As crime in New York City's subway system increases, Gov. Kathy Hochul seeks to increase law enforcement presence in stations. Adi Goldstein/Unsplash.

NEW YORK CITY - Following a series of violent and deadly incidents in the New York City subway system, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday that she is set to deploy National Guard soldiers and State Police officers to stations, where they will patrol platforms and help check bags.

Concretely, 1,000 members of the State Police, the National guard and the transportation authority will form part of this new initiative, The New York Times reported. The officers will guard the subways, joining New York City Mayor Eric Adams' NYPD officers, who are often roaming around stations and checking subway cars.

"These brazen heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated," Hochul said during a news conference as she announced her decision.

The subway system saw a 45% spike in major crimes in January compared with the same time last year, The Times reported. Grand larcenies—thefts without the use of force— were a main cause for this increase, according to police figures.

Grand larcenies are defined by the police as major crimes, along with homicides, assaults and robberies.

"No one heading to their job or to visit family or go to a doctor appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon," the governor said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul
NY Governor Kathy Hochul Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo

The deployment is one of the five-point plan Gov. Hochul plans to implement. Such a plan would also include the provision of $20 million and pay for 10 teams of mental health workers who would help people on the subway.

The plan would also introduce legislation that would allow judges to ban people convicted of violent crimes from riding the subways, add cameras to train conductors' control booths and coordinate with prosecutors to track repeat offenders.

Three homicides have taken place in the subway system since January, including the stabbing of a transit worker on Feb. 29 and two shootings at subway stations. Such incidents have raised questions about the current safety of the public transit system.

Nevertheless, the number of major crimes committed in the system so far this year is about 3 percent lower than it was this time in 2019, department statistics show.

Eric Adams, a major proponent of increased vigilance in the system, was not present during Hochul's press conference. But on Tuesday he told reporters that when he talked to riders, they told him, "Eric, nothing makes us feel safer than seeing that officer at the token booth, walking through the system, walking through the trains."

Other experts, however, worry that such presence might have the opposite intended effect.

"Deploying troops to the subway system will unfortunately increase the perception of crime," said Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group. He urged instead to focus on providing housing, health care and other critical social services for people in need.

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