As a kid in New York City, riding the subway to school every day, I worried about what would happen if a passenger became violent, said Albert Fox Cahn The daily beast. Last week, that “nightmare” played out in a horrifying manner when a gunman detonated smoke bombs and opened fire on a rush-hour train in Brooklyn, injuring 23 people and “sent a chill of terror into the hearts of millions of New Yorkers.” . Frank James, a 62-year-old with a history of crime, mental illness and an interest in racist conspiracy theories, was later arrested.
The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, vowed to introduce “new technologies” to make subways safer. What the new technology would be, he didn’t say; but it’s hard to have much faith when officials admit that even the basic CCTV cameras at the station didn’t work properly. “The truth is that in a country increasingly saturated with weapons,” virtually “nothing can be done to stop these types of attacks.”
The attack shocked New Yorkers in part because it symbolized a “precipitous decline in law and order” in the city, he said The Wall Street Journal. There seems to be “a lack of political will” to keep criminals and the mentally ill off the streets. It was just the latest high-profile crime on the subway, said David A. Graham in The Atlantic. In January, a woman died after being pushed in front of a train and a man was killed jumping onto the tracks to help a victim of a gang attack. Last year there was “a wave of stabbings”.
In absolute terms, the crime rate is “still very low,” but it’s rising, as is violent crime in the United States. It brings back memories of the 1980s, when subways were considered “hellscapes”. The danger is that they get caught in “a death spiral where fear of crime leads to low ridership, which in turn leads to more crime.”
This is the last thing New York needs as it struggles to recover from Covid, Michael Goodwin said in the New York Post. The increase in remote work is already taking its toll. A recent study found that the average office worker would spend $6,730 near the office this year, compared to $13,700 before the pandemic. The unemployment rate in New York is 6.5%, almost double the national rate of 3.6%. Mayor Adams, a former police officer, won office this year on a promise to crack down on crime. Can he and the NYPD “work together to save Gotham”? As summer — the worst time for crime — approaches, “we’re about to find out.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/us/956518/brooklyn-subway-shooting-exploring-new-yorks-steep-decline-in-law-and Brooklyn Subway Shooting: Investigating New York’s ‘precipitous decline in law and order’