NEW YORK (AP) — A woman was apparently pushed to her death in front of a subway train at the Times Square station Saturday, police said.
Police had someone in custody in connection with the woman’s death, which happened little more than a week after the mayor and governor announced plans to boost subway policing and outreach to homeless people in the streets and trains.
The victim was waiting for a southbound R train around 9:40 a.m. when she was apparently shoved, according to police.
Names and other information about the woman or the person in custody haven’t been released.
Subway conditions and safety have become a worry for many New Yorkers during the pandemic. Although police statistics show major felonies in the subways have dropped over the past two years, so has ridership, making it difficult to compare.
And some recent attacks have gotten public attention and raised alarms. In September, three transit employees were assaulted in separate incidents on one day. Several riders were slashed and assaulted by a group of attackers on a train in lower Manhattan in May, and four separate stabbings — two of them fatal — happened within a few hours on a single subway line in February.
In recent months there have been several instances of people being stabbed, assaulted or shoved onto the tracks at stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and at Times Square.
New Mayor Eric Adams has noted that a perception of danger could drive more people to eschew the subway, complicating the city’s economic recovery as it tries to draw people back to offices, tourist attractions and more.
“We must restore public trust in our transportation system,” the former police captain said Jan. 6 while announcing a plan to have officers patrolling the street head into subways to do “visual inspections” and have transit officers walk through trains and talk with passengers.
“Omnipresence brings about the level of security and safety,” Adams said.
Under his predecessor, Bill de Blasio, the city repeatedly said it was deploying more police to subways after attacks last year and pressure from transit officials. The agency that runs the subway system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, sped up work to install security cameras in all 472 subway stations citywide, finishing that project in September.
However, the city also has repeatedly faced complaints in recent years about heavy-handed policing in subways. Protests erupted, for example, after police were seen on bystander video handcuffing a woman they said was selling churros without a license at subway stations in 2019 and punching a Black teenager during a brawl on a subway platform that same year.
Joining Adams last week to discuss the state of the subways, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was planning to put together five teams of social workers and medical professionals to help the city guide people living on streets and subways to shelter, housing and services.
Both Hochul and Adams are Democrats.