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NYC subway crackdown starts with 143 arrests, 1,500 tickets

March 3, 2022 Michelle L. Price, Associated Press
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New York City police arrested 143 people in the city’s subways and removed 455 people from trains and stations in the first week of a crackdown on crime and the presence of homeless people in the transit system.

Mayor Eric Adams’ office said the arrests and removals came as officers were enforcing subway rules barring smoking, drinking, sleeping across train seats, behaving aggressively and riding without paying fares. Officers also issued 1,553 tickets for rule violations.

Adams, a Democrat who took office earlier this year, announced in February an aggressive effort to make the subways feel safer by sending teams of officers into stations and trains, along with social workers to connect homeless people with shelters, food banks and other services.

City Hall said outreach teams connected 22 people in the first week with shelters.

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“We are days into the first part of a long-term effort to connect New Yorkers to services and set them on a path to permanent housing and stability. The systemic challenges facing people experiencing homelessness and living with serious mental illness developed over decades, and will take time to fix. But our teams are down in the subways everyday operationalizing and implementing this plan,” Adams said in a statement. “New Yorkers should know that we are working every day to make our subways safer.”

The mayor has been responding to a string of high-profile violent incidents in subways, including a woman who was pushed to her death in front of a train in January, along with several stabbings in recent weeks.

Last week, police arrested a man who approached a woman sitting on a bench inside a Bronx subway station and without warning, struck her in the face and head with human feces.

Adams says the city must tackle crime but also perceptions that make the city and subway feel unsafe. He’s cited people sleeping or acting aggressively on trains as something that creates a general feeling of disorder.

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