NYC Transit Authority Requests Increase in Police Officers

February 17, 2021Maggie BenZvi
nyc transit authority police

NEW YORK – JUNE 29: Woman waiting on platform on June 29, 2012 in NYC. The NY Subway is one of the oldest and most extensive public transportation systems in the world, with 468 stations. Adobe Stock.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has requested a substantial increase in the number of police officers assigned to the New York Police Department Transit Bureau in the wake of a rise in subway crime and a gruesome serial stabbing last weekend.

At Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s public briefing on Monday, interim president of New York City Transit Sarah Feinberg and CEO of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Pat Foye called for a total increase of 1,500 officers between the MTA and the NYPD. Five hundred NYPD officers were temporarily surged into the subway system over the weekend.

Feinberg said they have made this request to Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea more than 30 times in the last 18 months, including many times before the COVID-19 crisis caused a partial shutdown of the subway system. 

“It was the right call then, and it remains the right call now,” Foye said.

nyc transit authority police
Stairs in the Times Square–42nd Street station painted with the slogan, “If you see something, say something.” Photo by Steven Lek/Wikipedia.

Despite opposition from some progressive politicians and transit advocates who believe the plan would unfairly criminalize the poor and cost $1 billion over the next 10 years, the agency began hiring 500 MTA police officers prior to the overnight shutdowns that began in May 2020. But the MTA only managed to hire 168 officers before the hiring process was frozen. 

Feinberg and Foye believe the increase is especially crucial now that the MTA is beginning a phased reopening of the subways. Currently the system, which formerly ran 24 hours, is shut down for extensive cleaning from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Under the new plan, starting Feb. 22, the subway will stay open until 2 a.m. and reopen at 4 a.m.

The need for additional officers was brought into sharper focus after Rigoberto Astwood Lopez was arrested Saturday for allegedly stabbing four homeless subway riders beginning the previous morning, killing two. Lopez, who is homeless himself, has been charged with murder and attempted murder. 

Recent weeks have shown an increase in subway crime, including a man who serially assaulted women in a Brooklyn train station and five knifings in one week. Despite a 70% drop in ridership in 2020, crime rates actually rose from the previous year.

Read Next: Inside the Coast Guard’s Mass Rescue of Stranded Ice Fishermen on Wisconsin’s Sturgeon Bay

Maggie BenZvi
Maggie BenZvi

Maggie BenZvi is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and has worked for the ACLU as well as the International Rescue Committee. She has also completed a summer journalism program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to her work at Coffee or Die, she’s a stay-at-home mom and, notably, does not drink coffee. Got a tip? Get in touch!

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved