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NYPD boosts transit patrols as NYC's subway service fully returns

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New York City subways are running around the clock again, more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic curtailed 24-hour service. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will add an additional 250 police officers to the subway system to address safety concerns. CBS New York's John Dias reports.

Video Transcript

- New York City subways have resumed a 24-hour schedule for the first time in more than a year. And amid safety concerns underground, an announcement today. The NYPD is adding hundreds of cops to patrol the transit system. But will it be enough? CBS 2's John Dias with more.

JOHN DIAS: After a long nap, New York is back to being the city that never sleeps.

- It's just a little sense of normalcy right now.

JOHN DIAS: 24-hour subway service is now back in effect after months of this system being suspended for two hours overnight for cleaning, which means this Harlem man doesn't have to City Bike to work at 3:30 in the morning anymore.

- It's good to have options in the morning.

JOHN DIAS: But the next challenge for the MTA is getting riders back to mass transit at any time. Subway ridership surpassed 2.2 million passengers per day in May. But overall ridership is still down 63.5%, many fearing for their safety.

ALBERTO VELEZ: It's got to be more protected. It's got to be more cops all around the trains.

JOHN DIAS: The most recent NYPD numbers show transit crime, week to date, is up 70.6%.

SARAH FEINBERG: 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.

JOHN DIAS: And today, Mayor Bill de Blasio did just that. He's adding an additional 250 cops to the transit system.

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

JOHN DIAS: And at the same time, passing the buck to the MTA, saying the agency needs to do its part with hiring more MTA officers, which the NYPD will train for free.

BILL DE BLASIO: NYPD is stepping up. MTA, why don't you step up as well?

JOHN DIAS: But it's a move public advocate Jumaane Williams thinks is a wrong one.

JUMAANE WILLIAMS: Very often, you have this tug of zero police, we don't need any, to we need more police.

JOHN DIAS: He says there's already enough cops. What must be done is figuring out better ways to use them and address the homeless situation.

JUMAANE WILLIAMS: We want people to be safe and to actually feel safe. Are they patrolling patrols that makes sense?

STEPHEN LEVIN: What we've heard a lot from people who are without a home is that they feel safer staying on the subway than going into a congregate shelter.

JOHN DIAS: Attacks on transit workers are also high. This conductor says it wasn't cops that saved him but commuters.

JOHN FERRETTI: I was choked by a customer that was mentally disturbed.

The people who had my back were working class riders, just like myself.

JOHN DIAS: The mayor says, even when the crime rate was higher, there has never been this many officers patrolling the subway system in recent history. He says the graduation of new cops is the reason why they can add more police officers. From Union Square, John Dias, CBS 2 News.

- NYPD sources say the majority of the additional transit officers will be in uniform. They'll be assigned to high-traffic stations and rail lines as part of a visual deterrent. The deployment will move based on daily crime statistics.