The NYPD is bringing back the so-called Train Patrol Force to walk subway trains in the evenings and overnight hours, according to the Department’s transit police chief.
Transit cops already walk the trains, but the revived patrol dating back to the 1990s will focus on later hours, Transit Bureau Chief Jason Wilcox told MTA board members during a Monday, May 23, meeting.
“In May we have created a new Train Patrol Force, or TPF, that will perform dedicated, targeted, and visible train patrols on the late evening and overnight hours,” Wilcox said.
The patrol existed in the past as part of the formerly separate Transit Police Department, but was disbanded when it merged with the NYPD in 1995, and it even included among its ranks Mayor Eric Adams when he still donned a badge, Wilcox noted.
“The TPF is not a new concept, it was a type of transit patrol done in years past, notably, by our mayor when he was a transit cop,” Wilcox said.
Some 54% of transit crime happens on trains and 40% of those incidents are during the overnight hours covered by the new patrol, he said.
“It was an idea that we felt we needed to return to,” the top transit cop said.
The relaunched unit will be made up of officers from the 2,500-strong Transit Bureau who will fan out across the city’s sprawling subway network.
The patrol is rolling out on the heels of the deadly and seemingly unprovoked shooting of 48-year-old Brooklynite Daniel Enriquez on a Manhattan-bound Q train Sunday morning.
The gunman remains at large more than 24 hours later.
Wilcox called the act “senseless and cruel,” and the killing marked another shocking attack on a straphanger in the early months of the administration of Mayor Adams, who ran for office on public safety and deployed cops into the transit system in record numbers, vowing to make New York’s Finest an “omnipresence” underground.
Less than two months ago, a gunman opened fire inside a Brooklyn subway car, hitting 10 people and injuring about a dozen more.
Recent transit crime statistics NYPD provided to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the agency’s monthly board meetings show that the seven types of crimes police categorize as major felonies — murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, and grand larceny — were up 64.4% this year through April compared to the same time last year.
That increase is from early 2021 when ridership was still far lower due the pandemic, and longer-term trends show crime figures being roughly in line with pre-COVID figures.
For the first four months of this year there were 6.19 major felonies per day, slightly above 6.13 in 2019 and below 6.23 in 2018.
The rate has fluctuated between about 5.5 and 7.5 since 2006, the last year that Adams still served on the force, and current rates are less than half as high as in 1997, two years after the old train patrol was disbanded.
Meanwhile, arrests have increased by nearly 66% through April, with a 79% bump in cops cuffing people for theft of services, which includes fare evasion.