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N.Y. governor to send national guard, state police into subway system to combat rising crime

Gov. Kathy Hochul also announced proposals to add random bag searches, install cameras in conductor cabs and ban anyone convicted of an assault on transit from the system for 3 years


Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks along side MTA CEO and Chairman Janno Lieber Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

Barry Williams/TNS

By Evan Simko-Bednarski, Thomas Tracy, Chris Sommerfeldt and David Cruz
New York Daily News

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Hochul is deploying 750 members of the New York National Guard and 250 state and MTA police officers to NYC subway stations to inspect passenger bags following a spate of violent incidents across the system.

Hochul’s announcement on Wednesday is part of a series of actions she outlined on Wednesday to combat crime in the subways. Among them is beefing up the number of teams responding to people in mental distress on subways and directing the MTA to install cameras in conductor cabs and on platforms facing conductor windows.

“My five-point plan will rid our subways of violent offenders and protect all commuters and transit workers,” Hochul said. “I am sending a message to all New Yorkers: I will not stop working to keep you safe and restore your peace of mind whenever you walk through those turnstiles.”

The Transport Workers Union has been against cameras in conductor cabs citing privacy concerns. The MTA said last week they’re doing it anyway.

The governor made the announcement Wednesday morning alongside MTA chair Janno Lieber, state police and National Guard officials.

Hochul also announced a proposal to ban anyone convicted of an assault on transit from the system for 3 years.

The NYPD is fighting a 16% jump in assaults at city subway stops and trains.

As of Sunday, the city has seen 97 assaults in the subway system this year, 13 more than by this time last year. There were three murders in the city subways in the first two months of the year, cops said.

Recent subway assaults include a bloody scene in Brooklyn when a commuter slashed MTA conductor Alton Scott in the neck as the 59-year-old MTA employee stuck his head out of the conductor’s window at the Rockaway Ave. station in Bedford - Stuyvesant.

There were no cameras on the platform facing the conductor cab during the most recent slashing.

Two weeks ago, a man was fatally shot while on board a southbound B train in the Bronx. On Tuesday, police arrested a man for allegedly stabbing a passenger onboard an uptown A train in what cops described as a hate crime.

Earlier Wednesday, Mayor Adams — who did not join Hochul at the announcement — said the NYPD will also step up bag checks in the subway system.

Neither the mayor nor City Hall would say at which stations the ramped up bag checks will take place. City Hall did say there will be 94 bag screening teams deployed to 136 stations each week.

“They’re going to be a seven-day-a-week operation,” NYPD Transit Chief Michael Kemper said in a Wednesday morning appearance with Adams on CBS New York.

Adams said the checks will be “random” and that the Police Department won’t engage in any “profiling.”

“People who don’t want their bags checked can turn around and not enter the system,” he said.


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