Subway shooting is latest example of rising crime in NYC

Northeast

NEW YORK CITY (NewsNation) — The shooting on a New York City subway train Tuesday that left 17 people injured and many more fearing for their lives is the latest example of rising gun violence and transit crime in America’s largest city.

The incident marks the 131st mass shooting in the United States so far this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

“We say no more. No more mass shootings, no more disrupting lives, no more creating heartbreak for people just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference Tuesday.

Shooting incidents across New York City have risen in the first quarter of 2022. Through April 10, there have been 322 shootings citywide, compared to 297 through the same period last year — an 8% increase.

But compared to the same period just two years ago, shootings are up more than 70%.

Tuesday’s violence is just the latest in a number of high profile subway incidents as transit crimes in the city continue to be a major concern.

In January, 40-year-old Michelle Go was killed after being pushed in front of a train by a homeless man with a history of psychiatric issues. Just a few weeks later, a man stabbed four people, killing two of them, in attacks that spanned multiple subway trains.

There have been 580 transit crimes reported this year as of April 3, compared to 351 over the same period last year, according to NYPD data. That marks a 65% increase in reported subway crimes from 2021 to 2022.

The violence comes at a time when New Yorkers are beginning to return to mass transit following the coronavirus pandemic. But weekday subway ridership is still down and is only about 60% of what it was before the pandemic.

It can be hard to determine whether the uptick in crime is a direct a result of increased ridership. When adjusted for ridership numbers, the rate of violent crime in 2021 was significantly higher than 2019, with felony assaults up nearly 25%, according to the New York Times.

In an MSNBC interview Tuesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he would “double enforcement” on the subway system in order to ease rider apprehension following the Brooklyn shooting.

Last year, there were eight homicides on the city’s transit system, marking the highest murder tally for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in more than 25 years, according to NYPD data.

Violence on the city’s transit system has been a focal point for Adams since taking office at the start of the year. In February, the former New York City police captain and one-time transit cop unveiled his plan to clean up the subway system, vowing to add more police, mental health clinicians and social service workers into the subway.

So far, the plan has yet to slow down crime. In March alone, there were 180 transit crimes compared to 118 the year prior.

Of the transit crimes reported this year, more than 50% have been felony assaults (154) or robberies (155).

A plurality of this year’s transit incidents, 45%, are classified as grand larceny (264), more than double the number of grand larceny cases from this time in 2021 (124).

Although violent crime has increased in recent years, shootings in the city remain about 75% lower when compared to the crime wave of the 1990s. Last year, there were 488 homicides in New York City, compared to 2,262 in 1990.

The suspected shooter in Tuesday’s incident remains at large. He is described as a Black male, approximately 5-foot-5 with a heavy-set build, according to police.

Officials say the man was wearing a green “construction-type” vest and a gray hooded sweatshirt at the time of the shooting. He fled the scene.

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