Riding the trains has, for so many New Yorkers, become an exercise in self-defense. Some carry pepper spray and most avoid eye contact.
Diane English has her own strategy.
“I pray. I pray my travel time there and back,” English said.
She prays that she won’t fall victim to an act of violence.
On Wednesday night, the transit authority rolled out a new initiative aimed at fighting crime on subways themselves which, unlike the platforms and stations, don’t have surveillance cameras onboard.
Now, the MTA will install them in a hundred cars.
Richard Davey is the president of New York City Transit, which has installed cameras on 4,000 buses, but no trains.
“In our most recent customer survey data, it’s clear our bus customers feel more safe than our subway customers,” Davey said.
It comes a day after the assault of a transit officer, patrolling a 3 train, alone, in East New York, Brooklyn.
Mayor Eric Adams had ordered the NYPD to institute solo patrols to increase visibility across the system.
The officer was unhurt, but on Wednesday, the mayor evolved his plan. Now, cops can patrol as pairs again, but must spread out.
“Two goals. One, omnipresent, two, make sure our officers are as safe as possible,” Adams said.
But even the largest police department in the country can’t put a cop everywhere.
The Transit Authority hopes adding cameras aboard trains will provide another layer of safety during a scary time.
They say it isn’t sure if the cameras will help deter criminals but think they will help solve individual crimes, and ultimately, they hope it makes people feel a little better about riding the train.
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