New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, both Democrats, announced plans to increase police presence in NYC’s subway system on Saturday, just three weeks before Hochul faces a close election against Republican Lee Zeldin.
Hochul’s plan calls for the state and city to split funding for 1,200 additional overtime shifts per day for officers to patrol the city’s transit system, according to the New York Times. The plan also calls for adding camera systems to the subway’s train cars. Zeldin, the Republican congressman challenging Hochul, has made NYC’s rampant and rising crime a central part of his election effort.
“My number one priority as Governor is keeping New Yorkers safe in the streets, in their homes, in their schools, and on the subway, and we will do whatever it takes to make our subways safer for riders,” Hochul said at a Saturday event announcing the police ramp-up. “Our expanded subway safety strategy of Cops, Cameras, and Care will crack down on subway crime, help those experiencing homelessness get the support they need to get out of the system and alleviate concerns of riders to ensure New Yorkers feel safer throughout the subway system .”
The move comes as police sentiment against Hochul and other leading democrats is at a severe low, with record-breaking numbers of police resigning in 2022. Police unions have complained of a lack of support from both city and state leaders, as well as policies that prevent them from apprehending criminals.
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“The increased workload is crushing the cops who remain,” Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch told the NYT. “The answer is not to squeeze them for more forced OT.”
Hochul has faced heavy criticism for her support of cashless bail, which police say puts officers in danger by releasing dangerous criminals back onto the streets.
Zeldin has also ripped the Democrat for rising violent crime in the state. The Long Island Republican made headlines in early October after a shooting took place just outside his house while his two daughters were home. Police would later confirm that two teenagers had been injured in a drive-by shooting on Zeldin’s street, but that the attack was not against the lawmaker or his family.
“We cannot surrender any street anywhere in the state of New York to criminals. I want to see our law enforcement in charge of all of New York’s streets,” Zeldin said at the time. “I don’t care if you’re in a big city, a small city, a big town, a small town. I want law-abiding New Yorkers to be able to ride a subway car and not have to hug a pole or grab a guardrail, being afraid of being pushed in front of an oncoming subway car. Or having to take off your yarmulke because you’re Jewish and others who, you know, others are being attacked because they’re Jewish.”
A reporter questioned him just after the incident about whether it was appropriate to “talk politics” hours after the shooting. Zeldin rejected the question outright.
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“I mean, at what point are we supposed to talk about the crime on our own streets? I’m standing in front of crime scene tape in front of my own house. You can’t get me more outraged than right now,” Zeldin responded. “But for us, we’re more pissed off today than we were when we woke up this morning.”