It’s no secret that the MTA’s subway service is an essential part of almost every New Yorker’s daily commute. But what happens when local residents feel unsafe during their morning or late night rides?
Since the start of the year, there has been a surge in crime in the city’s underground service. During the week of February 21, 55 major crimes were reported on the subway, according to the NYPD.
In some of these cases, it has been homeless people accused of committing the crimes, and, as a result, Mayor Eric Adams has said he wants to completely remove the homeless riders residing in the subway system. In February, he told The New York Daily News that at least 29 homeless encampments had been found in the MTA’s subway tunnels.
However, little has been offered in the way of a solution around where the homeless will go, if moved.
Brooklyn resident Stacy Hecht, who frequently rides the subway, said she had started taking some safety precautions in light of recent random attacks underground. She said now when she gets on a train she removes either both or at least one of her headphones. “If anything from time-to-time I have my one headphone but yeah, it’s a scary thing I was super aware of it.”
Brooklyn student Karla Ramirez said she had started to feel unsafe both on her commutes to college and her part-time job. “I sometimes work late so I would have to be aware of my surroundings, ” Ramirez said. “You just never know because it’s very unexpected, these things have been crazy.”
Other local residents, who preferred not to be named, acknowledged the issue, but said removing homeless people from the subway system wasn’t “a sustainable solution for anybody.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Adams said the City could not force anyone to stay at a homeless shelter, but did not propose any alternatives.
“We can’t stop an individual from sleeping on the street based on law, and we’re not going to violate that law,” he said, “But you cant make a miniature house made out of cardboard.
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