NYPD begins solo patrols in subway system

Transit crime is up more than 55% this year to date, according to NYPD statistics — and the fear of riding the subway is turning many New Yorkers away from public transportation.

So NYPD Transit Bureau cops will be splitting up to cover more ground, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday. These solo patrols will maximize deployment, effectively doubling patrol areas and helping riders feel safer, according to the mayor.

However, this will not be a blanket policy. New York City police officers can patrol in pairs at certain large stations such as the 34th Street station, during the overnight hours, and on the trains. Yet this will end a safety protocol put in place after two police officers were attacked in broad daylight in 2014. 

PBA President Patrick Lynch blasted the policy.

"Solo transit patrols were abandoned because they make it harder for cops to protect straphangers and ourselves," Lynch said in a statement. "They're even less effective now that criminals know there are no consequences for fighting cops and resisting arrest."

But Adams said helping riders feel safer starts with making cops more visible.

"We're all looking at how do we better utilize our resources," Adams said. "Yesterday on the subway system, it was clear when passengers that stopped us spoke with us, they said we want to see that blue uniform — 'We want to see that blue uniform. We feel better and we feel as though the police are present.'"

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said keeping the subways safe is the NYPD's job. 

"This transit network is designed to connect us, to link the incredible diversity of our neighborhoods and all the people who travel through them," Sewell said. "It has the powerful ability to bring us together but only when riders are completely confident that this system is safe. And that's our job to make it safe and keep it safe. And that's exactly what we plan to do."

Solo patrols started on Monday, police said.

Adams said the next phase of his transit safety plan will be a campaign on how to be a safe passenger.