While Half as Many New Yorkers Ride Subway Compared to Pre-Pandemic, More than Twice are Murdered
By Yehudit Garmaise
Fewer New Yorkers are riding the subway since the end of the pandemic, yet, since 2020, the number of subway passengers who have been murdered in the New York City subway system since 2020 has spiked to the highest numbers in 25 years, NYPD data show.
In 2019, before the pandemic, three New Yorkers were murdered on the subway system, while an average 142 million people rode the trains each month.
Nowadays, just more than half that: 81 million people ride the rails monthly, but with two and a half months left of 2022, seven subway riders have already been killed this year.
While five was highest number of New Yorkers who were killed in the subway since 1997, the New York Post reported, six New Yorkers were killed in 2020, and eight transit riders were murdered in 2021.
What most worries law enforcement officials and academics about the violent crimes on the subway is their randomness, senselessness, and lack of arguments that sometimes precede violence and murders.
Just last week, for instance, in two separate crimes, two fathers: Tommy Bailey, 43, and Charles Moore, 38, were stabbed to death while they were silently commuting home from work.
“It makes no sense,” said Chris Herrmann, an assistant professor at John Jay, who once served as a crime statistics expert at the NYPD.
“The victim wasn’t threatening; the victim was leaving; and it doesn’t make sense when it comes to the victim-offender relationship,” Herrmann said Moore, who was stabbed to death right after exiting the subway at the 176th Street station in the Bronx after punching out at Citi Field.
“It’s definitely a much more violent subway system, and it’s ironic when you look at the ridership numbers, it’s still down, so those numbers stand out even more.”
“You can take the subway anywhere at any time of day, in broad daylight, and there is no guarantee of safety,” Professor Maria Haberfeld, a former lieutenant in the Israel National Police, who now teaches at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The NYPD reports that felony crime on the subways is up a startling 42% so far this year, compared to the same period in 2021.
Eight months ago, on Feb. 20, Mayor Eric Adams promised to flood subway platforms and cars with police officers and relocate the many people who live, sleep, and eat in subway stations and trains, however, victims of subway crimes and other subway passengers often say with despair that NYPD officers are nowhere to be found.
While New Yorkers do not see many cops in and around the subways, every 15 minutes, at 400 subway stations through the end of October, subway riders hear messages recorded by Commissioner Keechant Sewell who tries to reassure passengers that, “NYPD officers are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to keep it safe.”
The morning after Moore was killed, NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox hinted that violence in the subways is more “perception” than “reality,” before claiming, “We remain committed to ensuring our public transit rides are not only safe but that they feel safe, too.”