Adams’ strategies for MTA violence are ineffective


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May Khin

The death of Michelle Alyssa Go, an Asian American subway rider who was pushed onto the tracks by a stranger, left New Yorkers horrified. This incident at Times Square intensified the anxiety subway riders feel daily.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams claimed that he also does not feel safe riding the subway as a result of the senseless violence happening all over the city.

Go’s murder is a reminder that Adams must outline and implement better strategies to fight the upsurge in Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) violence.

The Washington Post reported that 461 felony assaults were reported on the subway system in 2021, according to the NYPD. 30 out of 461 were about a person being pushed onto the subway tracks.

There were four separate stabbings within a few hours on a single subway line in February 2021, two of them were fatal, The Associated Press reported.

These attacks have increased pressure on Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who both campaigned on the promise of taking actions to decrease MTA violence, gun violence and street crimes.

Adams pledged to increase policing on the subway as well as employ trained mental health professionals and outreach to help homeless people, including the ones sleeping on the train or in the stations.

“When you have an incident like this, the perception is what we’re fighting against. This is a safe system,” Adams said in a news conference hours after Go’s death, NBC reported.

Adams continues to reassure New Yorkers that the MTA system is safe despite the increase in violence. Police officers, mental health professionals and outreach for the homeless should have been in the train stations long before Go’s death even occurred.

Their presence could have saved Go’s life as well as many others who died after falling into the tracks.

This is a relevant issue for everyone and Adams’s words are not reassuring enough. There are police officers posted at popular train stations such as Union Square and Grand Central but not as many in local stations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Asian hate crimes have increased. The recent killings, stabbings and physical assaults in the train stations have not stopped and in fact, increase daily.

A young woman from Thailand was attacked at 34th St Herald Square station, a mother and a son from Myanmar were robbed in broad daylight at a Canal Street train station where the mother died from the fatal injuries. This senseless violence seems endless.

Not only is the Asian American community afraid, many New Yorkers fear being pushed onto the tracks as of late. Robberies are on the rise and people are worried that they will be  robbed in the dark hallways of the train stations.

Ongoing issues like this would not be immediately resolved with Adams’s strategies to protect the subway riders. More police should have been there long ago because the attacks started happening in early 2021.

The NYPD budget should be focused on placing more police in the train stations. The mayor’s office should work together intensively with homeless outreach as well as housing plans, creating more resources and support for the homeless on the streets of New York City.

Adams’s promising words in past and current press campaigns do nothing to guarantee the safety of New Yorkers taking public transit.