(The Center Square) – New York’s plan to increase safety on the subways will come with an increased cost. Both to taxpayers and to the police officers sworn to protect the nation’s largest city.
Over the weekend, Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and other state and local officials announced a plan for officers from the city’s and the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority police forces to work overtime daily with increased presence at subway stations.
The beefed-up patrols will amount to about 1,200 overtime shifts, or roughly 10,000 additional overtime hours, every day.
Other aspects of the plan include posting unarmed MTA security guards at some stations to monitor activity and help prevent fare jumpers from entering the subway. MTA will also primarily cover the stations connected to the city’s four major train stations, which will allow the city to move its officers elsewhere along the system.
Officials did not give an estimate for the cost during a Saturday press conference regarding the measure. However, according to the governor, it will involve “a significant investment” from the state.
“The state’s involvement in this is to support the mayor with the overtime by helping to free the overtime costs through our Public Emergency Safety Fund in the short term, and then also look at dedicated sources going forward because obviously, this is not a budgetary expense that was accounted for,” Hochul told reporters.
The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, a union representing 50,000 active and retired New York City Police Department officers, slammed the move.
Union President Patrick J. Lynch said the additional deployments are “unsustainable” since the NYPD’s active force is more than 1,000 under the city’s budget projections. Also, compared to 2020, the number of city cops working the subways is down by 12.5%.
“Our city must immediately boost pay and improve working conditions in order to recruit and retain enough police officers,” Lynch said in a statement. “That is the only way to provide real safety in the subway, rather than the illusion of ‘omnipresence.’”
The announcement comes as Hochul runs for her first full term as governor, and the election is now just two weeks away. The Democrat faces Republican U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin in the race, and Zeldin has made getting tougher on crime a major part of his campaign platform.
Polls show Hochul leads Zeldin, although Zeldin has gained some ground in recent weeks. Still, polls show the governor holding a substantial lead in the city, giving her a likely significant edge in the statewide race.
On Sunday afternoon, Zeldin tweeted a video of an incident at a New York City subway station on Saturday. In the video, first posted by Viral News NY, an individual stands on the right side of the station, drops their bag and runs straight at someone on the opposite side of the platform. The individual then pushes them onto the train tracks and runs out of the station.
According to Viral News, the person attacked was not hit by a train.
“This is the dangerous reality of life in Kathy Hochul’s New York,” Zeldin tweeted.