The latest statistics from the NYPD showed that the number of killings in the New York City Subway has skyrocketed to the highest annual levels in 25 years, since 2020.
Despite plummeting ridership numbers, the city is grappling with an overall spike in random violence leading to 21 slayings, which is more murders than the transit system saw between 2008 and 2019 combined.
Since 1997, which was the earliest accessible data, there had never been more than five subway murders in a single year until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020 and brought that number up to six for the first time in decades. The next year, murders shot up to eight. So far in 2022, there have already been seven killings.
On the other hand, despite multiple efforts by the Mayor to keep subways safe, overall felony crime on the subways is up a whopping 42% compared so far this year compared to the same period in 2021.
According to Dr. Dorothy Schulz, a professor emerita of law and police studies from John Jay College, “Less subway activity by commuters or tourists has contributed to the fact that the percentage of people who are on the subway or streets with mental health issues is higher. The subways are safer when there are more legitimate riders, commuters, tourists, whatever. That’s a place where the quaint expression ‘there is safety in numbers comes in. It keeps the others in check [on] the subway particularly, because if you are alone, there is a sense of vulnerability, and if there is someone looking to attack, they sense that.”