MANHATTAN – Are New York City’s subways on track to return to the bad old days? That’s the question many are wondering as crime underground rises across the five boroughs— with crime rates on the Upper East Side doubling year-to-year, fueled by a rise in thefts.
“I’ve barely taken the subway at all since the pandemic,” says Lindsay, a 29-year-old Upper East Sider who works in marketing.
“It’s not Covid I’m worried about, it’s the crime,” she added.
While the statistics sound staggering, a review of NYPD CompStat data shows there were a total fourteen crimes reported in Upper East Side subway stations through April 17th— twice as many reported in the same period last year.
The sharp increase in crime at UES subway stations is driven primarily by grand larcenies, which police say is up nineteen percent citywide, and is mostly the result of snatch-and-run thefts
“To those listening, just please stay alert when looking at your cell phones in the subway,” NYPD Chief of Transit Jason Wilcox at Monday’s MTA Board meeting.
“Stay focused and see what is going on around you or who may be getting close to you,” Chief Wilcox added.
Violence on the subway is also deeply concerning says the NYPD, pointing to a thirty-three percent increase in felony assaults underground this year.
“Many of these assault incidents have started as a dispute, a bump, a shove, a shoe stepped on or an argument over a seat that then quickly escalated to violence,” said Chief Wilcox.
In response to rising crime, the NYPD implemented a new subway safety plan earlier this year, tasking local above-ground precinct officers with heading into the stations to increase the police presence on platforms and subway trains.
However, those added patrols arent enough to get Lindsay to ride the subway more often.
“If it takes a little longer or is a little less direct to take the bus or ferry versus subway,” Lindsay says, “I’m still taking the bus or ferry.”