NYC Cops Stop Small Crimes in Their Tracks
New York Daily News
Cops are stopping subway thugs before they even get to the subway.
A crackdown on turnstile jumpers, who are likelier than most riders to commit crimes, has led to a 13% decline in subway crime this year, police said.
"It's a safe system, probably the safest in the world," Transit Bureau Chief Henry Cronin said.
"We send a message that order is going to be maintained, starting right at the turnstiles. It's the attention to minor things that started years ago that has turned this city around," Cronin said.
From January through Wednesday, there were 3,013 felonies - fewer than nine a day - compared with 3,479 during the same time period last year.
There were four murders and three reported rapes, up slightly from last year, but crime dropped significantly in the other major categories: robbery, assault, burglary and grand larceny, which generally refers to pickpockets lifting wallets from straphangers.
Cops attributed the decline to a strategy of stopping would-be thugs "at the gate." Transit cops made more than 14,000 fare evasion arrests this year, an increase of 23% over last year.
Police also are doing more checks to see whether fare beaters or rule violators, such as smokers, are wanted on warrants. Transit police made more than 5,700 arrests of people wanted on warrants, 116 of them for serious crimes - an increase of 44%.
"It's obvious that what has happened is the strategies developed by the NYPD, with us, are working," Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow said.
Riders said they feel safe during the daytime, but some said they remain a little fearful of late-night or early-morning train rides.
"Overall, it's pretty safe," said Camille Delices, 27, a television engineer from the South Bronx. ". . . But late at night, I feel a little wary. You don't see as many cops as you want to on the trains."
Todd Flathman, 35, a bartender from SohHo, prefers cabs to trains in the wee hours but has no fear otherwise.
"I don't really sweat it," he said.