City snags are more likely to be victims of crime now than before the pandemic, according to data – but NYPD chiefs insisted on Monday that the media is to blame for ‘perceptions’ of ‘insecure.
Last month there were 2.14 crimes per million passengers, which is considerably higher than the August 2019 pre-COVID rate of 1.5 crimes per million passengers, according to the latest figures, reflecting a global annual trend.
The increase is even more dismal given that there are far fewer straphangers now than before COVID, which means more crimes are being committed against fewer riders.
But speaking to board members on Monday, NYPD Department Chief Kenneth Corey chose to focus on the average number of daily crimes in the system.
“In the month of August we averaged 5.8 crimes per day…compared to 6.7 in 2019,” Corey said. “Okay, so a lot less crime is happening in transit than before the pandemic.
“We are making measurable and sustained progress,” he said. “And I think what gets lost here is that there’s an inaccurate narrative influencing people’s perception of how safe the subway actually is.”
Corey, the NYPD’s top uniformed official, insisted that “the media” drives public concerns about safety while driving.
He pointed to increased rail patrols and an increase in arrests and summonses as evidence that NYPD action had resulted in safer subways.
Last month’s crime figure was down from the start of the year.
On Monday, transit officials also touted their own studies showing the number of homeless people in transit centers, including Penn Station, has dropped significantly this year.
The massive hub has seen a 78% drop “in the number of homeless people housed” at its commuter rail, subway and railroad facilities, said Patrick Warren, the MTA’s chief security officer.
“Personal safety concerns” remain top of mind for Long Island Railroad commuters using the station, officials said.
The MTA’s latest customer survey of LIRR passengers found high rates of dissatisfaction with ‘homeless at destination’, ‘erratic people at destination’ and ‘personal safety at destination’ , they said.