By Clayton Guse
New York Daily News
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NEW YORK — Subway conductors have been directed to alert riders when police officers are aboard trains or on platforms, according to an internal MTA memo obtained by the Daily News.
The Oct. 4 mandate is among the latest efforts by Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders to make straphangers feel safer as subway crime remains up from pre-pandemic levels.
“A New York City police officer is on board and will be patrolling this train,” conductors are instructed to announce on loudspeakers when uniformed cops board their trains. The memo tells conductors to repeat the announcement at several points along their route while the cops remain aboard.
Conductors must also tell riders when a train pulls into a subway platform where uniformed cops are on patrol. And when a train pulls into one of 11 stations where NYPD Transit bureau precincts are located, conductors are directed to recite, “If you have questions or need to report an issue to the police, the NYPD is located at this station.”
The new policy also required conductors to alert riders to temporary delays caused by police officers conducting inspections of subway trains. Those inspections — called Train Operation Maintenance inspections, or TOMs — are designed to take a minute or less, and involve several police officers temporarily stepping into subway trains to check for illegal activity.
“This initiative is part of an ongoing, aggressive effort from Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams to make sure riders both are and feel safe,” said NYC Transit president Richard Davey. “Since not every person on a 10-car train can see an entire platform or inside every subway car, this initiative directs conductors to let riders know when police officers are present in a station so they know they’re there to help and that any issues or concerns can be reported in a timely manner.”
An NYPD spokesperson encouraged “riders to immediately report any condition they observe so that officers can quickly respond and take corrective action” when the announcements are made on trains.
The new policy comes as subway ridership remains down more than 35% from pre-pandemic levels, while NYPD data show subway crime in many categories has spiked. The fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy aboard an A train in Queens Friday marked the seventh murder in the system so far this year, up from two during the same period of 2019.
Cops reported 17 people were shot in the subway system during the first 10 months of 2022, up from two over the same period of 2019. There were nine rapes in the subway system during the same period this year, tripling the rate reported in 2019. Felony assaults in the subways are up 56% this year from 2019 and robberies are up 16%, NYPD data show.
Police reported five burglaries in the subway so far this year, one less than the same period three years ago. And data show grand larcenies are also down from the first 10 months of 2019, from 1,143 to 838.
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