NYC violent crime, homelessness causes massive drop in metro rider numbers: ‘Crime is out of control’

The head of New York City’s transportation agency, MTA, said Wednesday that the increase in violent crime and pervasive homelessness seen in the subway system can be largely attributed to the drastic drop in the number of passengers between December and the first few weeks of the new year.

During a meeting Wednesday, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber, an appointee of New York Governor Kathy Hochul, acknowledged that despite increased police presence in the underground system, he was still witnessing “drug use and disorder” during a recent visit to Penn Station, a major . metro hub for commuters.

“Our riders tell us they do not feel safe,” Lieber said. “Our workforce is scared beyond our passengers. Our workforce is scared because they feel vulnerable.”

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His remarks come two weeks after Deloitte employee Michelle Alyssa Go was fatally pushed in front of a subway train in Times Square by a mentally ill homeless man, according to police.

Data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) shows that about 2.5 million riders used the metro system on Monday, representing a 36% drop over the last month compared to the about 3.4 million riders per day. everyday recorded in the second week of December, the NY Daily News reported.

During Wednesday’s meeting, MTA’s chief customer service representative Sarah Meyer shared photos she’s received from customers so far this month as her department goes through complaints about “people behaving irregularly on the train on the platform and making them feel uncomfortable” or even insecure. ”

It includes people who smoke and take drugs in train cars and on platforms, aggressive pan action, especially without a mask on, she said. Lieber shared a photo he took while riding the Q train last week that shows homeless people have camped not only at stations but also in train cars.

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“Every day, the pictures keep rolling in,” Meyer said. “Our customers care about our city, our transit system and their other New Yorkers. And it breaks all our hearts to see pictures like this.”

“At several stations, we have so many used needles on the rails that we have to send out track cleaning every other day,” she said. “When I look at these pictures, when you look at these pictures, there’s no doubt that there are people in need. And help can not come fast enough.”

“I can not believe I’m the only person who thinks New York’s metro crime level is out of control,” according to a customer’s complaint, read by Meyer at the meeting. “Most of my colleagues avoid taking the subway because of crime, violence and the mentally ill.”

Days before the high-profile subway of Go, the governor, along with New York City Eric Adams, promised to send additional law enforcement and social workers into the subway system.

Michelle Go, left, and suspect, Simon Martia, are arrested.

Michelle Go, left, and suspect, Simon Martia, are arrested.
(LinkedIn, WNYW)

“The governor and the mayor stepped forward and specifically said that they took responsibility for the law enforcement side of this and the mental health side of this,” Lieber said Wednesday.

MTA board member Vincent Tessitore Jr., representing union workers for Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), called for more law enforcement to protect transit workers.

“We need to do something to make people more accountable when they get caught,” Tessitore was quoted as saying by Newsday. “The leading reason our employees get hurt is because they say to someone, very respectfully, ‘You have to put on a mask.’ In today’s world, you get smashed by it.”

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Mayor Adams has been working to fight off-track crime, especially after the deaths of two NYPD officers who were fatally wounded in connection with the service while responding to a domestic incident in Harlem.

President Biden is expected to visit New York City next week to meet with Adams on gun violence.

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