After an uptick in recent crimes reported throughout the New York City subway system, officials announced Wednesday a plan to boost the NYPD’s presence on trains while also giving officers a better way to communicate above and underground.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Wednesday afternoon the city has begun increasing subway patrols on the MTA system and will continue to boost police presence on and off the trains.
“Our job is not just to keep the city safe, but keep it safer above ground and below ground,” de Blasio said.
According to NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill, an average of six million people ride the subway each day and the transit system sees about six-and-a-half major crimes per day — with 65 percent being grand larcenies.
O’Neill added that the police’s obligation is to keep the people safe but also make sure each rider continues to feel safe while riding the trains.
The increased presence will include additional uniformed officers on trains, platforms, at turnstiles and entrances, and there will also be plainclothes officers riding trains and performing platform inspections.
In addition, 60 extra police officers will be assigned to the Time Square subway station and there will also be canine units patrolling the subways as well.
“We do our best to keep the public free from fear,” O’Neill said. “This is the way we do it, this is the way we ease fear.”
Along with increasing police presence throughout the subway system, the NYPD has also begun to roll out a new radio system that will allow officers on the street to communicate with their counterparts under ground.
“You can have faith that whenever a new problem arises, a new solution will be found… We are never going to go back to those bad old days,” de Blasio said.
According to authorities, previously cops would “go dark” when entering the subway system and there would be no ability for officers to communicate with street-level cops.
Now, street-level officers will be able to switch frequencies on their radios and respond to calls of assistance from transit cops.
The NYPD conducted a pilot system of the new radios in the Bronx in January and on Monday brought the program to the transit precincts in Manhattan, according to authorities.
Current police radios must be reprogrammed to include the new radio frequency so the system is being updated in order to be implemented in Brooklyn this April and Queens in May.