(NewsNation) — The New York Police Department (NYPD) is doubling down on its efforts to curb violent crime on the city’s subway system amid a recent surge of attacks.
In the last two weeks, there have been three killings on the city’s public transportation system — two in the subway and one on a city bus.
Felony crimes on the New York City subway are up nearly 42% compared to last year, according to NYPD crime data.
Homicides have risen and are on pace to hit the highest annual total in 25 years. Seven people have been killed in the city’s subway system so far this year. In all of last year, eight people were killed.
The rise in violent crime has occurred despite the fact overall ridership numbers remain well below pre-pandemic levels.
Experts say fewer riders can lead to more opportunities for criminals.
“More people around serves as a deterrent for crime,” said Liam Blank, the policy & communications manager for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign — a nonprofit fighting for sustainable mobility in New York.
Under Mayor Eric Adams’ orders, the NYPD implemented a transit safety plan at the beginning of the year. The department reassigned officers to patrol subway platforms and ride trains, but now the NYPD acknowledges it needs to do more.
“We have to deter and prevent this activity and we have to apprehend the offenders when it happens so we have to do more, and we will,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
As part of its updated plan, the NYPD will deploy more officers to patrol the subway system in the evening and late night hours when most of the crime occurs.
“We remain committed to ensure that our public transit riders are not only safe but that they feel safe, too,” said NYPD Deputy Chief Jason Wilcox.
As of this week, weekday ridership numbers on the New York City subway are about 60% of what they were before the pandemic.