New NYPD transit chief vows more cops on subway trains, platforms to make riders feel safer
Straphangers can expect to see more cops on subway trains and platforms in an effort to make “riders feel safer,” the NYPD’s new Transit Bureau Chief Jason Wilcox said Monday.
Wilcox — who was named to the post by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell last week — said it’s “paramount” for subway riders to feel safe amid a surge of high-profile crimes on the transit system, including the murder of Michelle Go, who earlier this month was shoved in front of a subway train at Times Square by a mentally ill homeless man.
The push comes after NYPD data released last week revealed 2021 saw the highest number of assaults in the subways since 1997 — and the most murders in at least 25 years.
“There’s the statistical reality, and then there’s the perception,” Wilcox said at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee meeting. “We’re going to address both. … We are going to continue to reinforce what transit cops know and do better than anybody: Uniformed train patrols. They will be on the trains. They will be on the platforms. They will be moving around Saturday night, Monday night, every day. You will see them.”
Wilcox did not specify how many additional police officers would be deployed into the subways. His announcement comes a year after the NYPD surged 500 extra cops into the subways after a mentally ill homeless man went on a rampage last February, stabbing four people — two fatally — during a horrifying 14-hour stretch.
But MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said this time was different.
“There was an additional number of cops in the system [last year], but the commitment to reinstitute train patrol, as the chief has said, as the centerpiece of the NYPD strategy for how to manage crime and safety in the subway system is a new development from my standpoint, and very welcome,” Lieber told reporters. “We need cops on platforms. We need cops on trains. Those are places where people feel vulnerable, and they are vulnerable.”
Wilcox’s announcement came the same day Mayor Adams laid out a citywide strategy aimed at cracking down on gun violence after two police officers were shot in Harlem Friday, leaving one dead and another in critical condition. That strategy includes spot checks for firearms at bus and train stations across the city, the mayor said.