Adams’ year-old ‘Subway Safety Plan’ started working after NYPD surge: data

Sometimes you just have to go with the basics.

Mayor Eric Adams’ Subway Safety Plan — which is turning a year old — only began to yield results after City Hall flooded the system with police officers on overtime shifts five months ago, a Post analysis shows.

City and state officials announced the plan in October as crime stats showed major felonies jumping over 2021 levels by 40 percent and the subway system recorded its ninth homicide for the year, the highest number in decades.

In January, three months into the surge, the number of major felonies dropped by 30 percent compared to the same month in 2022 even as ridership jumped from roughly 2.1 million to 3.1 million riders daily.

Crime stats obtained by The Post show that the crime declines continued in February as the NYPD recorded 170 major felonies on the subways in this month. That’s down from 180 major felonies over the same time period in 2022 — even with a million extra riders.

“First the conversation was about how we need crisis teams, not cops. Then crime went up because the program was an absolute failure,” said one veteran law enforcement source. “Now, the money Albany gave us is being used for overtime to pay for more cops in the subways.”

The person added: “It’s like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul has ordered Albany to pick up the tab for the NYPD overtime bill to boost subway patrols
Matthew McDermott

Gov. Kathy Hochul, running in a tight reelection race in October, agreed to pay for the NYPD’s overtime to increase the patrols and also had the MTA redeploy its own police force to boost its presence at the major commuter railroad stations in the city, helping to free up additional city cops.

The NYPD’s surge came eight months after Adams and Hochul rolled out the first version of the Subway Safety Plan at a February press conference at the Fulton Street subway hub in Lower Manhattan.

The rollout followed a slew of high profile attacks on the subway, including the shoving death of Michelle Go, which garnered national headlines.

One of the biggest proposals outlined in the sweeping plan was the city’s effort to deploy 30 new teams of cops, social workers and nurses underground to work with homeless New Yorkers living in stations and on the trains.

Nearly half of the new teams, 12, would be dedicated to riding the rails.

New York Mayor Eric Adams joins local politicians, activists and members of the public at an evening vigil in 2022 for Michelle Go, who was shoved onto the subway tracks and killed at the Times Square station. Police arrested a 61-year-old man, Simon Martial, who was later found to be unfit to stand trial and committed.
Getty Images

However, documents obtained by The Post show the onboard outreach program was quietly axed on April 11, just two months in.

“As of 4/11, the Subway Safety initiative has been ended,” according to a summary of the program’s statistics that was sent to the commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services, Gary Jenkins, and obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Law.

“We are still reporting on the initiative, below, because there are still clients placed through that initiative in their [homeless shelter] placements.”

It does not appear that city officials ever publicly disclosed that it nixed the high profile onboard outreach effort.

However, Hizzoner has continued to tout the Subway Safety Plan in interviews over the intervening months, including in an interview this week with WABC-TV/Ch. 7.

Mayor Eric Adams (foreground) addresses the press at a January 2023 press conference at the Fulton Street station to tout drops in subway crime following the police surge.
Matthew McDermott

“Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul and I announced a Subway Safety plan, where we promised to devote more resources to helping those experiencing homelessness and facing mental health crisis get the shelter and the care they needed,” the mayor said in a statement released Tuesday.

“We knew it would take time to build trust with this vulnerable population, and I’m proud that, one year into this work, we have successfully connected more than 4,000 people facing homelessness with shelter and the assistance they deserve,” he added.

In a statement, City Hall acknowledged that the teams initially dedicated to do outreach on the trains had been reassigned to outreach on platforms and in stations.

“As we launched this effort, we paid close attention to what was working and doubled down on successful strategies to most effectively help New Yorkers in need and to most efficiently use taxpayers’ dollars,” said Adams spokeswoman Kate Smart.

“All of the joint teams we announced are still working in the subway system and the end-of-line outreach efforts announced as part of the original plan have been highly successful.”