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Serious crimes on the rise in the subway for first time since '04

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amny Photo Credit: Getty Images

Assaults, thefts and other serious crimes in the subways were up 6 percent last year compared to 2009, the first time since 2004 there was an uptick in felonies, leaving some wondering whether the bad old days underground have returned.

“I have seen pick pockets, fights and robberies, said straphanger Xavier Ridley, 21, of Jamaica, who says he feels unsafest at night.

Grand larcenies, such as when iPads and cellphones are snatched, make up 58 percent of the underground crimes that occurred in 2010, and the numbers of them jumped 7.7 percent from 2009, the latest NYPD stats show.

Grand larcenies and robberies — distinguished as theft using force — combined make up nearly 91 percent of the crimes.

These days with fewer cops and token booth clerks, “there are less eyes and ears in the system and many more things to take as more gadgets are displayed all over the place,” said MTA board member and Transit Riders Council chair Andrew Albert.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said most of the subway crime is happening among teens after school.

“Despite the spike in mainly teen-on-teen crime, there were fewer than six crimes per day in the subway system last year compared to 50 per day in 1990,” he said in an e-mail response. “Deployments are designed to address after-school ridership when most teen on teen crime occurs.”

There was some good news in that the data also show that cops made 3,420 more arrests last year than the year before.

With 191 incidents, however, felony assaults did soar 23.2 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to the data set to be discussed by the MTA at agency hearings Monday.

Chair of the City Council Public Safety Committee Peter Vallone argued that with crime in the city rising, “subway crime is going to mirror crime above ground” and more cops are needed.

No matter how much crime has increased, Robert Considine, 57, of Chelsea, said the subway has improved since he was growing up in the Bronx in the 1970s.

“I don’t fear crime so much,” he said. “If I were an older woman, I might feel differently.”

Amy Elmgern contributed to this story.

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