Overall crimes on New York City's subways are at 25-year low, according to the MTA. But as more people return to public transit, police say the number of thefts is increasing.
New data from the NYPD showed thefts on the subways jumped by 50% in September. Robberies also increased but the number of assaults remained the same. Subway grand larcenies went from 64 in August to 96 in September, according to NYPD statistics.
Millions of people ride the subways, buses and rails every single day and where there are people, there's an opportunity, said Lisa Daglian of the MTA Citizens Advisory Committee.
“There are more riders on board. When you have more riders you have more opportunities for more crime. Always going to be people who takes advantage of crimes of opportunity," Daglian said.
MTA board member Andrew Albert agreed, saying that he expects the number to return to normal.
"I think it's just a blip in the figures and it's going to go down because more and more people are coming back, and when that happens, crime goes down," he said.
But many riders say they still don't feel safe despite overall crimes remaining low for over two decades. Reports of an increase in assaults on the subways over the spring and summer alarmed straphangers and led the NYPD to add more police officers on the subway.
Investigators are currently searching for a man who struck a 23-year-old subway rider with a glass bottle at the 28th Street station on Monday after the two exchanged words. Another man, 26, was stabbed in the stomach on Saturday near the entrance of the A, C, E lines at West 3 Street and Sixth Avenue, police said. The search for the attacker is also ongoing.
Earlier this year, the MTA finished installing security cameras at all 472 subway stations in order to deter crimes and help catch those who commit them. Now officials are considering redesigning subway turnstiles to make it more difficult for people to evade paying the fare.