This is perhaps the most ambitious attempt in recent decades to combat crime and homelessness in the transit system.
New York City police officers who patrol the subway are expected to comply with the MTA’s code of conduct, including a variety of criminal and non-criminal offenses, such as sleeping on trains and carrying piles of garbage and property. Police are expected to issue subpoenas again for beating the road.
WATCH: Passengers’ President discusses new plan:
Transit crime has risen 65% this year, with 267 incidents so far compared to 167 last year.
The new subway safety plan will expand response teams across the city by adding trained physicians who connect people with resources, and guide NYPD staff to comply with MTA rules such as sleeping in multiple seats, aggressive behavior toward passengers or creating an unsanitary environment.
Passengers are expected to get off the trains at the end of the line and be escorted if necessary. Trains and stations will be patrolled by police and psychologists in joint information groups. Housing arrangements will be streamlined, access to psychiatric beds will be expanded.
The plan also calls for changes to state and federal laws to connect more New Yorkers to needed help and support, as well as additional safe havens, centers and stabilization beds to provide homeless people with short- and long-term options.
Mayor Adams began the press conference by saying that being there makes him think of his days as a transit cop.
“We’re back again, and it’s important that we have the right answer that combines humanity, but it’s clear,” Adams said.
Adams said the city’s help in recovering from the pandemic starts with the subway system.
“Public safety and justice are essential conditions for prosperity,” Adams said. He noted that he wants tourists to feel safe, to continue to visit the city, shop, help the economy.
As for everyday New Yorkers who use the subway to commute to work: “Who wants to start their day this way with a level of despair?” he said.
He promised that protecting New Yorkers remains his top priority.
“It is cruel and inhumane to allow homeless people to live in the subway, and it is unfair to passengers and transport workers who deserve a clean, orderly and safe environment,” Adams said. “The days of turning a blind eye to this growing problem are over, and I look forward to working with the state, the federal government, TWU, lawyers and law enforcement to address this issue. It will take time, but our work begins now.”
He attributed the homeless crisis to a “decade of failure”, saying “we need to close the river of failures”.
The subway security plan includes:
– Deploy up to 30 joint response teams bringing together DHS, the Department of Health and Mental Health, the NYPD and public providers in much-needed locations across New York City.
– Training New York City police officers in the subway system to enforce the rules of conduct of the AIT and the New York Transportation Authority in a fair and transparent manner.
–Expansion of the B-HEARD Emergency Behavioral Teams to six new sites, more than doubling the number of sites covered to 11. These teams will expand the already successful pilot to respond to non-violent 911 mental health calls with the help of mental health professionals .
–Include health services in DHS sites that cater to homeless people. DHS Safe Havens Advanced Programs and Stabilization Beds will offer on-site physical and behavioral health care to meet customer needs immediately.
– Immediate improvement of coordination in the government through weekly meetings of the “Extended Outreach Group”, which brings together senior heads of 13 city and government agencies to quickly resolve issues.
–Create new disembarkation centers to provide an immediate path for people to enter the premises, and explore the possibility of locating disembarkation centers near key metro stations for the direct transition of people from trains and platforms to safe places.
–Organize the process of accommodation in auxiliary housing and reduce the number of documents required to confirm the right to participate.
– Encouraging the state government to expand the resources of psychiatric beds and amend Kendra’s law to improve the provision of mental health care to New Yorkers in outpatient treatment.
– The requirement – instead of a request – everyone to leave the train and station at the end of the line.
“For too long, our mental health system has suffered from disinvestment, and the pandemic has only complicated the lives of New Yorkers with serious mental illnesses experiencing homelessness,” Hochul said. “I am proud to speak with Mayor Adams and share our efforts to expand mental health care services for those without sustainable housing and to bring more psychiatric beds online. We must work together to make our subway a source of life. New York is safe for all riders, as well as for assistance and services to those in need.
She agreed with the mayor and the police commissioner that the existing rules must be followed to ensure security.
“There are rules that have been ignored for too long,” Hochul said.
The governor said people on the street approached her and said, “We want old New York back, we no longer feel safe,” and it strikes me in the soul. “
Everything is happening at a time when violent crime in the subway is growing. Some of them are at the hands of the mentally ill and emotionally disturbed.
There was a 22-year-old man stabbed homeless man on Thursday afternoon on the L train between Williamsburg and the East Village, and last month Michelle Go was killed when she was pushed in front of an oncoming train by a homeless man in Times Square.
Jacqueline Simon of the Homeless Coalition applauded the expanded services. But he says much of the policy is wrong.
“Some people may get access to the help they need through this offer, but many more people are likely to face subpoenas and fines and be pushed out of sight or moved from the subway to the street where they are exposed to the elements or arrested and sent to Rickers Island, ”Simona said.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.