NY1 Exclusive: More Police Are Riding Overnight Subway Trains
If you ride the subways at night, you may have noticed some extra company: more police officers. NY1's Tina Redwine got an exclusive look at the overnight patrol and filed the following report.
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More men and women in blue are spending their nights on the subway.
In mid-July, transit police added 123 officers to patrol the subways overnight in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. The move followed a significant increase in crime underground.
There were 2,741 major felonies in the subways during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the mayor's management report released Wednesday. It's a jump of 18 percent over the year before.
"We started the unit to address an increase in crime on the late nights," said Lt. Joseph Rauchet. "Since the inception on our designated lines, crime has decreased 16 percent."
The NYPD says it's significant because nearly half of all subway crime happens overnight.
Teams of a sergeant and four officers ride an entire line from borough to borough and back again. They target drunk and disorderly riders.
Officers look for thieves aiming to slash the pockets of sleeping passengers.
"They’ll walk from car to car on the train doors or they might stay on the platform and they would peek in to see if there is an individual that's sleeping," Rauchet said. "Or there’ll be an empty train car and that individual will be sitting right next to somebody who is sleeping.
So officers wake slumbering riders. They also explain to riders that there are other crimes of opportunity, like thieves snatching electronics from distracted riders when subway doors open or close.
The NYPD hopes it presence serves as a deterrent. NY1 did see some riders getting on the train quickly step back onto the platform after seeing the police.
"This is a good thing," said one rider. "I like this."
"It makes people feel safer," said another.
Officers like the feedback.
"The officers love to be out there," Rauchet said. "It’s fun, it’s exciting and every night is different."
Police say riders should stay alert and keep their electronics hidden to ensure their nights are not exciting ones.