NYC Mayor Adams Pitches a Kinder Transit Police, Safer Trains
(Bloomberg) -- New York officials say they are changing the way the city and state police the subways and transit system by adding mental-health professionals to provide support to people experiencing homelessness as well as freeing up officers to deal with violent crime.
“If we don’t make people feel safe, I am not going to be able to attract them back here, even if their job is waiting for them. They’re going to say: ‘no, I’m going to stay remote.’ That is not sustainable,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul in a joint briefing with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell at the Fulton Street subway station in Lower Manhattan.
Hochul said she is issuing a request for proposals to form what she called “Safe Options Support Teams” -- five groups of as many as 10 trained professionals to spend time in transit stations and work with people experiencing homelessness and those with mental-health issues.
Adams, a former transit cop, said the city plans to shift more police officers to transit stations and add hundreds of additional visual inspections. Repeating a common refrain he had on the campaign trail, Adams said he wanted officers to walk inside train cars, instead of congregating inside the stations and talk to passengers to ask them how their days went, in a bid to change the perception of crime on the subways and “rebuild trust.”
He said police officers should be focusing on serious criminals, not on the homeless or “petty negative encounters with the public.”
When asked if the city or state would add more officers, Hochul and Adams said they were focused on using the current crop of officers in a more efficient manner.
Transit crime was up 106% in November 2021 from the same period a year ago, according to the most recent crime statistics from the New York City Police Department.
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