In the last two weeks, the New York City Police Department has thrown hundreds more police officers into the fight against crime underground, in response to the year-long spike in subway crime. NY1's Transit reporter Tina Redwine filed the following report.
Crime in the subways jumped 16 percent last year, compared with 2010, and New York City Police Department Transit Chief Joseph Fox said one factor stands out.
"Those were fueled by targeted theft of electronics," said Fox at a Monday meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board.
One subway rider, Gabriella Dos Santos, told NY1 she had her cellphone stolen while she was waiting for a train.
"I didn't expect it to happen because it was in my pocket," said Dos Santos.
Thieves are also snatching electronics from passengers on board trains just as the doors close.
Police are using a public service announcement to drive that point home and advise riders to hide their electronics in the subway and to make sure they have a tracking program installed on them.
Last year, there were 10 percent fewer officers in the subway system than in 2010. To combat the spike in crime, two weeks ago police added 243 new officers to patrol the subways.
"It is larger allotment then we've had in a number of years and we are going to put them to good use," said Fox.
Fox told the MTA board those officers have already made 243 collars, an average of one each every two weeks.
That is a much higher arrest rate than for the average policeman on transit patrol. Last year, 2,200 officers made about 3,700 arrests — an average of 1.7 arrests for each officer for the whole year.
NYPD officials said that is the result of a concentrated effort by new officers teamed with veteran supervisors.
Fox said he is flooding crime-prone stations with officers and has 51 trained as decoys, triple the number they had three years ago, and they are nabbing hardened offenders.
Riders said they are looking forward to seeing more officers.
"I've seen too many fights on the D train, especially going downtown, and there was no one to stop them," said one straphanger.
Fox said with these new officers and strategies, the bureau is now heading in the right direction.