Governor Hochul Announces Five-Point Plan to Protect New Yorkers on the Subway

Written by MTA, Agency Communications
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New York Governor Kathy Hohul announcing five point plan to protect New Yorkers.

NEW YORK –– While this story is a bit out of our wheelhouse, we decided that this significant step by Governor Hochul is worth reporting.

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a five-point plan to utilize state resources to protect New Yorkers on the subways. This includes surging State personnel to assist NYPD bag checks, a new program bill that would permit transit bans for individuals that assault other passengers, adding new cameras to protect conductor cabins, increasing coordination between District Attorneys and law enforcement, and increasing the number of Subway Co-Response Outreach (SCOUT) teams throughout the system – which will operate in addition to the existing Safe Options Support (SOS) teams. These actions build on the Governor’s unprecedented investment in safety on the subways, from standing up SOS teams to directing the MTA to install cameras in every subway car. Governor Hochul also called on judges to use their expanded discretion to set bail to keep repeat offenders off the streets.

“Since taking office, I have been laser-focused on driving down subway crime and protecting New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “My five-point plan will rid our subways of violent offenders and protect all commuters and transit workers. I am sending a message to all New Yorkers: I will not stop working to keep you safe and restore your peace of mind whenever you walk through those turnstiles.” 

Governor Hochul’s five-point plan includes:

Additional State Personnel to Assist NYPD

To supplement the NYPD’s enhanced baggage checks at heavily trafficked areas, Governor Hochul is deploying 1,000 members of State personnel to assist the NYPD’s mission to further this effort. This includes 250 members from the New York State Police and the MTA Police Department. In addition, Governor Hochul is directing the National Guard to make the 750 members currently deployed on Joint Task Force Empire Shield available to supplement this effort under the supervision of law enforcement. These checks will be targeted at heavily trafficked locations.

New Program Bill to Ban Assaulters of Commuters and Transit Workers

Governor Hochul today announced a new program bill that will allow judges to ban people convicted of an assault within the system from using MTA services as part of sentencing. There is currently a provision that allows a transit ban as a term of sentencing for individuals who assault transit workers, and under Governor Hochul’s plan, this same provision would be extended to include assaults of anyone within the system.

Improving Coordination Between Law Enforcement and District Attorneys

To improve coordination between law enforcement, transit personnel and district attorneys, Governor Hochul will initiate regular meetings between stakeholders to coordinate information sharing regarding holding dangerous, repeat offenders within the system accountable. This will assist district attorneys with their casework and support existing efforts to keep violent offenders off the streets and out of the subways. The first meeting will take place next week, and will be held regularly to ensure sustained coordination. To assist with this process, the MTA will also hire a new Criminal Justice Advocate to assist the victims of crime in the system, and MTAPD will develop a new early warning system to flag recidivist offenders for district attorney offices during booking processes.

New Cameras to Protect Conductors and Staff

Building on Governor Hochul’s announcement that MTA is accelerating the installation of cameras inside customer areas of trains, today Governor Hochul is announcing the installation of new cameras focused on conductor cabins to protect workers. These cameras will significantly assist law enforcement personnel as they search for assailants targeting transit workers. Governor Hochul is directing MTA to rapidly deploy these cameras throughout the system.

$20 Million to Expand the SCOUT Pilot in Addition to the SOS Program

Since January, MTA has deployed a SCOUT team pilot program in partnership with New York City, in addition to the successful SOS teams across the subway system, established and supported by Governor Hochul. SCOUT teams have the capacity to address the most severe cases of mental health crisis within the subway system, and assist New Yorkers in gaining access to mental health treatment and supportive housing. Governor Hochul is directing $20 million to rapidly scale this pilot and bring the total number of SCOUT teams to ten by the end of 2025.

Comments from MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber: “Since last year, we’ve installed thousands of new cameras within stations and on-board trains – adding to our already-vast network of 10,000 devices, which have been proven time and time again to lead to police apprehensions and even deter crime. And now, we’re moving forward with cameras in conductor cabs to address the risks our brave conductors and operators are facing. We can’t afford to not act. The transit system is too important to the City and region to allow the perception of safety, or lack of it, to scare people away.”

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