The New York City subway system has witnessed a sharp increase in gun arrests, marking a rise of 94% since 2019. This year alone, there have been 37 gun-related arrests as opposed to the 19 recorded in 2019.
Moreover, the current year saw a 54% uptick in arrests compared to the same period in 2022.
A Manhattan police officer told the New York Post, “People who carry guns carry them everywhere,” suggesting that decreased stop-and-frisk activities might be a contributing factor.
Despite the increase in gun-related arrests, Chief of Transit Michael Kemper provided a silver lining, emphasizing that the surge in proactive arrests has culminated in a 5% decline in general subway crimes this year.
Drawing attention to the tangible benefits of these arrests, Kemper asserted, “We’re stopping people for fare evading and we’re coming up with loaded guns, and every loaded gun we recover is one less gun that’s in the hands of someone that could shoot.”
According to the police, this year witnessed three subway shooting incidents with four victims, in contrast to last year’s nine incidents, which resulted in 18 victims, one of which was a mass shooting in a Brooklyn subway.
In April 2022, Frank James wounded ten victims on a packed train and was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month.
Addressing concerns of lawlessness, the NYPD has ramped up its efforts against quality-of-life offenses, such as fare evasion, which have accounted for a vast majority of gun arrests.
Kemper stated that the NYPD is addressing the public’s perception by cracking down on quality-of-life offenses like turnstile jumping, which accounts for 97% of this year’s gun arrests.
There has been a 52.8% increase in fare evasion stops compared to 2022 figures. Police have issued fare-evasion summonses or made arrests in over 103,000 stops so far this year.
To further bolster security, the NYPD deployed approximately 1,200 additional police officers to the subway system in October 2022. This move was part of a broader initiative to reassure and protect the commuting public.
Similarly, the NYPD has reported a 53% rise in quality-of-life citations issued underground, tallying over 133,000 this year as opposed to over 86,500 in 2022.
This year, the NYPD has recorded 10,783 subway arrests, marking a 57.5% increase from the 6,848 arrests during the same timeframe the previous year.
However, even with all these intensified efforts, a Brooklyn cop expressed concerns about the actual impact of these arrests.
He said, “Nobody’s going to jail, and they all know it, even if they’re carrying a gun.”