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NY: Armed Guards Deployed in Subways to Address Fare Evaders; Felony Crimes on Subway Surge by 40%

Published: November 30, 2022
Commuters and tourists exit a subway car May 26, 2022 in New York City. (Image: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

The MTA says that after sending armed guards into the subways to address fare-beating the city is already saving money. 

Since spring this year, the agency has contracted a private security firm to provide armed personnel at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station, officials revealed on Nov. 29, and they say that the agency is netting an additional $100,000 a month due to the security’s mere presence, MTA safety official Robert Diehl told authority board members at a recent meeting.

The move’s success has prompted authorities to implement the scheme at the nearby Halsey Street Station. An additional 12 other stations have had unarmed guards deployed to block emergency exits to try and prevent fare-beaters, officials said. 

“We actually started with armed guards first at the [fare] machines. Later, after discussion, we decided, let’s introduce some unarmed guards at the gates,” Diehl said according to the NY Post.

Diehl said that “once the gate is open it’s like Black Friday at Macy’s,” adding that “Holding the gate is imperative to stopping half the amount of fare evasion in our stations.”

“What we’re really trying to stop is the opportunists, that person that once the gates open sees three people go through and says, ‘Hey, why not me?’ and then you got eight people behind that person coming through,” he added.

The guard’s presence is intended to deter riders from entering through the exit gate and to prevent vandalism of vending machines, which has been identified as a problem at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station, Diehl said.  

It remains unclear whether more armed guards will be deployed to address fare-beating but officials said that the MTA will be expanding unarmed guards to other stops.

Fare enforcement is up, with arrests for the petty crime up 97 percent compared with the same time last year, according to NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Jason Wilcox.

MTA CEO Janno Lieber claims that the majority of crime in the city’s transit system are fare-beaters, without providing any statistics to back up the claim. 


Subway felonies surge 40 percent

According to newly released NYPD statistics, felony crimes — including murder, rape and robbery — on the city’s subway system have surged 40 percent this year compared to 2021.

A minimum of 1,917 felony crimes were reported in the city’s subways from January through to October this year, up from 1,367 recorded during the same period last year. 

In October alone, a total of 210 felonies were recorded, an increase from 198 in September, the NYPD said. 

The uptick in crime coincides with a 38 percent increase in ridership over the same period as commuters returned to the system following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since 2020, murders in the subway system have surged to the highest annual levels in 25 years as the city grapples with a spike in random violence, NYPD stats show.

As of Oct. 31, the system has experienced a total of nine murders, up from six during the same period last year, according to the newly released data. 

The violence has prompted officials to deploy more police officers to the system, with the state shouldering the costs of the overtime, however high profile incidents continue to occur.

The subways saw back-to-back stabbings last week that left three people injured including someone who had intervened to attempt to stop the violence. 

The assailant is reported to have allegedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs during the attack, police said. 

On  Nov. 26 a 38-year-old woman was pushed onto the tracks in Brooklyn however was rescued by a fellow transit rider.