As New York City and its new mayor continue to struggle with rising crime rates and soft-on-crime district attorneys and judges, one particular focus of attention remains the city’s subway system. Violent crime in the subway tunnels is down slightly now that summer is almost upon us and fewer homeless are living in the subway stations, but they are still far too dangerous for many people to risk riding the rail lines. This was proven yet again last week when a man stabbed two people in a subway station only one day after being released from jail for threatening two police officers with a butcher knife. Mayor Eric Adams has unveiled another proposal to provide more law enforcement in the tunnels. He plans to do away with a rule requiring the police to travel in pairs when on patrol and go back to deploying officers singly. The plan was not met with enthusiasm by the NYPD, to put it mildly. (NY Post)
Mayor Eric Adams wants the NYPD to walk patrols on city subways alone to cover more ground — which would end a safety protocol put in place in the wake of the assassination of two police officers nearly a decade ago.
“We are determined to single patrol,” Adams said Friday morning. “What that is going to allow us to do is now utilize our resources in the omnipresence that we have been talking about.
“When we made every patrol a dual patrol, we cut our department basically in half,” he added.
The double patrol rule was put in place in 2014 after officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were assassinated in broad daylight in their patrol car. The Mayor is claiming that the single-patrol idea is not a budgetary measure, but was suggested by his new Police Commissioner after a review of all current policies this year.
PBA president Patrick Lynch weighed in on the announcement almost immediately. He pointed out that single patrols made it more difficult for police officers to keep subway riders safe and protect themselves in the process. He also got in a shot at bail reform laws and soft-on-crime DAs, saying that single patrols are “even less effective now that criminals know there are no consequences for fighting cops and resisting arrest.”
The reality is that being a cop – particularly in a large city – has always been a dangerous job. But it’s gotten far more dangerous in the modern era. With a major push in primarily large, blue cities toward decriminalization and “decarceration,” the disincentive for committing crimes has decreased. When that happens, you get more criminals committing increasingly brazen acts of crime. Think of it as the law of supply and demand when applied to the balance between the law-abiding and the lawless.
There was a time back in the nineties when New York City had beaten its urban crime problem into submission, with some of the lowest levels of violent crime ever seen. This came about as a result of broken windows policing and a no-nonsense lack of tolerance for gang activity. But years of neglect and so-called “reform” under progressive leaders like Bill de Blasio have brought the bad old days back around again.
There may yet come a day in Gotham when policing can once again resemble the old Hollywood image of the friendly officer walking his beat and twirling his nightstick while stopping to chat with people from the neighborhood. But that day isn’t close to being a reality yet. The streets and particularly the subways are still dangerous for both civilians and the police. Telling all of the officers to face the subways alone is not progress and will probably only drive more officers off the force even as the city struggles to stem the flow of qualified police officers out of New York.