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Crime New York police deploy more than 600 officers to patrol subways after stabbings

17:00  18 february  2021
17:00  18 february  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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More than 600 New York City uniformed police officers are being deployed to patrol the subway system in the wake of last week’s deadly stabbings.

Two people were killed and four were injured in a rash of stabbing attacks over the weekend. All of the victims appeared to be homeless.

Transit Chief Kathleen O'Reilly said 644 officers will patrol platforms, inspect trains, secure entryways and ride in subway cars for the “foreseeable future.”

But homeless advocates argued the heavy police presence won't protect vagrants in need of shelter.

“Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo need to respond not with more stigmatization and callousness toward people without homes, or heavy-handed police removals, but with real and immediate access to housing for unsheltered New Yorkers,” Giselle Routhier, policy director at the Coalition for the Homeless in New York, told ABC News.

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a group of people standing in front of a subway: Police patrol the A line subway train bound to Inwood, after NYPD deployed additional officers into the subway system following deadly attacks, Feb. 13, 2021, in New York. © Bebeto Matthews/AP Police patrol the A line subway train bound to Inwood, after NYPD deployed additional officers into the subway system following deadly attacks, Feb. 13, 2021, in New York.

She pointed out that officials have promised time and time again to prevent violent crimes like last weekend’s stabbings from occurring.

“These devastating attacks are a reminder that failing to offer the dignity and safety of a real home during this historic pandemic is literally a matter of life and death,” she added.

The Salvation Army Greater New York Division also slammed the move to increase the number of officers on subways.

"The vast majority of unhoused people are peaceful and penalizing poverty will not solve the homeless crisis in New York City," a Salvation Army spokesperson told ABC News.

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The organization said a more effective solution to protecting the vulnerable homeless population is to allocate funds to "expand safe, non-congregate housing for people experiencing homelessness" that will "restore safety and dignity to all."

MORE: Suspect arrested after 2 killed in 4 separate stabbing incidents on NYC subway line

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) closed the subway overnight during the pandemic, essentially kicking out homeless people who often flock to subway stations for warmth in the cold winter months.

Homeless man Rigoberto Lopez, 21, was arrested and charged with the murder of two people on the A subway line last weekend.

a man sitting at a train station: Officers on scene at the 181st Street station in Washington Heights in New York, Feb. 13, 2021, where one of four separate stabbings on the A line took place over the weekend. © Dakota Santiago/The New York Times via Redux Officers on scene at the 181st Street station in Washington Heights in New York, Feb. 13, 2021, where one of four separate stabbings on the A line took place over the weekend.

Other violent incidents have also been reported over the past few months.

New York police flood subway after spate of stabbings leaves two dead

  New York police flood subway after spate of stabbings leaves two dead New York police flood subway after spate of stabbings leaves two deadNew York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the first attack happened on Friday morning when a 67-year-old man was stabbed by a masked assailant at the West 181st Street station in upper Manhattan. That victim is recovering in the hospital.

Last week a man was stabbed on the 1 train platform at the Christopher Street station in Manhattan and in January a person was caught on body camera footage trying to shove a woman in front of a moving train.

a person sitting in front of a fence © Dakota Santiago/The New York Times via Redux

O’Reilly said the new group of patrol officers include 331 Transit Bureau officers and 313 Patrol Bureau cops and they’ll be spread out across the subway system, especially for morning and evening rushes.

MORE: COVID-19 is ‘a crisis within a crisis’ for homeless people

She assured the public the Big Apple’s public transit system “remains one of the safest large transit systems in the world,” adding, “When a crime does occur, our officers move swiftly to make immediate arrests.”

The influx of officers is still less than the additional 1,000 officers the MTA asked for.

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