Three separate subway shoving incidents in the same week are spooking straphangers.
“I took the train on Friday for the first time in a long time and I was paranoid. I kept looking over my shoulder. It's terrible you have to watch your back,” said one subway rider leaving the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center Station.
To curb riders' fears, the NYPD is beefing up its presence on subway platforms across the city.
The department’s new transit bureau chief, Kathleen O’Reilly, says 120 officers are being redeployed back to patrol transit after being pulled to monitor demonstrations and protests earlier in the month.
O'Reilly also said that since the system is temporarily closed between the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., the department was "able to move substantial resources" to work from noon to 8 p.m., when the subway system sees most of its ridership.
O’Reilly says the subway is still the safest way to get around the city. But her reassurance comes after a 29-year-old man was suddenly pushed on the tracks Sunday at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station in Brooklyn.
On Wednesday, a 36-year-old was shoved onto train tracks at the Bryant Park subway station in Manhattan. And the next day, just before a train was pulling in, a 40-year-old woman was pushed at 14th Street-Union Square.
“It's ridiculous. It needs to be stopped. We need more police. We need more police officers down here,” said another commuter heading down the stairs at the Atlantic Avenue station.
The NYPD says subway crime is down 27 percent this year, but recognizes ridership also has seen historic lows. But shoving incidents are slightly up.
In 2019, there were 17 shoving incidents. This year, there have been 20 so far.
Danny Pearlstein with the Riders Alliance says this is not just a problem for the police.
“It is hard to guard against these things in the individual case and as a city and a state really, we need to put more resources into helping homeless people and solving the problems of mental illness in transit.“
Police have made arrests in two out of the three incidents. They are still looking for the suspect involved in the shoving at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center Station.
O’Reilly says the department is working with other city agencies try and deter this kind of behavior in the future.