that riders are going to see based on that. It allows us to cover more ground,” Adams said.
The mayor is trying to calm the fears of riders amid a huge increase in subway crime.
The NYPD’s latest statistics show major crime in transit is up more than 55% year to date with 1,037 incidents so far compared to 666 for the same period in 2021. That includes, in part, spikes in grand larcenies, felony assaults and robberies.
Adams says he patrolled solo when he was a transit cop in the ’80s, but transit officers doubled-up after NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in 2014.
The plan is getting pushback from the Police Benevolent Association. In a statement, Union President Pat Lynch says in part, “Solo transit patrols were abandoned because they make it harder for cops to protect straphangers and ourselves. They’re even less effective now that criminals know there are no consequences for fighting cops and resisting arrest.”
Most riders CBS2’s Andrea Grymes spoke with were also skeptical.
“They could get a lot more done in pairs if there was any issue,” one person said.
“They should be partnered up, I think, because by themselves is not safe,” Queens resident Mark Petrisce said.
The mayor says the single patrols will start as soon as the police commissioner announces it.