Anti-gun activists are already fretting about what the Supreme Court’s pending decision in a case challenging New York’s “may issue” concealed carry permitting laws might mean for New York City residents who use public transportation, warning of mayhem and chaos if there are more armed citizens in public spaces.
What those anti-gun nuts don’t want to mention, however, is that crime is soaring in the subway system right now, and legally-armed citizens aren’t to blame.
Just one day ago, a man was killed on a subway platform in Queens.
It happened during rush hour Monday when two men got into an argument near the turnstiles at the Jamaica Center – Parsons Avenue Station.
The suspect pulled out a gun and fired five shots, killing 24-year-old Marcus Bethea.
Police said it doesn’t appear this shooting was random, but still, bullets were flying at a busy time of day.
… The violence came just hours after the NYPD released data showing felony assaults are up 33% from 2021 and up more than 50% from last month.
Stabbings and slashings in transit are up 70% compared to last year.
“Assaults with objects, a stick, a cane, a hammer, are also up 48%. Many of these assault incidents have started as a dispute, a bump, a shove, a shoe stepped on, or an argument over a seat that then quickly escalated to violence,” Wilcox said.
Police say that arrests are up as well, but I’d like to see some specific numbers on what people are being arrested for. If, for instance, arrests for non-payment of fares have increased but arrests for felony assault are stagnant or declining, that’s a big problem.
The NYPD should also be more transparent about the clearance rate for these crimes. The total number of violent assaults is important, but so too are the number of arrests made in those particular cases. Are police are only clearing 10-20% of violent felony assaults on subways, or is the number closer to 50% or (hopefully) even higher?
Even without that data available to the general public, it’s clear that more riders are nervous when they have to use the subway system, as Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber acknowledged last month.
Lieber says forces outside of the MTA’s control are also contributing to crime.
He pointed to the recently opened safe injection site in Washington Heights that he claims is pushing heroin users to the 181st Street Station to shoot up when the facility closes.
“Our customers are letting us know they don’t feel safe” Lieber said. “They’ve read about high profile attacks on our workers. Customers are seeing people breaking our rules of conduct, evading the fare, smoking, lying down across the entire bench, drinking, and they don’t feel comfortable.”
He said while improvements are being made, there’s still more that needs to be done.
But are New Yorkers overreacting to the increased crime on the subways? One professor in New York City thinks that’s the case.
“The subways and buses are safe, you just have to watch out for what’s going on,” said Robert Paaswell, a professor at the City College of New York and the former director of the Chicago Transit Authority.
Paaswell said despite a rise in high profile crime underground, your chances of being a victim are actually very low.
According to NYPD crime numbers, we found your chances of being a victim of any subway crime is 1 in about 408,000.
“These are very random events, and you’re as likely to have an event like that as to cross the street and have a bus turn and hit you,” Paaswell said.
I understand where Paaswell is coming from, but if there was a 41% increase in buses hitting pedestrians in New York City, you can be sure that New Yorkers would be a little freaked out by that too.
It’s not unreasonable to be concerned about your personal safety, especially when crime stats are trending in the wrong direction. What is unreasonable (and unconstitutional to boot) is the current status of New York’s gun laws that prevent average, law-abiding, responsible gun owners from legally carrying a firearm in self-defense.