New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell vowed that police officers will make the subway system safe and prevent the city from returning to the “bad old days.” Sewell made the promise Tuesday and spoke about other crimefighting strategies at the annual State of the NYPD breakfast, reports the New York Daily News. Sewell said she is well aware of the perception that the city is heading in the wrong direction, noting the surge in gun violence as well as unchecked shoplifting merchants have complained about. “I know what a lot of people are fearful of,” she said, “that we’ve somehow fallen all the way back to the bad old days — a time when in our worst year, 1990, there were more than 2,200 murders in New York City.”
Sewell said New Yorkers “deserve better” and that police have a plan. In the subways, where serious crime is up 75 percent this year, 1,000 more cops are deployed into the system every day. They have conducted more than 70,000 station inspections in the past five weeks, creating “a blanket of public safety that riders, at all hours of the day and night, can see and feel as they make their way to and from school, work or home.” Sewell said training started last week for the nearly 500 cops who will make up the neighborhood safety unit and concentrate on gun violence in 34 commands around the city. The new unit follows the disbandment by former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea of the plainclothes anti-crime unit, whose officers were credited with taking guns off the street, but were harshly criticized for being involved in too many shootings and accused of unconstitutional street stops and raids without warrants. Separately, Mayor Eric Adams spared the police department for cuts in his proposed $98 billion budget, the New York Times reports.