MTA, NYPD increasing presence on trains and buses to fight crime
Would-be crooks better beware: there might be an officer riding on your subway or bus.
The NYPD and MTA are stepping up patrols on subways that are high in crime and buses where fare evasion is rampant, officials said Monday.
After noticing a trend of electronic thefts on Bronx subways late Friday and Saturday night, cops have been riding every subway in the borough between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. on weekends, NYPD transit bureau chief Joseph Fox told the MTA's transit committee Monday.
It is the NYPD's latest strategy to combat subway crime, which has steadily risen since 2009 and is up more than 15% so far this year when compared to the same period in 2011.
Under the new program, a conductor announces that a cop will be checking each car, as notification to straphangers and a warning to crooks.
The policy was recently expanded to the No. 7 and A route in Queens, officials said.
Since the program started in January, there have been no major felonies along the D and No. 5 trains in the Bronx and on the two Queens routes, Fox said. Six major felonies, however, have been recorded along the No. 2, 4 and 6 routes in the Bronx.
"This strategy has proven to be effective and will be continued," he said.
It's unclear if the strategy will be tried out on other lines.
The MTA also said it would expand its "Eagle Team," which checks for bus fares on Select Bus Service routes, and send them on regular bus lines throughout the city where there is excessive fare evasion.
"It's more than just revenue lost," said Vincent DeMarino, the agency's vice president of security, who said fare evasion costs the MTA between $50 million and $100 million annually.
"When people get the sense that no one is in control, that no one is in charge, people may do one of two things," DeMarino told board members Monday.
"They may decide to abandon the buses altogether out of fear ... or they may choose to beat the fare themselves," he added.
"When you go after the little things like fare evasion, the bigger things are taken care of," he added.
The agency will spend $6 million annually to double the size of its force, which includes many retired police officers.
Though they can't make arrests, they can hand out $100 summonses and can call cops if necessary.
The extra 60-70 agents should be on buses by year's end, officials said.