New York instantly sprang back from the devastating Brooklyn subway shooting on April 12, with many showing their resilience by returning to the city’s underground transportation system that very same day.
Still, there is no denying that when Frank James allegedly unleashed smoke and about 33 bullets from his Glock, many straphangers were left looking over their shoulders — but the extra concern wasn’t about to stop them from living their lives.
“It could have happened in Kansas; it could have happened in Paris — it could have happened anywhere. Mentally disturbed people are mentally disturbed people. I feel safe as I ever have,” one man said as he rushed up an escalator on 59th Street-Columbus Circle Station, and, embodying the attitude of a non-stop New Yorker, weaving his way out of sight.
Although this swaggering individual felt that the incident was a statistical anomaly, some fellow riders disagree.
Rodney first arrived in New York City seven years ago, and he states that he has always had a fear of crime in the subway system—but like many others he does not have the luxury to afford another means of travel.
“I was terrified because I heard of people throwing themselves in front of the train, people were being robbed, and being stabbed, and that still pertains to today. So, when I heard that happened on the train and the guy opened fire, I was mortified. But I have to come on the subway because I gotta go see a doctor and that’s the only reason why I ride the subway. Otherwise, I would do the bus, but the bus doesn’t come this way,” Rodney said.
Rodney believes that elected officials should take more into consideration the everyday New Yorkers and invest in better safety precautions.
“I really think that they should implement a program where riders come in, and they should have policemen at every station. They should. Yeah, I mean, you know, hey, it’s New York, right, you know, but they need a program where it would deter them from doing these things and also, if you come in through with a metal detector, that they should start putting that up,” Rodney said.
Anthony Dolci also is worried about crime in the subway, stating that he is very cautious when waiting on the platforms and even leaving train cars when he is made to feel uncomfortable.
“Well, I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel safe on the subway trains, and I don’t think there’s enough police force. There are no security cameras on the stations that need it. Crimes are happening down there. People are shooting up, doing drugs, smoking crack, there’s homeless people who are just putting all their trash and belongings on the station and I think it’s really ruining the safety for our city,” Dolci said.
“I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. I do not stand by the edge of the platform. I’m always looking around to make sure that if someone suspicious looking, or dangerous looking, gets near me and as soon as I see someone, and I do see them, I see them a lot and I get up and have to move to another area or train car because it’s causing me a lot of anxiety,” Dolci added.
Dolci believes that safety starts with wellness checks and should be given to individuals who appear in distress or emotionally disturbed, and not just a quick look over but provide thorough care for those who are unable to do so themselves.
Anne does not always use the subway for public transportation but rather prefers to travel using Citibike so that she can enjoy the beauty of the New York City streets. However, when Anne does utilize the subway system it’s only to commute around Manhattan, and although the shooting was quite shocking to her, she does not believe it’s something that New Yorkers have to fear in the subway.
“I feel like it was a one-off event. I think the subway is a safe place,” Anne said.