The New York Post article, “Assaults on Straphangers are off the Rails,” might leave readers with the impression that armed criminals are surging onto the subway and assaulting people. On the contrary, most subway felony assaults are the result of squabbles between ordinary citizens that escalate into fights in which one, or both, of the disputants uses some kind of object that classifies as a weapon. Examples this year include umbrellas, a tote bag, and a rolled up painting canvas. Transit officers are controlling the problem, with two thirds of subway assault cases resulting in arrests. The subway is a dense, crowded environment that carries about six million people each day, more than live in any other American city. If it were a city, it would have by far the lowest assault rate in the country. New York’s underground is a spectacular public safety success story with only about one felony crime a day for every million riders. Nothing is off the rails here.
Chief of the NYPD Transit Bureau