New York’s ex-cop mayor wants to flood the city’s subway system with more cops, despite the fact that overall serious crime on the subway is at its lowest point in years.
Eric Adams, who once got his bag patrolling as a subway cop, announced with Gov., Kathy Hochul, that they would join forces to try to improve the perception of subway safety. Hocul will direct the state to send teams of social workers and medical professionals to help the numerous New Yorkers who live in the subways as a means of staying off the streets.
For Adams? It’s all about the cops. Per the NY Times’ story on the new program, he said cops would help improve the public’s perception that the subway was safe. Which leads to the question: which public is he talking about?
But not all riders agree. Cariahnna Collazo, 26, a sociology student at CUNY School of Professional Studies who lives in Queens, questioned whether Mr. Adams’s initiative was necessary.
“I don’t feel unsafe, and I don’t necessarily know if people want more of a police presence,” she said, standing at the Fulton Center subway complex in Lower Manhattan. “The people I know personally feel like when there’s more police on the train they are more uptight.”
But subway policing has not been without controversy in New York, particularly amid yearslong conversations about racial bias in law enforcement. A plan by Mr. Cuomo to deploy hundreds of additional officers in 2019 to tackle fare evasion prompted a debate over aggressive policing, with criminal-justice reform activists arguing that Mr. Cuomo was unfairly targeting poor New Yorkers.
In January 2020, the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, said that she was investigating whether the police were discriminating against people of color in enforcing fare evasion on subways and buses. The investigation remains ongoing, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Adams–who hasn’t stopped saying questionable things since he took office a week ago–said transit cops won’t be making unnecessary stops or acting aggressively in their stepped up patrols. But will they follow mask rules or harass people who remind them they aren’t?
Unsurprisingly, criminal justice reformers are skeptical.