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NYPD increases subway patrols as violent crimes skyrocket

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There's a growing concern about crime in New York City's subway system, and if there are enough cops underground to make riders feel safe.

Video Transcript

- From violence in the Middle East to growing concern about crime in the subway here in our area, the MCA pleading to get more cops underground. Felony assaults up over the last year, and the numbers keep going in the wrong direction. And now it appears, indeed, more cops are on the subway.

[INAUDIBLE] NJ Burkett riding the subways with police. He's live in Lower Manhattan for us. NJ.

NJ BURKETT: That's right, Bill. Today, Sarah Feinberg, the interim Transit Authority president, placed the blame squarely on Mayor de Blasio, saying that the mayor simply is in denial about crime in the transit system. So yes, today the NYPD unveiled its new tactics underground with just a modest increase in manpower.

The trend is undeniable. Violent crime is on the rise in the New York City transit system. Today, NYPD officers swarmed the Columbus Circle subway station, walking the platforms, searching the trains, checking up on the train crews. Captain Ken Gorman is the leader of an underground army, the commanding officer of Transit District 1, which includes some of the city's largest subway stations.

That subway is practically empty. This platform is practically empty. It's amazing, huh?

KEN GORMAN: It is a difference from a year ago.

NJ BURKETT: Two out of every three riders have yet to return to the subway. And overall, transit crime is down by 40%. But violent crime is skyrocketing, up 25% so far this year, 82% for the past 28 days, and up 140% in the past seven days. Now, on average, two people are attacked every day in the New York City subway system, getting pushed, shoved, robbed, and beaten. This man allegedly punched a rider in Brooklyn on Sunday, and this man is seen on video threatening a station agent. Police commanders say they're determined to turn the tide.

- When people get on the subway, they're going to see a cop at almost every station.

NJ BURKETT: Dozens of recent academy graduates will be deployed. But transit officials have demanded hundreds of officers, leading some to wonder if the underground army swarming the trains in Columbus Circle is more than a photo op.

SARAH FEINBERG: I ride the system a lot, and I've never seen one. But I believe them when they say they're out there doing it.

NJ BURKETT: Sarah Feinberg blames Mayor de Blasio for failing to acknowledge the problem.

Do you think it's because the mayor is reluctant to say we need more police?

SARAH FEINBERG: I do. Let's just be straightforward about what the issue is and how we can solve it.

NJ BURKETT: Captain Ken Gorman believes the system will soon look and feel safer.

Do you understand when people say, I'm just not there yet, I'm afraid?

KEN GORMAN: There are absolutely concerns. I understand that 100%. But we're here to make sure that they feel when they do come back down into the subway system, they're going to be safe. And we're going to be here to protect them.

NJ BURKETT: Well, to be clear, Sarah Feinberg says that she is grateful for the additional officers. But again, it's dozens, not hundreds. Good, she says, but not good enough. Again, she says the mayor is in denial about the crime underground and simply doesn't want to acknowledge that the system needs more police.