Another subway surge: NYPD adds 1,000 cops per day to patrols after murders in system

NYPD officers at scene of subway crime
NYPD Transit Chief Kemper and other cops at the scene of a fatal shooting in Brooklyn in January 2024.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The NYPD has once again surged its presence in the subway system by up to 1,000 cops per day, after a deadly first two months of 2024 that’s seen 3 people murdered in transit.

NYPD Transit Chief Michael Kemper said Monday that the police surge began at the start of February, after the January murder of Richard Henderson aboard a No. 3 train at Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn.

February has seen two additional, high-profile murders: the Feb. 12 mass shooting at the Bronx’s Mount Eden Avenue stop on the No. 4 line, which left Obed Beltran-Sanchez dead and 5 others injured; and the slaying of William Alvarez aboard a D train pulling into the 182nd-183rd Street stop in the Bronx on Friday.

“We understand the riders’ concern. Trust me, we do,” Kemper told reporters following the MTA Board’s Transit Committee on Feb. 26. “And that’s exactly why investments were made to increase the number of officers in the subway system.”

The surge mirrors another one that took place in October 2022, dubbed the “Cops, Cameras, Care” initiative, when the state funded 1,200 additional overtime shifts per day following a deadly month in the transit system.

The state money has since lapsed, Mayor Eric Adams said at his weekly press briefing last Tuesday, noting he was in talks with the governor’s office to “see if we can get a complement of support to have additional amount of overtime for those officers.”

Spokespersons for the mayor, governor, and NYPD did not immediately respond to an inquiry over whether that funding has materialized.

Police at scene of Bronx subway shooting
Police comb the tracks on the 4 line following a shooting at a Bronx station on Feb. 12, 2024.Photo by Dean Moses

Crime declined in 2023 in the subway system following the surge, though it also went down all over the city outside the system as well.

This January saw a more than 46% increase in index crimes over a year prior, with the bulk of the jump coming from a 91.5% increase in grand larcenies, such as pickpockets.

February has seen a decline in overall crime of about 17% over a year noted, Kemper said. Year-to-date, index crimes are up about 13% in the transit system.

“Nothing to be happy about, we’re not. We’re focused. It’s progress,” said Kemper. “And we’re looking forward to keeping this momentum moving forward.”