Fear seems to be once-again gripping New York City.
Whether it’s straphangers worried by escalating violence in the subways or police officers unsure how to handle violent situations and being killed in the line of duty.
The killing of police officers Jason Rivera, 22, and his partner, Wilbert Mora, 27, marks five police officers that have been shot in the early weeks of 2022.
The murder earlier this month of Michelle Go in the Times Square subway station had already stigmatized a city disheartened by Mayor Eric Adam’s flip-flopping on whether crime in the subway is a reality.
Days after saying the subways were “safe” and concerns about public safety were nothing more than a “perception of fear,” Adams backtracked and admitted what many New Yorkers already feel.
“We’re going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system,” he said. “And they don’t feel that way now. I don’t feel that way when I take the train every day.”
There can be no recovery for the city if its subway system becomes a crime-ridden cesspool.
It serves as its lifeblood with people relying on it every day to get to work, school, the grocery store, and elsewhere throughout the city.
Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell must make rectifying this problem a top priority.
They must not allow the subway to be a shelter for the homeless and mentally ill. Certainly, compassion for the less fortunate should be administered, but we also need to have concern for people who have to take the subway every day.
Failed policies regarding the homeless, mentally ill, and changes in prosecutorial discretion have contributed to a seemingly perfect storm.
In the first three weeks since Adams was sworn in as the 110th mayor of New York City, subway crime has soared 65% compared to the same period in 2021.
And surely, we cannot have public officials like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg making pronouncements about not prosecuting certain crimes and reducing some felony charges to misdemeanors. This sends the wrong message to the community at large and fosters more fear among law-abiding citizens.
Business leaders in the city are also imploring the Adams administration as well as Bragg’s office to get tough on crime before all is lost.
It used to be that people needed to be more vigilant during off-hours and overnights, but that has changed during the pandemic.
Subway ridership is estimated to be at 60% of pre-pandemic levels.
This leaves many people more vulnerable without the usual safety-in-numbers that came with robust rush hour traffic.
Crime statistics show that it is more than just a “perception of fear,” as Adams earlier tried to characterize what many New Yorkers sense.
It is a reality that needs to be addressed now.
On a week when pro-life forces gathered for The March for Life in Washington D.C., ending violence against other people is the most pro-life stance any human can do.