New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority would install two security cameras on every New York City subway car to lure back people frightened of crime on public transportation, while bolstering a system whose finances are teetering. The surveillance program comes after many New Yorkers abandoned the subways during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020. As more people have found ways to navigate New York above ground, crime has become more common below, reports the New York Times. Hochul said the cameras would bring scrutiny to places that have been the scene of random attacks and muggings. She said the intent is to get the message out that the cameras are being placed for safety. Although they cannot monitor live activity, the recorded system will offer investigators video footage. “We’re going to be having surveillance of activity on the subway trains, and that’s going to give people great ease of mind,” she said.
Even as Hochul has urged New Yorkers to leave their apartments and head for their workplaces again, constant violence on the subway concerns subway riders. Five months ago, a gunman opened fire on an N train in Brooklyn, striking 10 people, and injuring more than a dozen others. Six weeks later, a man fatally shot a passenger at random aboard a Q train. Lower-profile offenses are a prevalent part of New York City commuter's daily experience. The number of crimes reported in the subway system is roughly the same through July of this year as it was in 2019. However, through July, the police department recorded 2,800 complaints and about 600 arrests. Because ridership is only at about 60 percent of prepandemic levels, the per capita crime rate is up. Only a small fraction of reported crimes has resulted in arrests. With video footage, the arrest total may increase.