The NYPD announced that 500 more police officers will be patrolling New York City’s subway stations after four attacks in the past 24 hours resulted in two deaths.
“We will immediately commence a surge of officers to patrol both above and below grounds to ensure that everyone that rides on our transit system on a daily basis not only is safe, but just as importantly, feels safe,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a news conference Saturday afternoon.
“This surge will result in an additional 500 officers, which is a significant increase in the staffing of our transit bureau, and they will be deployed immediately throughout New York City.”
Shortly before midnight on Friday, an adult male was pronounced deceased after being stabbed in the neck and torso on the A train.
About two hours later in the early hours of Saturday, an unconscious 45-year-old female with multiple stab wounds was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.
A 67-year-old man and a 43-year-old individual were also stabbed on the A train in the last 24 hours, though their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.
NYPD Chief of Transit Kathleen O’Reilly said Saturday that at least three of the incidents appear to be connected and the department is looking into whether all four stabbings were committed by the same individual.
The slashings that occurred Friday and Saturday morning come after a spate of seemingly random attacks in NYC’s subway stations.
Despite a precipitous drop in ridership due to the coronavirus pandemic, violent crimes such as assault, rape, and homicide increased through mid-November last year compared to 2019, according to the New York Times.
Despite the increase in crime, Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted this week that the subways “have gotten safer and safer” compared to even more recent years.
“We had an incredible and total disruption in 2020, our entire lives are turned upside down, a global pandemic, a perfect storm,” de Blasio said at a news conference Tuesday.
“I am convinced that we can make sure the subways are safe and that more and more people are going to come back to the subways, and if we need to shift NYPD personnel more to the subways, we absolutely will.”
NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg and TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano issued a joint statement Saturday condemning the “recent horrifying attacks in the subway system.”
“We have been calling on the city to add more police to the system, and to do more to assist those who desperately need mental health assistance,” Feinberg and Utano said Saturday. “We are demanding that additional resources be put into the system to address this challenge immediately.”