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MTA chairman blasts NYPD for ‘unacceptable’ drop in subway arrests

MTA chairman blasts NYPD for 'unacceptable' drop in subway arrests

The MTA is blaming the NYPD for rising subway crime rates — accusing cops of failing to show up when riders need them most.

NYPD stats from the first nine months of 2020 show dramatic drops in police activity on the subway, even as underground crimes continue despite depleted ridership.

Arrests are down 63.5 percent year-over-year, while summonses are down 60 percent. The drops are even more dramatic for the month of September, when arrests and summonses were down 79.6 and 87.7 percent, respectively, compared to 12 months prior.

“The significant declines in arrests and summonses, given the [crime] activity in the subways, is inexplicable and unacceptable,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye told reporters after Wednesday’s agency board meeting.

“We’re cognizant of the pressure [that] is on the Police Department given the environment related to COVID, financial issues, pressures on people in the city, but our partners at the NYPD — we need a more significant and effective presence.”

Despite ridership down 70 percent or more since the COVID-19 pandemic began, overall felonies have dropped just 24 percent year-over-year — while murders, rapes and burglaries have all increased.

Where the system saw two murders through September 2019, there were five over the same period in 2020. Rapes increased from three to five. Burglaries jumped from five last year to 22 this year.

And last month saw almost as many felony assaults on the system as September 2019, despite vastly fewer straphangers.

Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg
Interim Transit President Sarah FeinbergDan Herrick

Interim Transit President Sarah Feinberg said she believes the subway is still “absolutely safe.”

But she said the crimes that are taking place can be “life-changing.”

“Some of these crimes that take place in our system and across the city are life-changing. And so we shouldn’t be satisfied just because the numbers are relatively small overall,” Feinberg told reporters.

“We count on our partners at the NYPD to be in the system,” Feinberg said. “History shows us that people are less likely to [commit a crime] if there’s a uniformed presence on the platform or in the station or close by.”

The NYPD has not sent a representative to discuss crime stats with the MTA board since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

“As riders increasingly return to the subways, overall crime in the system has dropped,” NYPD Transit Chief Edward Delatorre said in a statement.

“I’m concerned about the follow-through. There needs to be a significant and effective means to keep dangerous repeat offenders out of our subway system.”

Additional reporting by Tina Moore

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James Thompson has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Report Door one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

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