Gov. Kathy Hochul is deploying 1,000 New York State Police, MTA Police and National Guard troops to conduct bag checks of riders. Credit: NYGOV

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday unveiled several new measures to combat violent crime in the New York City Transit system, including by deploying National Guard soldiers into the subway system and moving to ban violent criminals from riding trains.

Amid growing pressure to respond to recent high-profile attacks on transit riders and employees, Hochul announced her five-point plan, which includes “redeploying” 1,000 additional officers that will assist in conducting random bag checks at major subway stations.

The New York Army National Guard will provide 750 troops, with the remaining 250 coming from New York State Police and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police. The extra personnel will supplement the New York Police Department, which is primarily responsible for patrolling the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 472 subway stations.

“You are going to start seeing them at tables, making sure weapons are not being brought in,” said Hochul, who was joined by MTA and law enforcement officials at the New York City Transit Rail Control Center in Manhattan for the announcement.


  • Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday outlined a five-point plan to address violent crime in New York City subways. 
  • The plan includes redeploying National Guard troops, New York State Police and MTA Police to check subway riders' bags, pushing for a law change to allow violent criminals to be banned from the transit system, more cameras on trains, and better coordination among police, prosecutors, and outreach workers.
  • Transit advocates praised the plan for helping restore a sense of security among riders, but civil liberties advocates criticized it as an overreaction that doesn't address underlying social issues that lead to crime.

“No one heading to their job or to visit family or going to a doctor’s appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon,” said Hochul, adding that riders could refuse to have their bags checked, but could then be denied entry into the transit system. “They can walk.”

Hochul would not disclose how long officers will be deployed, so as not to “telegraph to would-be criminals the day this may stop.”

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman dismissed Hochul’s plan as “heavy-handed” and “policymaking through overreaction and overreach.” She criticized the initiative for failing to address underlying issues of homelessness, poverty, and mental health.

“Real public safety comes from investing meaningful solutions, not over-policing,” Lieberman said in a statement.

Although MTA Police officers’ primary responsibility is to secure the authority’s commuter railroads, MTA officials said Wednesday that no cops typically assigned to patrolling the Long Island Rail Road would be pulled for the new duties.

The NYPD already boosted its police presence in the transit system by 1,000 officers earlier this year, responding to a 45% spike in crime in January as compared to the same month in 2023. MTA and NYPD officials have said the surge made an immediate difference, with transit crime numbers falling by about 18% in February.

Other initiatives will include accelerating the installation of security cameras throughout the system and adding cameras inside subway conductors’ cabins, improving coordination between police and prosecutors, and expanding outreach efforts to help homeless and mentally ill people in the transit system.

Hochul said she will also push for the amendment of existing state law to allow judges to ban from the transit system people convicted of violent crimes on buses and subways. Such a law already exists, but is limited to people who attack transit workers, and not riders.

Hochul noted that, since that law was adopted in 2020, it has only been put to use three times — the first being when a Huntington man was banned from the LIRR for two years after sexually assaulting a train conductor in November 2022. The man was arrested again the following month after being spotted boarding a train in Deer Park.

“Our problem has not been identifying people when they violate a transit ban. It’s been getting the transit bans enacted in the first place,” MTA chairman Janno Lieber said when asked by a reporter about how such a ban would be enforced.

Although NYPD officials have said nonviolent grand larcenies have driven the recent crime increase, it’s been a slew of violent attacks that have put commuters on edge.

The incidents include a man being pushed onto subway tracks at Penn Station on Sunday, another man being slashed in the hand on a train on Friday in what police are investigating as an anti-LGBTQ hate crime, and a train conductor being slashed in the neck while looking out of his control cab at a Brooklyn station.

Just after Hochul made her announcement Wednesday morning, police reported another subway conductor being struck in the head with a glass bottle at a Bronx station.

There have been three homicides in the New York City transit system this year.

Lisa Daglian, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, which includes the LIRR Commuter Council, said the new measures announced by Hochul “will help take back that sense of security so many have lost.”

“The partnership approach to reducing both crime and recidivism is critical to ensuring that New Yorkers continue to choose transit as their safest and most reliable option for getting around,” Daglian said.

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