MTA runs pair of subway announcements by NYPD Commissioner Sewell

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell
Photo by Dean Moses

New York City subway riders will hear a new set of announcements by NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is rolling out two recordings of the police chief reminding straphangers that the Boys in Blue are patrolling the sprawling transit system around the clock and in greater numbers.

The announcements will play every 15 minutes at 403 subway stations in all boroughs except Staten Island through the end of the month, running 24/7 at indoor stations and at outdoor platforms from 8 a.m.–9 p.m. 

The state MTA’s own police department primarily patrols the Staten Island Railway, while the city’s NYPD is tasked with covering the subway system.

“We have increased officers on trains and platforms so that you can ride safely, knowing that we are here to help,” says one announcement.

“New York relies on its subway system like no other city in the nation. And your NYPD officers are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep it safe,” says the other message by the city’s top cop.

Mayor Eric Adams deployed an extra 1,000 police officers from above-ground precincts into the transit system, bumping the total number of cops underground to a record 3,500, as part of hizzoner’s Subway Safety Plan earlier this year.

More recently, Governor Kathy Hochul, who controls the MTA, launched a $5.5 million effort to equip every single subway car with a pair of surveillance cameras.

While crime in transit makes up less than 2% of citywide numbers and is still below pre-pandemic levels, Big Apple commuters continued to list personal safety as a top concern, according to an MTA rider survey from June, amid high-profile incidents on the rails this year, such as the shooting in Sunset Park and the fatal shoving of Michelle Alyssa Go.

Meanwhile, weekday trip numbers have remained about 40% shy of 2019 rates for months, predominantly driven by people still working remotely.

The NYPD has logged 1,670 major crimes (such as assault, grand larceny, robbery, murder, and rape) in the subway so far this year, according to the latest police data through Sept. 25.

That’s up 43% from last year when there were still fewer riders due to the COVID crisis, but down about 5% from 2019. The most recent numbers are still only about half of the crime figures of the last peak in 1999, when there were 3,265 crimes during that time period.