By Daniel Katzive
Upper West Side commuters may have noticed more police officers than usual in area subway stations lately. Officers assigned to the 20th and 24th Precincts, who normally patrol above ground, have been descending to subway platforms in the neighborhood during rush hours.
Captain Zhen Zhou, the new executive officer, or second in command, at the 20th Precinct, explained that the precinct has a mandate to deploy 16 patrol officers per day over two tours onto subway platforms during rush hour, supplementing the officers of Transit Bureau District 1 who normally patrol the system in this area. Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi, Commanding Officer of the neighboring 24th Precinct, noted last week that officers from his command had also been spending more time underground.
Captain Zhou, who joined the 2-0 this summer from his previous assignment in Brooklyn, presided over the precinct’s Community Council meeting Thursday as Commanding Officer Neil Zuber was unable to attend. Zuber was promoted to the departmental rank of Deputy Inspector from Captain over the summer.
The shift in manpower below ground comes as Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have announced a move to increase police presence in the subways. In announcing the surge last week, Mayor Adams said “we must address both the perception and reality of safety.” The downside, of course, is that deployments below the streets must come at the expense of manpower on the surface in precincts where staffing numbers remain well-below full strength.
Discussion at Thursday’s Community Council meeting also addressed resident concerns about parking of vehicles on the street near the precinct, particularly cars that have been seized by the NYPD and are awaiting towing to a police lot. Sergeant Sean Pallone, who heads up the precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers program, explained that these were mostly cars that had been seized for illegal plates or had been involved in serious accidents and that the department has reduced towing capacity due to budget cuts. He noted that the 20th Precinct currently has around 10 such cars parked in the neighborhood and that some other precincts have many more.
In terms of overall crime, the numbers have shown some improvement relative to earlier this year. Captain Zhou noted that the 20th precinct has seen weekly declines over five straight weeks. Over the past 28 days, NYPD CompStat data shows declines in most categories of major crime compared to the same period last year (an unwelcome exception is rape, as one such crime was reported over the past month vs. zero during this period last year). On a year-to-date basis, the numbers are still higher across most categories, though the precinct still has zero murders so far this year and zero traffic fatalities.
The next monthly meeting of the Precinct Community Council will be held on November 17, a week earlier than usual to avoid the Thanksgiving holiday.
Interesting how they decide to increase cops on subways during rush hour, when they will be visible to most voters, just before Election Day.
Absolutely true… its just common sense, what good is a subway if people dont feel safe
If they need to get more police let it be… maybe we should boycot the subway , then we will see some action
No. It is because it is when there is the most traffic. Do you put cops standing on a deserted corner in upstate NY? No.
I think this is great and I have witnessed it. Also, on the subway the conductors have increasingly made announcements of there are cops on the platform at a station they are pulling into, so if there is an issue you can get out and there will be someone there to help. I saw cops give a guy about to jump a turnstile the stink eye and he stopped. I know that is a somewhat trivial potential crime but it creates a sense that laws are being enforced, which is good.
Hochul has been gradually dealing with crime since she took office. The problem is that Zeldin has absolutely no other issues to run on so is solely employing scare tactics. There is still a long way to go but I don’t think he is significantly better equipped to deal with the problem than she is, and he comes with a lot of other baggage like his feelings on abortion and his unending loyalty to Trump.
I mostly agree, except I’m not sure if less crime happens during rush hour simply bc more ppl are using the subway. I wouldn’t give credit to the police, only bc that’s probably not the time their presence is most needed.
I wonder if the cops get to choose when they think it’s best for them to be present, and where. I think it’s similar to teachers, whose administration is often indifferent to their insights and awareness.
The 72nd st crosstown bus wasn’t running on schedule this week so I took the subway for the first time in years. It was only 2 stops to the 86th st crosstown but I was glad to see police on the platforms at both stations. There have also been more police out on the street on the UES and the UWS. I saw 2 speedy arrests, one on 86th and Lex and the other in the 90’s and Lex. Also at the 72nd subway station two days ago. I don’t care if it’s being done for political reasons, as long as they’re out there.
So more Cops Underground means, less Cops above ground. Not that criminals still have fear or respect for the NYPD.
I was taking subways all day this past Wed. I took the B and E trains, and there were cops everywhere, including in my car. It was great to see but it’s such a transparent ploy to sway votes at the 11th hour.
Boy, can’t win. Always someone claiming ulterior motives. Sad.
I take the subway often for many years, very rarely see cops. Now two weeks before an election there are cops everywhere. Koinkydink?
“Officers assigned to the 20th and 24th Precincts, who normally patrol above ground…” Oh really? Where exactly are they “above ground”? Not on the streets. Maybe in their cars. The only police officers I see on the streets are the ones giving out parking tickets.
Today there were two uniformed officers stationed on foot in front of the AMC multiplex at 68th & Broadway. No car in sight. Didn’t think this was a high crime corner at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, but what do I know?
What patrol – the 2-0 officers never leave their vehicles except to triple park on Columbus
If that’s what keeps the 20th Precinct one of the lowest crime precincts in the City, which it has been for the past 25 years, then whatever they are doing, it is obviously working.
I too have noticed more police presence in the subways. I appreciate it. It’s sad that it requires election fear to make it happen but if it saves lives, prevents crime, and helps change the perception that laws will be enforced, I’m all for it. Whatever it take.
However you interpret the reporting, it’s knowledgeable = good use of police terminology and procedure. Worth the read. Thanks!
’bout time they went underground!
Perplexed me how this is not just a bandaid unless you are really flooding every single car, stairway, turnstile, every single corner with cops which is impossible. All this does would be catch and release and move the crimes elsewhere if they manage to catch. Not underground? Then above ground or in another car. It gives you a false sense of safety. Go to the root and put criminals behind bars. I commute daily on MTA. Haven’t seen cops so far.
In the past Precinct offices that have been placed into train stations are on overtime. It was done in the 1980’s. Once the midterm elections are over so will the overtime.