New York.— More than 5.5 million people use the New York subway. In the city with the largest population per square foot in the United States, getting around by car is difficult, so underground transportation is essential to keep life going in the big metropolis. It is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has 472 stations, as well as boasting thousands of kilometers of roads. However, in recent months, something as vital as this transport has become a deadly threat.
The increase in crime in the Big Apple Metro It set off all the alarms. Since last January, nine people have been murdered in its facilities (three more than last year), the highest number recorded in the last 25 years. To understand this figure with perspective, between 2006 and 2013, there were 22 homicides in the subway.
The latest victim was only 15 years old. He was called Jayjon Burnett. Furthermore, after three decades of historic lows, crime has increased by 40% compared to 2021 data (between January and October 2022, 1,917 serious crimes were recorded).
The reasons for the increase
Officials attribute these historical figures to several reasons. First, due to changes in the judicial system, such as the new reform of the parole legislation New York bail. It consists of eliminating pre-trial detention and bail in most minor and non-violent crimes, to be fair to those with less economic resources, and so that time in prison does not affect the Work future and social security of those who commit petty crimes. Police and prosecutors argue that what this new law is really causing is an increase violent crimes.
Experts also blame the increase in illegal arms trafficking (according to criminologists as a consequence of the insecurity experienced during the pandemic) and urban decay after the pandemic, as well as the refusal of many workers to return to offices and give life to cities. The lack of traffic has caused the most financial areas of New York abandoned and abandoned, giving rise to crime that takes hold of them. A situation that worries New Yorkers, 84% believe their city has gotten worse since March 2020.
Furthermore, the increase of hundreds of homeless people with mental illness who, with the arrival of the cold, take refuge in Metro stations, further aggravates the problem. Some make public transport their home and follow their own rules, many of which are prohibited by the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority): Eating, drinking, smoking and using marijuana and other drugs in front of the waiting gaze of consumers. “You have to be very careful,” she says THE UNIVERSAL a New York subway worker who prefers not to say her name, “because sometimes they wake up angry and yell and break things for no reason, or they’re just drunk (…) They told us if they get aggressive we should leave.”
The New York subway has been witnessing some staggering scenes in recent months. Fatal accidents, mentally challenged people pushing users onto train tracks, murders, beatings and many verbal attacks. These are just some of the titles that users have to deal with every day. News that worries the vast majority, especially the thousands of users who have no other means of transport to get to work every morning and thus pay the high taxes requested by the Municipality. “New York is famous for having the highest taxes in the country, here we pay federal, state and city taxes, they take a ton from my paycheck every month, and all for what? Going to work in fear every day? It’s not fair”, is the anger of Jimmy Carrer, a 45-year-old father who has to take the blue line (A,B,C) every morning to get to work.
This vehicle has passed through several stations of this subway line. The images at rush hour, 8 in the morning, are worrying. In a corner, under everyone’s eyes, there is a syringe and everything needed for drug use. Coming out of the subway, and at the bottom of the stairs, a man is preparing a dose of heroin with a spoon. When you watch him he gets violent and it’s best to leave. It’s only 10 on Monday.
This summer, the mayor of the city, Eric Adams, has deployed more police officers at subway stops and cars. It wasn’t enough. Last October the state governor, Kathy Hochul, had to intervene and in a press conference announced that the “Police, Cameras and Attention Plan” it started up right away. The objective was to further strengthen the presence of the agents. The New York Police Department (NYPD) along with the MTA has added 1,200 additional shifts for officers patrolling more than 300 stations per day. An increase of 10,000 extra hours of daily police presence. In addition, two new 50-bed psychiatric centers have been proposed to open, because according to Mayor Adams, homeless people with mental illness are behind 40 percent of the homicides that occur on subway tracks. Since then the situation hasn’t worsened, but it hasn’t improved significantly either: this week Adams assured that “the police commissioner will soon announce other initiatives that we will continue to implement for our metro system”.
Among the strategies to make passengers feel safer is to announce the stops where the agents are located NYPD, so that if anyone needs help or reports a situation, they can get off and talk to the police. On Tuesday, the CEO of MTA extensionJanno Lieber, announced that, according to the latest data, accidents are decreasing in parallel with more arrests.
He claims there wasa 93% increase in arrests for minor crimes compared to last year”, but experts look at these statements with skepticism, because many of the arrests are expressed, the prisoner leaves the police station as quickly as he enters. And the arrests come for minor crimes; for example, don’t pay for the subway ticket.
“I no longer feel safe, even though I see that there are more policemen,” explains Shara R., a 21-year-old girl who lives in Brooklyn and take the metro every day to go to university. A complaint that this medium has heard many times and experienced firsthand, see the image from this summer, when insecurity in Metro was near its highest peak.
The New York subway has just recovered from the blow it received with the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19. After the return to the new normal, only 60% of travelers who used it before have returned to using it and it is estimated that it will not recover its figures until 2024. More and more women decide to rely on themselves for their safety and many bring in the bags a can of pepper spray; For example, Gala, 16, who says, “I wish I didn’t have to wear it, but I feel safer that way.” It’s not easy to get it here.
New York, together with Massachusetts, are the only two territories in the United States that restrict the shipment of this self-defense measure, because they consider it a weapon. To get a bottle within New York City, you must go to an authorized firearms dealer or pharmacy, as long as you’re over 18.