Man Flashes Weapon On Bronx Bus

Last night chaos broke out on a Bx15 bus just before 9pm after a man flashed a weapon on board. The man who cops are still looking for, flashed the weapon to all the passengers to purposely cause a scare. Two people were reportedly injured during he whole process.

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Homeless Man Arrested For MTA Attack

Two days ago I wrote about an unprovoked attack on a MTA worker at the 145th Street line station. The attack which occurred last weekend started with a man on the Bronx-bound platform shouting at workers who were on the Manhattan-bound platform. The man proceeded to exit the station, cross the street & reenter on the downtown side and hopped the turnstile before punching the worker in the face.

Thankfully I can report that the man who was identified as Mike Ortiz, a homeless ex-convict has been arrested by the NYPD due to a tip they received. He is schedule to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court.

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NYPD Looking For Brooklyn Subway Thief

One of the oldest tricks in the NYC Subway in terms of crime are when a thief engages in the act of cutting into a pocket of an unsuspecting rider to rob them as they sleep. The people who engage in these activities are commonly known to cops as “lush workers”.

Such was the case recently as a man boarded a Brooklyn-bound train at the 14th St-Union Square station & proceeded to fall asleep on the train. Later on during the ride, a man was caught on camera using shears to cut into the victim’s pocket where they stole their wallet & cell phone as it approached the Atlantic Ave station in East New York. The criminal used the stolen card to make $68 worth of purchases.

Here is a video of the suspect who is still on the loose:

I understand the need to usually keep to one’s self and mind their own business. However how could multiple people just sit there & watch it happen. We have one person sitting directly across from the incident while the other is filming from the corner.

I recall years ago being on a Queens-bound train during the overnight hours.  The train was packed (as it always is even at that late of night) and a guy wedged into a corner seat next to a guy who fell asleep. He proceeded to take out a blade and attempt to cut into the pants of the guy and try to rob him while he sat directly across from me and knowing I was seeing the whole incident go down. I did the right thing and called him out on it & woke the unsuspecting person up to alert them & the guy got off and tried to go to the next car where I proceeded to chase him off the train.

I am sorry but I will take my chances and do the right thing as I would want someone to do the same for me. I am never scared as I am well built and trained well for practically any sort of attack. So I like my chances against anyone!

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MTA Statement On Cleaning Program

In today’s New York Daily News, the paper had a strongly worded piece on the cleaning program the MTA runs that includes hiring outside firms to bring new methods to cleaning to the system. The piece stemmed from the paper witnessing an accident at the Clinton-Washington Avenues stop on the last Tuesday. Here is a link to their piece.

Just a few minutes ago, I received a response to the piece from MTA Chief External Affairs Officer Maxwell Young which stated:

The Daily News article today is misleading and misses the point of the entire station and car cleaning project. Two years ago the New York City Transit system was declared to be in a state of emergency due to its decline in performance.

Then-MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and outside consultants created an emergency management plan to correct mismanaged systems, including water management, signal repairs, station cleaning and more. The state and city provided $836 million to pay for overtime and outside contractors to bring new means and methods to a broken system.

The car cleaning and station cleaning contractors use chemicals approved by NYCT safety experts, and state of the art cleaning equipment. The approved chemicals are commonly used – for example the chemicals used by the fleet washing company are used by the same company in states around the country and on other fleets, including surrounding states and Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.

The equipment that backfired was a pressure washer. It is a common piece of equipment widely used by cleaning companies and even the MTA. A backfire sometimes happens to an engine. It’s not something that was caused by it being faulty or not properly maintained.

“‎The independent contractors’ new means and methods have been a great success. Water is now being effectively cleared from the tracks and new modern equipment has been introduced, cars and stations are cleaner and signals have been repaired.

The success of the Subway Action Plan is inarguable, as shown by the better performance numbers. Now phase 2 of the Subway Action Plan is to implant those new management systems into a restructured MTA, through the reorganization plan due later this month.”

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MTA & Gov. Cuomo Agree To Add 500 Cops

After Saturday morning’s heinous attack on a MTA worker at the 145th station, Gov. Cuomo & the MTA have announced an agreement to add 500 uniformed cops to the NYC Transit system. Here is more via the press release I received:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority today announced an agreement to add 500 additional uniformed officers to the New York City Transit system. The agreement was reached with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, and MTA Chairman Pat Foye as part of a comprehensive action plan to improve safety across New York City’s mass transit system, address the rising number of assaults on transit workers and combat the growing problem of fare evasion.

From 2013 and 2017, assaults reported by New York City Transit workers have increased by 15.2 percent, and lost revenue from fare evasion increased from $105 million in 2015 to $225 million in 2018. New data released today shows the upward trend is continuing with year to date totals reaching $243 million in the 12-month period ending in March 2019. The new program also includes additional measures to deter fare evasion with enhanced exit gates and additional monitors and cameras throughout the system. As part of this plan, the New York County District Attorney will provide $40 million over four years to fund associated costs of the personnel and provide construction modifications and new video technology to target station locations.

“This year we succeeded in making historic reforms to the MTA and provided significant new funding streams that will overhaul the system,” Governor Cuomo said. “But the MTA is still plagued by problems of public safety, attacks against transit workers and persistent fare evasion – issues that have only worsened in recent years. This new multi-pronged effort will improve safety on the system overall, protect workers from these incomprehensible assaults, and deter fare evasion by deploying 500 new uniformed officers on our subways and buses. I want to thank the TWU, the NYPD, the MTA and the Manhattan District Attorney for their cooperation and partnership to tackle these critical issues.”

“The safest big city in America deserves the safest subways in America,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This partnership means more eyes and ears in stations, and more officers for New Yorkers to turn to when they need help. The additional officers we’re deploying to the subway system will protect riders, prevent fare evasion and respond in emergencies.”

New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, “Our office is proud to invest in New York’s shift from a criminalization model to a prevention model for fare evasion. This is a movement that began in Manhattan, where we’ve used our discretion to reduce criminal prosecutions for subway fare evasion by 96 percent. Today’s investment in design improvements and other prevention and deterrence measures will mean that more fares get collected while fewer New Yorkers end up in the criminal legal system, with life-altering consequences, for this low-level offense. I thank Governor Cuomo, the MTA, the NYPD, and the TWU for their vision and collaboration.”

“Our priority is to keep the nearly six million riders who use the subway each day safe, and to ensure quality-of-life on the trains and in stations. In 1990, there were nearly 17,500 transit crimes, compared to 2018, where there were 2,500 transit crimes, which is approximately one crime for every million riders,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “These additional officers will help us continue to reduce crime past already record lows, work with our partners to solve problems, and provide increased visibility to deter theft-of-service – all while preventing crime and disorder from occurring in the first place.”

MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said, “Paying your subway or bus fare isn’t optional, and evading it harms all our customers. Today we’re taking critical steps to secure resources that the MTA needs to improve the system, while better protecting the men and women that keep New Yorkers moving. We’re doing it without hiring new staff, ensuring that the resources we get back from reducing fare evasion goes directly into improving subway and bus service. I thank Governor Cuomo and the state legislature for their leadership on this issue, and recognizing fare evasion as a growing problem that must be solved.”

TWU International President John Samuelsen said, “For more than a decade TWU has demanded MTA management take responsibility and act to protect our workers from horrendous assaults – like being stabbed, punched, kicked and spat on. The governor’s focus on reducing assaults against transit workers is a critically important step forward as we strive to ensure that TWU members have increased workplace safety and security. This program will make the riding public safe, our members safe and hold riders accountable to paying their fair share so the system has the resources it needs.”

The MTA fare evasion problem coupled with the growing reports of assaults on MTA workers has led to concern among many riders who believe there is a greater need for police presence in the subway and transit system. In 2018 there were 101 assaults against transit workers qualifying as felonies and misdemeanors. There were also 26 cases where workers were threatened and 2,318 incidents of harassment against transit workers ranging from verbal abuse to contact without injury. Once fully implemented, the Fare Enforcement Task Force – comprised of 200 NYPD officers, 300 MTA Police Department officers and Bridge & Tunnel Officers, and 70 New York City Transit Eagle Team members – will be deployed to targeted locations with the highest levels of incidents of assault on MTA workers and the subway stations and bus routes with the highest ridership rates. The additional MTA personnel will receive training to support this effort prior to deployment.

The MTA and the New York County District Attorney’s office entered into an agreement pursuant to which the New York County District Attorney’s office will provide $40 million over four years to support the MTA’s anti-fare evasion actions. The funds will go towards training and equipment for members of anti-fare evasion teams, including MTA PD, Bridge and Tunnel officers, and NYPD. In addition to working on anti-fare evasion actions, the fare deterrence teams will provide additional worker safety protections to MTA employees. The funds will also support enhanced technology in the stations, as well as infrastructure hardening, and aid in the research of new station designs for track access. Maintaining access to the subway system helps further enhance the safety of passengers. Fare evasion is illegal and may subject the evader to arrest, although the majority are issued a transit adjudications bureau summons or criminal court summons.

The focused enforcement has two main objectives: to maximize fare collection and to ensure that enforcement does not target any specific demographic. Task Force members will deter fare evasion through their physical presence and through the issuance of Transit Adjudication Bureau summonses. The components of the plan focus on educating MTA riders and are not meant to be punitive or increase the number of arrests.

The new program also includes the positioning of 100 NYCT Wayfinders near subway fare areas, enhancing select exit gates, and adding more monitors and CCTV cameras throughout the system. The MTA will also introduce a new, anti-fare evasion communications campaign, with signs in stations, voice messages on trains and in stations, and radio messages. Furthermore, the MTA Board recently approved full-fare MetroCards for New York City students, to both curb fare evasion and to ensure fairness in the student MetroCard program.

These new measures will complement the NYPD and the MTA’s existing efforts to combat fare evasion, including the MTA’s exit gate alarm reactivation pilot, educational outreach with New York City’s Department of Education, the Criminal Justice Interagency Group, EAGLE Team deployment on Select Bus Service lines, and the EAGLE Team pilot on local buses in the Bronx and Staten Island.

While on paper it is good to know they are adding cops to the system, I have to ask why did it take having the heinous attack on Saturday morning to do so? Assaults on transit workers has been a  serious issue for a few years now. However even with the increase in penalties for assaulting workers, it has not stopped people from doing so anyhow & most without any repercussions.

This move is more of Cuomo trying to score political brownie points versus actually doing what is necessary overall to protect the workers who keep the system operable & moving 24×7. A complete shame when you think about it!

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