Crime and Safety

NYC subway crime down more than 20% due to skyrocketing ticket numbers: NYPD

Light at the end of the tunnel?

This year, crime in the city’s subways has dropped to levels not seen in decades, aside from the pandemic, as police have significantly stepped up their crackdown on fare evasion, issuing nearly 10,000 more tickets in 2023 than at the beginning of last year.

Police data shows major crime in the subway is down 21.5% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2022, with all major crime categories but one showing a decline in the underground system.

The number of thefts has not changed, two are reported.

“Obviously, crime is on the decline. We are proud. This is real progress,” Public Transportation Chief Michael Kemper told a small group of reporters at One Police Plaza on Tuesday.

Kemper said early 2023 saw the lowest violent crime rate on the subway since the start of the Compstat data collection system in the mid-90s, if you take early 2021 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. .

NYC subway crime down more than 20% due to skyrocketing ticket numbers: NYPD
Kemper also credited “phenomenal detective work” for capturing the bad guys before they had a second or third strike and adding to the list of major crimes.
Paul Martinka

At the same time, police officers issued a staggering 75.6% more tickets for fare evasion in the first nine weeks of 2023, totaling 21,360, compared to 12,154 tickets during the same time last year, according to police data.

Overall, the number of subpoenas increased by more than 12,000, or 83.5%, from 15,143 in the same period last year to 27,785 this year, the data shows.

Kemper credits active policing with minor offenses as well as major crimes as contributing to the recent decline.

YPD officers from Transit Division 4 patrol the Broadway Lafayette subway station in lower Manhattan.
Challenges have increased significantly underground.
Stephen Young

“I want to be clear and I have to give credit where needed: this is a direct result of the hard work of the men and women of the NYPD,” he said. “I think just having a stronger presence to deter crime means so much.

“But focusing on quality of life, whether it’s fare evasion, whether it’s bullying, whether it’s smoking, just setting the tone of law and order in the subway system – that’s absolutely part of the reason,” the chief added.

He also noted the “phenomenal detective work” of finding bad purchases before they could make a second or third attempt and adding them to the list of serious crimes.

The chief said much of the recent progress in 2023 was based on an expanded police presence deployed under Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Katie Hochul in October. Prior to this, crime in the transport system increased by more than 40% in a year.

Police at the scene where two men were shot dead at the Canal Street NQRW subway station on Broadway in New York, NY around 1:00 am on January 28, 2023.  (Photo: Christopher Sadowsky)
NYPD Chief Kemper believes the increase in patrols has been responsible for the drop in subway crime.
Christopher Sadowski

The following month, serious crime fell by 12.8%, but was followed by a 4.6% increase in December.

In the last two months of the year, police issued 7,000 fewer summonses than in the first nine weeks of 2023.

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