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Adams, Hochul announce plan to make subways safer

State and city agencies will assist people in need of psychiatric care through syndication in government and other basic security measures

October 24, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Mayor Eric Adams and his administration hosted a high-level summit this past weekend to seek consensus from different groups regarding public safety in the city, and the subways are top priority. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Adams announced new areas of collaboration to prevent crimes on transit, “Cops, Cameras, Care” – the government’s new safety plan.

“My number one priority as Governor is keeping New Yorkers safe in the streets, in their homes, in their schools, and on the subway, and we will do whatever it takes to make our subways safer for riders,” said Gov. Hochul.

“Our expanded subway safety strategy of Cops, Cameras, and Care will crack down on subway crime, help those experiencing homelessness get the support they need to get out of the system, and alleviate concerns of riders to ensure New Yorkers feel safer throughout the subway system. Building on our ongoing collaboration with the city, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Mayor and the NYPD to deliver the safety and security New Yorkers deserve.”

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MTA police will be deployed to the city’s major transit hubs, including Penn Station, Grand Central, Jamaica Station and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. The MTA cops’ new posts will free up to 100 NYPD officers for a deterrent “omnipresence of officers in the transit system,” said Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul in a joint statement.

Original plans to install cameras in every subway car are still being carried out, and the MTA says this will enhance confidence among riders. After the MTA officers are deployed, the subway conductors will announce when the subway arrives in a station with police presence. The Office of Mental Health will continue to collaborate with the NYPD and MTA – under Gov. Hochul’s mandate – to create Transition to Home Units (THU): temporary or short-term housing for individuals living with mental illness or in need of the services the OMH provides in psychopharmacological care.

“The Transition to Home Inpatient Units will provide individuals with recovery-oriented, person-centered care towards the goal of obtaining an enriched life in the community,” said Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, speaks during a New York State Police graduation ceremony at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Albany, N.Y. The 211th basic school session graduated 218 new troopers. AP Photo/Hans Pennink

“Additionally, a new Community Residential Step-Down Program will be available to those who need more structure and support in reintegrating to the community. It will consist of semi-independent, short-term housing with intensive recovery services designed to teach the life skills needed to successfully live in a more independent setting. These new programs will benefit from the Safe Options Support Teams which have already been actively engaging homeless individuals living with mental illness.”

The first of the THUs will be launched at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center by November 1, according to the governor and mayor’s office statements as of press time Sunday. The second THU program will be launched sometime early next year. The total transitional space slated for the Community Residential Step-Down Program is a total of 60 beds and 15 units spread across four locations.

Additionally, the OMH will work with emergency responders like EMS/EMT, the MTA Police and NYPD to better educate them on statutory practices regarding the transport of people in need of psychiatric illness, as well as general skill and best practices for those who are engaging with the street population experiencing mental illness.

Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner of the NYPD said Sunday, “The NYPD and the MTA are proud partners in the ongoing work to keep all of those who use our subway trains and stations safe.”

“Utilizing seamless collaboration, police omnipresence, and proactive communications with the riding public, we will deepen our ability to ensure a safer transit system — and a safer city.”

Mayor Adams appeared on Fox’s Good Day New York Friday morning to speak with Rosanna Scotto and Bianca Peters, focusing on the city’s recent spikes in crime. Rather than directly attribute statistics, which indicate a decrease in some types of crime but an increase in other types, Adams told Scotto that public safety is about the general mood and collective impression that New Yorkers experience that matters, “This is what I learned in my early days of policing,” said Adams.

Later that afternoon on Friday at around 3:30 p.m., a 32-year-old man had been pushed onto the L-Train subway tracks at Myrtle-Wyckoff station in Brooklyn. He was left temporarily stunned but was not harmed, according to the New York Post.

“This effort will help with two things New Yorkers desperately want: The addition of hundreds of additional strategically deployed officers on our trains and help to those suffering from serious mental health illness so they can find a way out of the subway system,” said Mayor Eric Adams.

“We must address both the perception and reality of safety, and the expanded partnership we are announcing today with Governor Hochul will do just that, while building off the successes of our Subway Safety Plan. The bottom line is that riders will see more officers in the system, and so will those thinking of breaking the law.”

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, we’re thankful for this state investment that will make our subways safer.”

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