It’s a popular refrain from out-of-towners from all over. “The subways aren’t safe,” they say. “You ride the subways at 3 a.m.? And you’re still alive? You’re nuts.”
Well, good news to those of us who don’t fear late-night subway rides: The New York City subways are indeed safe. In fact, crime on the subway is down to an all-time low, according to a report in the Daily News. Based on MTA and NYPD statistics, New York’s illustrious tabloids proclaims, your chances to being a victim in the subway are about the same as if you were struck by lightning.
Some 1,157 felonies have been committed in the subways this year – an average of 6.1 a day. And just 427 robberies have been reported in the underground this year, compared with nearly 9,300 in total in 1990, NYPD Transit Bureau Chief James Hall said. “That’s pretty amazing,” Hall said of the decline, crediting the hard work of transit cops and commanders.
It’s actually unprecedented, according to former Transit Bureau Chief Michael Ansbro, who spent nearly four decades with the NYPD bureau and the formerly independent transit police force. “It’s never been this low,” Ansbro said.
With an average of 4.9 million riders on the subway each weekday and 2.5 million each weekend day, the odds of becoming the victim of a crime on any given day is approximately 1 in 714,000. That’s about the same odds a U.S. resident faces of getting zapped by a bolt of lightning in any given year, according to the National Weather Service.
For straphangers, that’s great news. For years, the New York City subways have had to live down crime-ridden stereotypes. The hijackers in The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three and the nuts in Money Train have long represented the subways in the minds of the rest of America. While smart New Yorkers know better, it’s reassuring to hear the subways are still safer.
Now if only we could stop hearing that familiar refrain of “Ladies and gentelmen, this is an important announcement from the MTA” every five minutes while riding the subways around the City.
Graphic above from the New York Daily News.