NYC Mayor Adams backtracks on subway safety, says felt 'unsafe' riding first day on job

Adams had said after woman was killed after being pushed into coming subway train that situation was "perception of fear"

Updated: January 19, 2022 - 3:41pm

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 New York City Mayor Eric Adams appears to be backtracking on his assertion the NYC subway system is safe, despite riders' concern and a recent homicide.

Adams, a Democrat and former New York City policeman, acknowledged Tuesday about his first say as mayor earlier this month: "On day one, I took the subway system, I felt unsafe. I saw homeless everywhere. People were yelling on the trains. There was a feeling of disorder. So as we deal with the crime problem, we also have to deal with the fact people feel unsafe." 

His comments came just days after he said it was the "perception of fear" rather than the actual crime statistics that make New Yorkers feel unsafe while on in the subway system, according to the Associated Press.

He continued Tuesday: "We’re going to drive down crime and we’re going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system, and they don’t feel that way now. I don’t feel that way when I take the train every day or when I’m moving throughout our transportation system."

The Adams administration has announced plans to increase police presence in subway stations to address "actual crime" and "the perception of crime" among New Yorkers.

Adams said he called 911 to report a violent altercation during his Jan. 1 ride and witnessed one passenger screaming at another.

Following Saturday's shocking death of 40-year-old Michelle Go, who was pushed before an oncoming train by a mentally unstable homeless man, Adams said "When you have an incident like this, the perception is what we’re fighting against. This is a safe system."

According to NYPD crime statistics, transit crimes are up 81.5% between the first full week of January 2021 and the same time this year. 

In recent months, riders have been stabbed, shoved and assaulted on subways and in stations all over the city's five boroughs.

Despite a relative increase in police presence on platforms, the city's noticeable increase in homelessness and crime had contributed to the sense of danger New Yorkers now experience on the underground.