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NYC subway attacks show Adams challenge to face crime

The weekend after Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul announced plans to address safety concerns on New York City’s subways. focus on preventing homeless people from sheltering in the systemAt least eight violent attacks took place in train stations and on trains, only one of which involved a suspect who appeared to be homeless.

There is little pattern to the attacks, which police say began Friday night, when a 31-year-old man was stabbed in his left forearm in Morningside Heights, Manhattan on the Southbound No. by a man he had asked to stop smoking, and ended early Monday morning, when a 30-year-old woman was hit in the face by a small metal pipe on the southbound No.4 train in the Bronx. .

Overall, the attacks took place in every county where the subway operates, on four different train lines and at four different stations. There were no fatal attacks, although several victims were hospitalized and several arrests were made.

The diverse nature of the attacks underscores the difficulty of suppressing random violence in the nation’s largest transportation network, which covers hundreds of miles of roads and is used by millions of people every weekend.

It was not immediately clear how the number of attacks compares with other recent weekends; Police monitor transit criminals on a weekly basis and do not publicly break them down by category. The Urban Transport Authority, the state agency that runs the system, publishes more detailed information every month.

But transit crime has become a growing concern over the past year. In 2021, the rate of violent crime per million riders is significantly higher than in 2019, with robberies and assaults already soaring, even as ridership falls below pre-pandemic levels . In particular, Felony’s attacks have increased by almost 25%, although the number of riders has decreased.

Those trends have been punctuated by a number of well-known incidents, most recently A woman’s deadly bucket on the train tracks in Times Square by a mentally ill man last month.

The subways have been Mr. Adams’ focus since before he took office, and on Friday he and Governor Hochul released a safety plan deploying police officers and mental health workers in an effort to eliminate more than 1,000 homeless people people who often take shelter in the subway system. Several teams began their work on Monday.

But while their plan focuses on the homeless and mental health, only two of the eight attacks over the weekend involved the homeless, police said – and one of the victims. that’s the victim. Several other waves of violence followed robberies or disputes on trains. It’s not clear what role mental illness played in any of them.

Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the MTA, said in a statement that the attacks over the weekend should not be considered “normal”.

“Those who hunt New Yorkers in transit will get the message that it will not be tolerated,” he said.

The mayor’s spokesman, Fabien Levy, said that Mr Adams strongly condemned the attacks and that they “should not be generalized far and wide”.

“We should not pair such isolated acts of violence on the subway with shared statements about the behavioral and mental health challenges facing the city, or the problems facing the city,” Mr. Levy said. homeless issues that the mayor’s plan addresses.

But advocates say it was the mayor who tied public safety concerns to homeless people in a way that was both cruel and imprecise.

“Homeless people have become the scapegoat for an issue that has little to do with it,” said Josh Dean, executive director of Human.nyc, a policy organization focused on homelessness. homelessness. “And that’s not a new phenomenon.”

Subway safety has been a focus of Mr. Adams since the Democratic primaries last year, when he said during a debate, “We should have one police officer on every train.” Soon after he took office, the city began deploying 1,000 more officers in the subway system.

Two officers were on the Times Square podium last month when Martial Simon, a man with a history of severe mental illnessincluding schizophrenia, jostled Michelle Alyssa Go, 40 years oldin front of a train, killing her, he reported to the police.

Some argued that the officers’ presence that day showed that law enforcement alone could not fix what harmed the system.

Elizabeth Glazer, founder of Vital City, a nonprofit focused on public safety policy solutions, says that attacks like the ones this past weekend will be difficult to predict or solve systematically. system and there are limits to what the police can do.

“It doesn’t mean we should all get involved,” said Ms Glazer, who led the mayor’s criminal justice office under Mr. Adams’ predecessor, Bill de Blasio. “But we have to have a more stable and balanced way to address what we think is the cause of these incidents.”

Illustrating this are four attacks that took place only on Saturday, following Friday’s stabbing in Morningside Heights: Two were robberies, one was a dispute leading to robbery, and one was an unprovoked assault.

At 3 a.m. at a station in Queens, a 45-year-old man believed to be homeless by police was robbed by three men, one of whom was armed with a knife, and stabbed the victim in the thigh and buttocks.

12 hours later, at a station in east Brooklyn, a 20-year-old woman was punched in the head and stabbed in the stomach by an unidentified assailant, police said.

17 minutes later, in the Bronx, a 74-year-old man got into an argument with two teenage girls who were smoking in a train car. The girls attacked the man, police said, with one slash in his face and another pushing him to the floor. Both were arrested and charged with assault and robbery.

Finally, later that evening, a 24-year-old man was robbed by two men, one of whom stabbed the victim in the right leg, police said. Victims refuse medical attention.

The next three attacks. At about 6 p.m. Sunday, a 31-year-old man riding the No. 6 train in Lower Manhattan was unprovoked in the back and hand, police said.

On Monday, at about 12:30 a.m., a 58-year-old man was arrested by officers stationed at Franklin Avenue station, east of Parkway after swinging a helmet at a 42-year-old man whom he I was accused of staring at him. , the police said. The man has been charged with intentional assault.

Finally, at about 2:40 a.m., a 30-year-old woman riding the No. 4 train in the Bronx was approached by a man police believe to be homeless and asked her to stop talking to a friend. When she tried to ignore him, police said, he hit her in the face with a small metal pipe. She refused medical attention.

Winnie Hu and Andy Newman contribution report.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/nyregion/nyc-subway-attacks-stabbing.html NYC subway attacks show Adams challenge to face crime

Fry Electronics Team

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