Assaults on NYC subway hit 27-year high in 2023

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By Dan Sears

The NYPD reported more people were assaulted in the city’s subways in 2023 than any other calendar year since at least 1996, according to data released by the department over the weekend.

According to the data, police recorded 570 assaults — or about 1.5 per day — in trains and stations over the course of the year. That’s up less than 3% from the 556 subway assaults reported in 2022 — but marks a 52% increase from 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic caused mass transit ridership to plummet.

Reported assaults in the subways have been trending upwards since 2014, when the NYPD reported 228 of them, according to the data.

Overall subway crime — including murders, rapes and robberies — was down 2.6% from 2022.

“This decrease is directly attributed to investments, a very positive working relationship with the MTA leadership and the MTA team,” NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said at an MTA committee meeting Monday.

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But the rising number of assaults is still a cause for concern, according to Andrew Albert, a nonvoting MTA board member who represents transit riders. He said there’s a “safety in numbers” element to the subways, and expected fewer people would be assaulted as more riders return to the system.

“Obviously, we don’t like to see any of these statistics go up. We want people to feel welcome and use the subways on a regular basis, which is what most New Yorkers do,” said Albert, a longtime member of the advocacy group New York City Transit Riders Council. “That’s what actually the more regular riders you have, the safer the system is.”

Subway ridership remains down by roughly 30% from before the pandemic, according to MTA data.

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