NEW YORK - In his strongest criticism yet of New York City's crime problem in the subway system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said people just don't feel safe riding trains.
"They have to feel safe. Do they feel safe now? No," Cuomo said at a Monday morning news conference.
The governor says there need to be more NYPD officers in the subway system.
"The crime on the subways now is a major, major problem," Cuomo asked. "How do you deny that?"
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He said while Mayor Bill de Blasio is saying he will put more police in the subway system, it is not enough.
"The main problem the MTA has is crime. That's the main problem," Cuomo said. "It has been for quite some time."
The governor said making the subway system safer is an important component of getting New Yorkers back to riding trains.
However, crime on the subway remains a significant concern for many commuters as NYPD reported three new assaults on Sunday alone.
At around 5:30 a.m., police say three men assaulted and robbed a 41-year-old rider in a 6 train at Bleecker Street. Then, at 8:30 a.m., a 41-year-old man riding a Brooklyn-bound F train was robbed of his cellphone and cash at gunpoint.
Finally, just after 9:30 a.m., a 56-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly punching a 70-year-old woman in the face while waiting for a train at Union Square Station.
Cuomo also said that the homeless have to feel safe in the shelters to get them out of the subway. He says people are currently making a rational judgment that they are better off in the subway.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has continually insisted in recent days that the subways are safe, saying no real New Yorker fears using subways.
The NYPD issued a statement on fighting subway crime stating: "The New York City Police Department, on a day-to-day basis, remains flexible and ever prepared to reallocate its personnel to respond to any upticks in crime. In February, the Department deployed over 500 officers to keep New Yorkers safe in our trains, stations, and platforms. They are working hand in hand with the thousands of Transit officers constantly assigned to patrol the subway system as part of the NYPD Transit Bureau’s daily mission to address crime conditions and keep riders safe."