Felony assaults in the New York City subway system rose about 28% in 2021 versus 2020, according to data released Monday, and the NYPD's new chief of transit promised more - and more visible - patrols soon.
The new data come as Mayor Eric Adams (a former transit cop himself) makes subway safety a hot-button topic in the early days of his administration, arguing that people have to feel safe in transit if they are going to return to their offices in a post-COVID world (a priority for him and for Gov. Kathy Hochul).
There were 461 felony assaults in 2021, versus 361 the year prior, according to NYPD data presented to an MTA meeting; murder and rape rose very slightly as well.
But property crimes fell across the board -- robberies down 8% and grand larcenies down 3%. Burglaries fell almost 75%. (In New York, burglaries generally involve entering a structure to commit a crime, whereas robberies are face-to-face confrontations.)
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“The numbers though show a slight increase… when you look at a larger perspective crimes in many areas are down," NYPD Chief of Transit Jason Wilcox, in his first day in that new role, told the meeting.
Hate crimes in the subway system also rose substantially in 2021, up 82% for the year. Hate crimes against Asian victims tripled, while hate crimes based on sexual orientation almost tripled. Most of the crimes were categorized as harassment or assault.
After the meeting, Wilcox told reporters that riders would start to see uniformed train patrols day and night.
“We are determined to make riders feel safe," Wilcox said. “You will see them."