NYC Mayor Adams vows to dismantle all subway homeless encampments
“As a former transit cop, I understand number one how dangerous these tunnels are," Adams said
By Michael Gartland
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Mayor Adams on Friday vowed to take down every single homeless encampment in New York City’s subway system, arguing they’re not only dangerous to the people living there, but also for the city as a whole.
His words came a day after Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials revealed that transit crews and homeless outreach workers found 29 homeless encampments in subway tunnels and another 89 in stations earlier this month. The encampments, officials said, collectively housed more than 350 people.
“We’re dismantling and will be dismantling every encampment in our system. Not acceptable,” Adams said during an appearance on PIX 11. “Previous administrations may have looked at this and walked past them. We’re not doing that. I am sending the right message that our subway system must be safe and reliable for our riders.”
The encampments in subway tunnels were identified by outreach workers overnight from Feb. 2 to Feb. 3, MTA officials said Thursday. Officials said they were quickly cleared out, but it’s unclear what happened to the people after they were removed from the subway’s innards.
During a separate appearance on 10110 WINS, Adams said the encampments in tunnels also reveal how vulnerable the subway system is to terrorism threats.
“As a former transit cop, I understand number one how dangerous these tunnels are, but also we should be clear that we’re balancing also terrorism in our city,” he said. “We’re still a target, and when you have those utilizing tunnel systems without any form of interaction of law enforcement, you could have a person that’s not only there to deal with the dangers of being homeless on the tracks, but you also have the potential person that’s trying to do something harmful.”
Adams and Gov. Hochul are a week into their new initiative to crack down on subway homelessness, which includes pushing some people sleeping in trains and stations to go into shelters or receive mental health treatment. Under the plan, cops will also be more strict in enforcing subway rules that ban large carts and require riders to exit stations when their trains reach the final stop.
The mayor said outreach workers have made 125 daily interactions with homeless people on the subways over the last week.
“There’s a real energy out there of rebuilding the trust that’s needed so we can remove the encampments on our subway system and send the right message that this is system that must be safe, reliable and is the place where people can commute to and from their business or education,” Adams said.
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