Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday sent a letter to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast regarding the safety of subway riders.
Dear Chairman Prendergast,
Protecting the safety and security of its riders is the MTA’s most sacrosanct obligation. However, recently released statistics indicate that reports of sexual offenses on the subway system have increased by more than 50 percent compared to last year. This is completely unacceptable. We cannot and will not allow these crimes to persist.
I recognize that MTA has been working to address this issue head on, encouraging victims to report assaults and making it easier for them to do so. Those actions may be a start, but they are not enough.
Effective immediately, I am ordering the MTA to take all steps available to strengthen patrols in the subway system, including the use of more plainclothes officers to crack down on this sort of depraved behavior, and to work directly with the NYPD’s Transit Bureau to reassure riders and enforce the rule of law in light of these disturbing statistics.
The state recently approved the largest budget in the MTA’s history. We are investing in the MTA’s assets and safety is job one. New York State has zero tolerance for these despicable crimes. The safety, health and welfare of the millions of residents and tourists who travel the subway system is of paramount importance and we will accept nothing less.
Andrew M. Cuomo