NYC subway assaults rise more than 50%, reaching highest level in nearly a year

New data indicates that felony assaults on the New York City subway system increased by more than 50% between February and March, hitting the highest number since the NYPD increased subway patrols 11 months ago. Despite the alarming spike in attacks, total subway crime was flat in March compared to February, according to figures provided by the New York Police Department on Friday.

In March, 180 felony offenses were reported on the subways, down two from February. However, according to the latest figures, the number of felony assaults increased from 41 in February to 62 in March. The statistic represents the largest number of criminal assaults since last May, when a succession of high-profile offenses prompted then-Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand police patrols throughout the subway system at the request of the MTA. On May 17, de Blasio agreed to add 125 more officers to the morning and evening rush hours.

According to the New York Post, subway assaults promptly fell and remained level until recently, when most notably a mass shooting occurred in Brooklyn earlier this month that left ten people with gunshot wounds and another 19 injured. Mayor Eric Adams, De Blasio’s successor, has continued to boost the number of officers stationed underground in response to the high-profile incident. 

When adjusted for ridership, which is reportedly about 55% of what it was in 2019, the NYPD’s reported subway crime rates have stayed consistently above pre-pandemic levels. In March, there were just over two felony offenses per million riders, a 13% decrease from February but still significantly over the 1.47 crimes per million passengers reported in 2019. According to MTA estimates, only 2.8 million passengers took the subway on Thursday, down 54.6% from a pre-pandemic day.

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