Wagswoofs – NYPD police officers earned over $150 million in overtime for their enhanced subway patrols this year. This investment seems to have paid off, as recent data indicates a decline in felony crime rates, despite an increase in subway ridership in 2023.
According to data obtained by Gothamist, the department spent a whopping $10 million on overtime for cops patrolling the city’s underground in 2023. This is a significant increase from the $4 million spent in 2022.
According to the latest data obtained by The Post, there has been a 2 percent decline in felony crimes reported in the transit system this year. So far, 2,194 felony crimes have been reported, compared to 2,245 at this point in 2022.
According to a Manhattan police officer, the significant presence of law enforcement has played a crucial role in reducing crime rates. In his words, “committing a crime in front of a police officer would require a person to be either incredibly foolish or extremely desperate.”
According to the latest statistics, updated on Sunday, December 17, there has been a significant decrease in crimes committed on the rails. Murders have dropped from 10 to 5, while rapes have declined from 11 to 4. Additionally, robberies have decreased from 582 to 521, and grand larcenies have remained steady at 1,096. These encouraging statistics highlight the efforts made to ensure the safety and security of rail passengers.
Burglaries have doubled from 7 to 14, while felony assaults have seen a slight increase of almost 3 percent, rising from 539 to 554 incidents so far this year.
There has been a significant increase in misdemeanor assaults, with a rise of approximately 19 percent. Additionally, there has been a notable spike of nearly 27 percent in petit larcenies.
Subway ridership has surged to 1.1 billion commuters this year, up from 976 million last year. Surprisingly, despite the increase in ridership, the system’s overall per capita crime rate has actually dropped by 14 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year.
Since Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul introduced their subway safety plan last year in response to a series of high-profile attacks on the rails, there has been an increase in the presence of uniformed police officers in the subway system. These officers have also been working additional overtime hours to ensure the safety of commuters.
In addition to managing the homeless population living in stations and trains, the plan was also intended to address this issue.
According to Joshua Florsheim, the executive director of the Management and Budget Analysis Section of the NYPD, the state has reimbursed the city for approximately $62 million of the $151 million it provided as part of the initiative called Cops, Cameras and Care.
John Lindsay, spokesperson for Hochul, expressed in a statement on Friday that they acknowledge the need for further efforts and will persist in making investments to guarantee the safety of every New Yorker during their rides.
John McCarthy, the MTA Chief of External Relations, also highlighted the decrease in crime as a contributing factor to the increased number of commuters.
According to him, “The increase in subway safety has led to a significant rise in ridership and a decline in crime statistics in 2023.”
However, on Friday, a police source raised doubts about whether the increased presence of the NYPD in the system will truly be effective in the long term.
According to an anonymous source, simply having police officers present in subway stations without giving them the authority and support to enforce the law will not bring about any significant changes. The source emphasized the importance of empowering and supporting law enforcement in order to effectively address the issues at hand.
One law enforcement source raised concerns about the effectiveness of allocating millions of extra funds for overtime. According to The Post, this source suggested that it would have been more prudent to prioritize stations and train lines that are considered more dangerous.
A source emphasized the need for a change in strategy, suggesting that rather than relying on an influx of patrol officers on mandatory overtime, the police department should direct its attention towards addressing crime and disorder in specific subway stations and lines.
Riders, on the other hand, remain unconvinced and are calling for increased police presence.
According to a recent MTA ridership survey conducted in November, over 60% of subway riders expressed their desire to see an increased presence of police officers in the system. Conversely, around 30% of respondents felt that the current number of officers was adequate, while a mere 10% believed there were too many officers.
Rosa, a woman who preferred to be identified only by her first name, expressed her concerns about the safety of riding the subway in an interview with The Post on Friday.
The woman recounted how a stranger had taken a seat beside her during her train journey. To her surprise, the stranger continued to follow her even after she had disembarked at Flushing Avenue.
“At 2 in the afternoon, there were no police officers in sight. Instead, I observed them engrossed in their phones, seemingly disengaged from their duty.”
Commuter Sarah Cora, 23, an engineer residing in Manhattan, expressed her belief that the increased presence of officers in the subway system fails to address the primary problem areas.
According to Cora, the police officers seem to be primarily stationed by the turnstiles, which she finds to be a less effective use of their time and resources. She believes that the real issues and incidents tend to occur on the trains themselves, rather than at the entrance. Cora questions the value of allocating significant funds towards having officers simply stand by the turnstiles without actively patrolling the trains.
“They should prioritize protecting the people rather than ensuring the MTA receives their $2.90.”
Jimmy Hogan, a 60-year-old UPS delivery man residing in Manhattan, expressed similar sentiments.
According to Hogan, there has not been a significant increase in police presence to warrant such a surge in overtime.
“When I see police officers on the subway, they are usually standing together without taking any action. I’ve witnessed people jumping turnstiles right in front of them, yet they do nothing. It seems like their hands are tied and they are unable to intervene.”
In a statement to The Post on Friday night, Hizzoner highlighted the city’s efforts to enhance subway safety.
He also expressed his gratitude to Hochul and the MTA for their collaboration in achieving this progress and their dedication to further enhancing it in 2024.