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Monday’s Headlines: What’s the Fix for Subway Murders? Edition

12:03 AM EDT on October 3, 2022

The Rikers jail complex (above, in an aerial view) is not the answer to subway violence, no matter the arguments of the New York Post. Photo: Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul must arrest and incarcerate more people acting anti-socially in the subway in order to curtail the spike in random murders underground, Nicole Gelinas argues in a NY Post op-ed pegged to the Friday night slashing death of a straphanger on the L train, the sixth killing in the subway this year.

"The police are doing their jobs in that they’re interacting with more anti-social actors before these people commit a violent crime. In August, civil summons for behavior like farebeating was up 58.8 percent compared with August 2019," she writes. "But arrests in the transit system are still 12.1 percent lower than they were in August 2019. That’s because the police are just not supposed to arrest people engaged in 'small' crimes. Inconveniently, these are the people who commit bigger crimes" (an argument for "broken windows" policing, in other words).

Gelinas — who chides "urbanists" and "transit advocates" (that is, us) for "ignoring" subway disruptors because they want more psychiatric beds and social-worker outreach — sees cops as the "cure" for the violently mentally ill because, unlike the medical establishment, they are publicly accountable (via court records and community meetings) while the (HIPAA-protected) public-health system is "a black box." She wants Adams to lean on Hochul to end bail reform and parole reform.

We're sympathetic to Gelinas's frustration. But the "mental hospital of last resort" to which the criminal justice system ships the deranged people it arrests — our local lock-up, Rikers — is a humanitarian disaster on the brink of federal takeover at which inmates are killing themselves at literally twice the clip of the subway murders. So her solution is neither sustainable nor humane.

In other news from a quiet weekend:

    • You can get any popular initiative stopped in this city, as long as you go behind the scenes to Mayor Adams. Council Member Bob Holden did it with Citi Bike, as we reported, and now Bronx Council Member Oswald Feliz did it with the street safety and bus lane project on Fordham Road. (NY Post — with a link to a Streetsblog story where Feliz made the now-repudiated promise to help bus riders)
    • As Mayor Adams promised, the city is doing big towing stings of illegally parked truck in the outer boroughs, most recently in The Bronx. (News12 Bronx)
    • Several outlets covered Lincoln Restler's bill (really a reintroduced bill that didn't pass during the previous Council) that would give citizens a finder's fee for nabbing illegal parkers. (NY Magazine, Gizmodo, Bloomberg, Jalopnik)
    • Slate anatomized a fatal crash involving an 8-year-old biker in Houston.
    • Booze and bike lanes don't mix, explains Our Town.
    • Booze and car driving don't mix, either: DUI is suspected in the crash that put a speeding driver and his passenger in the East River early Saturday; they swam ashore. (NY Post)
    • Passersby pulled a 5-year-old girl from a fiery crash on the FDR. (NYDN)
    • A car driver plowed into a deliverista on an e-bike in Brooklyn Saturday night, but thankfully the cyclist is expected to recover. (1010WINS)
    • The 50th Street subway station contains a pint-sized digital art gallery. (Curbed)
    • A new law to alleviate permitting problems isn't working as intended, say street vendors. (The City)
    • Mulch obliged! Curbside compost pickup started today in Queens. (Gothamist)
    • A Columbia prof weighed in on making city streets healthier and safer. (State of the Planet)

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