More than 200 subway cops added to combat crime underground
A new class of 243 subway cops has already been busy -- each nabbed at least one criminal in their first 13 days on the job.
"They're going to be put to good use," said Chief Joseph Fox, who oversees the underground force, at an MTA transit committee meeting Monday.
The influx of new officers, added by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly because of a rise in subway crime, brings the group to nearly 2,500, Fox said, adding that the force had about 250 fewer cops last year because of attrition.
Even though the rookies are still being trained, they've busted straphangers hopping turnstiles and carrying weapons; helped revive a man in Times Square who had stopped breathing; and collared a man who had a warrant out for his arrest in connection with a shooting of an 11-year-old in the Bronx.
Fox said he the focus is on crooks who steal electronic devices, including cell phones and e-readers. Theft of the devices skyrocketed last year, totaling nearly half of all subway thefts, up from 35% in 2009.
Police have been increasingly using decoys to nab criminals. Five people were arrested during nine stings so far this year. There were 54 stings last year.
While officers have arrested criminals with long rap sheets stealing decoy phones, Fox added that cops have also busted kids as young as 14.
In one instance, three teens laughed at an undercover officer behind her back after swiping her phone on the Q line in Flatbush.
The 15-year-old thieves were quickly arrested.