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Transit Crime is Top Concern, Though Tiny Proportion of All Crime

Fear of crime on subways and buses is back as a top concern in some U.S. cities, and so are efforts to persuade public officials to take the issue seriously, the Associated Press reports. Political tough talk can gloss over the reality that transit crime accounts for just a tiny percentage of all crime, said Vincent Del Castillo, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former chief of New York City’s transit police. Heightened law enforcement presence can be a double-edged sword, said Alex Piquero, a criminology professor at the University of Miami and the former director of the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. “For some people, they’d like to see the added security,” he said. “And for other people, they’ll say we’re overreacting.”

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said that calling in the National Guard was as much about soothing fears and making a political statement as it was about making mass transit safer. Though city’s subways were already safe, a show of force was the best way to dispel anxieties, she said. “If you feel better walking past someone in a uniform to make sure that someone doesn’t bring a knife or a gun on the subway, then that’s exactly why I did it,” Hochul said Thursday on MSNBC. “I want to change the psychology around crime in New York City.”


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