New York City Resumes Bag Checks to Tackle Increasing Subway Crime

( – Every day, millions of people ride the New York subway system to travel around the city. In fact, the annual ridership climbed over a billion in 2022, a number not seen since 2019. However, increased violence in the subway system prompted NY leadership to make some bold moves to keep passengers safe. Both NY Governor Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Eric Adams acknowledged the ongoing problem.

What Are They Doing?

On March 6, CBS News reported that Adams was instituting a bag search in the subway system as well as upping police presence in the area by over 1,000 cops per 12-hour shift. He said, “People feel unsafe,” and he wants to turn that feeling around. The new security system is aimed at keeping weapons off the train, looking for knives, clubs, guns, and box cutters, in particular. Adams wants to keep those weapons and others off the platform and the trains themselves — mostly guns. The mayor said not only will passengers’ bags be subject to search, but he also wants to incorporate a weapons-detection system similar to those in airports.

Governor Hochul also made a move to combat violence against travelers in the subway system. On March 7, CBS News reported that the state leader released a five-point plan that adds new security cameras and brings 750 National Guard troops to help with bag checks aimed at keeping weapons off the train. She is also increasing the number of MTA Police. Hochul said the “brazen” and “heinous” attacks happening on the subway recently “will not be tolerated.” The governor’s plan also includes banning repeat offenders from the subway, putting cameras in the conductors’ cabins, increasing funding for mental health outreach, and coordinating communications between the police and district attorneys to stop repeat offenders.

Both Adams’ and Hochul’s plans will help passengers and those who work in the transit system — who are also vulnerable to attacks.

What Prompted the Move?

Charlton D’Souza of Passengers United said there is currently a “crisis” in the NY subway system. Three people have been murdered so far this year, and several others attacked. Those attacks included a pregnant woman at the 168th Street station, a man kicked onto the tracks at Penn, and a conductor at a station in the Bronx.

Sources close to the matter told CBS New York there would be 94 teams searching bags each week at about one-third of the system’s stations. While some transit riders are skeptical about the move and worry about “racial profiling,” others feel it’s the best way for travelers to stay safe.

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