Despite a spate of high-profile subway crimes including slashings that garnered headlines, the first month of 2016 was the safest since the NYPD began keeping records, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday.
But authorities still offered a warning to subway snoozers: "Subways are not for sleeping," Bratton said.
The NYPD will add more officers to subway patrols and those cops will wake riders who take naps on the subway, Bratton said. The commissioner says he realizes people are tired when they get off work. But he says subway snoozing puts riders at a higher risk of sexual assault and pickpocketing.
But it's not enough to stay alert, according to a 19-year-old man who was violently robbed on the A train Tuesday night.
The man named Nicholas, who did not want to show his face out of concerns for his safety, was riding an empty A train car and approaching Fulton Street when five men walked into his subway car.
"They put a knife to my neck. And I kind of make the move out of the way, and I was like, take whatever you want and just leave my ID," he told NBC 4 New York Wednesday. "The guy's like pushing back the knife in his pocket and he just choked me and punched me in the face."
Nick said he was knocked out cold and he woke up half an hour later on the train, at the 190th Street station. He ran upstairs to the station and reported the incident to police.
His advice for riders is to surround themselves with other people and stay in cars occupied by other straphangers.
"You have to be careful out there, because you never know what could happen, especially in the night," he said.
On Thursday morning police said a woman went to the hospital Wednesday night after she was poked in the arm by a man who was next to her at the 49th Street subway station on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. She said she felt a poke on her right shoulder just before 6:30 p.m. When she went home, she and her husband discovered a small wound. A doctor at Mt. Sinai Hospital said that it may be a puncture wound possibly caused by a needle prick.
And on Wednesday, police announced they were looking for suspects in two other violent subway attacks, one in which a man allegedly slashed a 3 train rider over the left eye in Harlem Sunday and another in which a robber slashed one victim in the hand on the C train and punched another on the 4 train.
A man said he woke up on the C train Tuesday morning to find a man with bright red hair standing over him with a razor. The victim said his jeans had been cut around his left pocket in an attempted robbery. He tried to restrain the suspect but was punched in the face. The suspect fled and is still on the loose.
Still the mayor and commissioners were touting crimes stats at record low. NYPD officials said there were 22 homicides in January — down from 40 for the same time period in 2015. Shootings also dropped in the city by 34 percent, de Blasio said.
By comparison, there were 51 homicides in Chicago in January. That's more than double New York’s January tally even though that city's population of about 2.7 million residents is less than one-third that of New York City's 8.4 million inhabitants.
There were 352 homicides in New York City in 2015.
But there was one category where a notable increase was tallied: felony assaults, driven, in part, by an uptick in attacks on police officers and straphangers in the subway system.
There were a total of 251 assaults in the city in January, an 18 percent increase, authorities said.
There were 37 assaults in the subway system, 12 of which were assaults on police officers, NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Joseph Fox said.
There were 10 slashings and stabbings on subway riders, one of which was a completely random attack, Fox said. The nine other attacks were either robberies or the result of a dispute, according to Fox.