At least six people have been stabbed or slashed on the New York City subway since the unveiling of a new transit safety plan on Friday, the New York City Police Department said.
Officials have vowed to combat crime and address homelessness in the city’s transit system as part of a new public safety initiative.
The first stabbing of the weekend happened Friday evening inside a Queens subway station, where a man was stabbed by another man who fled the scene on foot, police said. The victim was taken to a local hospital with a cut to his arm and is expected to survive. The NYPD said it has a suspect related to the attack in custody.
Another happened early Saturday morning inside another subway station in Queens. A 46-year-old man was approached by three males who demanded money, the NYPD said. A dispute ensued, and the victim was stabbed in the thigh. He was taken to a local and is in stable condition.
On Saturday afternoon around 2:50 p.m., an unknown male punched a 20-year-old female victim in the back while she was on the northbound platform inside a subway station in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York. A verbal dispute ensued, and the assailant stabbed the victim three times in the abdomen. Emergency Medical Services arrived at the scene and transported the woman to a hospital in stable condition, according to police.
On Saturday evening around 8:10 p.m., two men attempted to remove property from a male victim. A struggle ensued, and the victim was stabbed in the leg. No property was removed, and the victim was treated on scene by EMS, the NYPD said.
Less than an hour later, a verbal dispute in the 116th street station in Harlem resulted in a male victim getting slashed in the arm. He was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in stable condition, police said.
And on Sunday, a 31-year-old man was stabbed in the back and arm by a man while on a train between the between Lafayette Street and Canal Street stations shotly after 6 p.m. The victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.
Early Monday morning, two separate assaults were reported – one when a man allegedly swung a hatchet – and another when a man struck a female in the face with a metal pipe, police said.
In one of the incidents, police said a man confronted another man who he claimed was staring at him. The suspect allegedly charged at him while removing a hatchet from his jacket and swinging it.
The victim avoided being struck. The suspect, who was taken into custody, had a punch dagger and screwdriver on his person.
The incident happened on the platform at the Franklin Avenue station in Brooklyn.
Joint initiative will address homelessness, subway safety
Mayor Eric Adams, a former transit police officer, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul held a press conference on Friday to announce the subway safety initiative, highlighting the local, state and federal resources the city will employ to combat mental health and safety.
The joint initiative, which will go into effect on Monday, will involve the deployment of up to 30 inter-agency collaborative teams that bring together the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the NYPD and community-based providers in “high-need” locations, the plan states.
The new efforts come as crime in the city, particularly within its transit system, has garnered national attention.
“The subway system and our bus system, they are the lifeblood of our city,” Adams said. “If we don’t get them right, our city won’t continue to recover from Covid. Millions of New Yorkers use the system to go to school, to go to their place of employment and just to visit their loved ones. It provides a vital service.”
The mayor’s announcement on Friday took place just one day after a 22-year-old man was stabbed on a Brooklyn-bound train in an apparent unprovoked attack by a male stranger, according to police. The NYPD has arrested a 44-year-old man in connection to the attack on charges of second-degree assault, it said.
The incident followed the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, an Asian American woman who was pushed in front of a Times Square subway train on January 15. Roughly one week later, a 62-year-old man suffered minor injuries after he was pushed onto the subway tracks at the Fulton Street subway station in Lower Manhattan, police said.
The new subway safety measures are laid out in the second phase of New York City’s plan to improve and modernize a 113-year-old system that was forced to scale back its services early in the pandemic amid staffing shortages and declining ridership. Since the first phase of the effort was announced in January, NYPD officers have conducted some 115,000 inspections in the system, Adams said.
Other key initiatives in the plan include training NYPD officers in the subway system to enforce MTA and New York City Transit Authority rules of conduct; incorporating medical services into DHS sites to serve people experiencing unsheltered homelessness; requiring everyone to leave the train and the station at the end of the line; transitioning people from the subway system to “safe” spaces.
NYPD officers will enforce subway violations such as “sleeping across multiple seats, exhibiting aggressive behavior to passengers, or creating an unsanitary environment,” the city said in a press release.