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NYC bringing back random bag checks for subway riders amid surge in crime

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said his administration is bringing back random bag checks for subway riders amid an alarming rise in crime on the Big Apple’s transit system.

New York City is bringing back random bag checks for subway riders amid an alarming rise in crime on the Big Apple’s transit system.

Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, announced plans to implement the measure on Tuesday, when he also said he wants more police patrolling the subways as the city attempts to curb a near 20% increase in crime levels during the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, according to NYPD data cited by the New York Post.

There were three homicides in the underground system over January and February, while incidents such as grand larcenies, felony assaults and robberies have also skyrocketed.

On Sunday, a 64-year-old postal worker was kicked onto the tracks at Penn Station in Manhattan while a 20-year-old woman fought off a man who punched her in the face and tried to rape her in Queens. Last week, a subway conductor was slashed in the neck when he stuck his head out of the cabin window during a stop at a station in Brooklyn.


A cello player was hit over the head with a bottle by a crazed woman last month, while in January, Fox News meteorologist Adam Klotz was brutally beaten on a Big Apple subway by a group of teens after he intervened on behalf of an elderly man whose hair they lit on fire.

"We know people feel unsafe," Adams, a former NYPD detective, said at a Tuesday press briefing.

"We are reinstituting bag checks. There are several things we are reinstituting in the system."

The bag searches are similar in nature to the controversial "stop and frisk" program the city previously employed, which was criticized for being implemented in a discriminatory fashion and was ruled unconstitutional a decade ago. Proponents say it saves lives by getting weapons off the streets.


Nevertheless, Adams said police would be searching bags for weapons such as knives, box cutters, clubs and guns. 

"I'm on the subway system and I speak with riders. They say, ‘Eric, nothing makes us feel safer than seeing that officer at the token booth, walking through the system, walking through the trains’ and that is what we want our officers to do."   

The NYPD’s transit division is deploying 94 bag screening teams to 136 subway stations and will be adding more, although it did not say by how many, the New York Post reports. The department last month boosted its presence in the system by 1,000 officers, according to the publication.

"We’re going to continuously make sure our officers move as much as possible to show a greater presence to deal with how people are feeling in our system right now," Adams said. 

Adams also said his administration is looking at testing metal detectors in a bid to keep guns off trains.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to announce state assistance to the city’s subway safety efforts. 

The plans are set to include new state personnel assisting the NYPD with bag checks and other new measures, a spokesperson for the governor told NBC.

Hochul, also a Democrat, met with Adams and top officials from the NYPD and MTA last week to discuss the plans, the outlet reports.

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