• Hochul Strikes Back In P.R. War Over Subway Safety

    March 6, 2024
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    Gov. Kathy Hochul announces her subway safety program (source: YouTube screencap)

    Gov. Kathy Hochul stood in front of a phalanx of uniformed tough guys. The suits wore earpieces, their chests puffed out, eyes darting. The troops were decked out in digital camouflage. The governor talked tough about subway safety, calling for lifetime bans on repeat offenders. The subway is usually the purview of Mayor Eric Adams, who was conspicuously absent from the presser. (Adams spoke this morning on the same subject with MTA Police Chief Michael Kemper on local TV.)

    The message today was clear: the Queen of Albany has decided that she wants the credit for fixing the subway problem.

    And if she's successful, why not? Hochul will supply the State Troopers and National Guardsmen that make up the bulk of this surge, a coordinated effort that seeks to stem an ugly tide of recent violence. Mayor Adams, for all his bluster, has failed to effect positive change using the NYPD.

    Straphangers will recall that closer the beginning of his term, Adams did deploy the police on subway platforms. Given that New Yorkers had grown used to years of DeBlasio neglect, the change was welcome. But all too brief. In recent months, police have been all but invisible in the vast transit network under the streets.

    The Details: Who, When, And Why

    1,000 LEOs? Good luck with that. (Source: YouTube screencap)

    The surge consists of 1,000 troops and officers: 250 state police officers and 750 National Guardsmen. That sounds impressive until you consider the breadth of the NYC subway system. The MTA claims that it operates 472 stations, with 36 lines covering over 660 miles of track.

    The number of stations can be confusing, however. Some stations are counted twice as they act as the merge point of two lines. That said, such stations are naturally larger, with more entrances and exits.

    Woke Bag Checks? Or Stop & Frisk (Which Actually Works)

    Regardless, the subway system is a dauntingly large assignment for any peacekeeping force. Further, the way in which it's policed matters. Hochul and Adams spoke about bag checks. Consider that with 100% of Hochul's team deployed at the same time, they would barely muster two officers per station. Of course, they won't all be working at the same time. Operating in a typical three 8-hour shift setup, many stations won't see any boost whatsoever.

    More of this please. (Source: YouTube screencap)

    Woke doesn't work when it comes to crime. Will demoralized cops check bags using a racial quota? Will they single out those who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Will they correctly apply Broken Windows Theory and go after the vandals and turnstile jumpers? Will any of it matter if D.A. Alvin Bragg releases perpetrators without bail? In his appearance today, Mayor Adams rightly focused on recidivism: crime will stay high if the D.A. constantly releases criminals.

    These are the questions that matter. New Yorkers remember a safer subway experience, as recently as 2013. We can have it again. The key ingredient isn't a troop surge. It's political will.

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