Dan­ger rides rails: Felony as­sault spikes

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY TINA MOORE, EDGAR SAN­DOVAL, DAN RIVOLI and CORKY SIEMASZKO With Chris Sommerfeldt tmoore@ny­dai­

THE NYPD has been forced to deploy more of­fi­cers un­der­ground as felony as­saults are up al­most 27% in the city’s sub­ways through the first five months of the year. Of­fi­cials blamed grow­ing rid­er­ship — which can help lead to tem­pers flar­ing in tight spa­ces — for the in­creased vi­o­lence, es­pe­cially in Man­hat­tan.

A STRAP­HANGER who sur­vived be­ing pushed onto a set of sub­way tracks is the lat­est vic­tim of a dis­turb­ing spike in se­ri­ous crime along the rails — prompt­ing the NYPD to deploy more of­fi­cers and to ex­tend pa­trols.

The 28-year-old vic­tim tossed onto the tracks at Bleecker St. in Green­wich Vil­lage on Mon­day is a trans­gen­der Har­lem woman, who goes by “Danny” on her block. Cops are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the attack as a pos­si­ble hate crime, an “anti-sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion as­sault,” sources said Wed­nes­day.

Things have been get­ting dicey in tran­sit.

Felony as­saults in the sub­way sys­tem are up 26.9% this year through May 31, with 99 cases this year com­pared to 78 in same pe­riod in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent Tran­sit Comp-Stat re­port.

That’s the big­gest in­crease in at least five years, based on the lat­est stats avail­able this year, through April.

Joseph Fox, who heads the NYPD’s Tran­sit Bureau, blamed the uptick on record rid­er­ship, which leads to tem­pers flar­ing in tighter spa­ces. He also said street con­fronta­tions out­side Man­hat­tan nightspots that boil over once they get un­der­ground have also re­sulted in more as­saults. “We’re putting a lot of re­sources in Man­hat­tan,” Fox told The News. “It’s where the in­crease in rid­er­ship is.”

Fox also noted that there are only about six ma­jor crimes a day in a mas­sive sub­way sys­tem that car­ries roughly 6 mil­lion pas­sen­gers daily.

Also, city­wide, there were 24 anti-sex­ual-ori­en­ta­tion in­ci­dents re­ported to po­lice through May 24, a 37% dip from the 35 com­plaints dur­ing the same time pe­riod last year, of­fi­cials said.

But that was likely lit­tle com­fort for Danny, who wound up in the emer­gency room with fa­cial cuts and bruises — and who de­clined to dis­cuss her har­row­ing or­deal upon re--

turn­ing home Wed­nes­day.

The vic­tim was as­saulted on the same day Cait­lyn Jen­ner graced the cover of Van­ity Fair in a cream satin corset and said adieu to her old iden­tity as Bruce Jen­ner.

A long­time friend who still uses the male pro­noun when re­fer­ring to Danny said she has never seen her in women’s cloth­ing.

“It’s hor­ri­ble if some­one at­tacked him for the way he looks, the way he was dressed,” said 28-year-old Iris Estrella. “He likes to wear long nails. But no­body threats him bad here.”

Estrella said the vic­tim lives with her grand­mother and sis­ter.

“It’s hor­ri­ble,” she said. “No­body de­serves to be treated like that. Thank God there wasn’t a train com­ing.”

Po­lice have re­leased sur­veil­lance footage of Danny’s sus­pected at­tacker and are seek­ing the public’s help in iden­ti­fy­ing him.

An ap­par­ently emo­tion­ally dis­turbed man was taken into cus­tody around 3 p.m. Wed­nes­day at the W. 4th St. sta­tion af­ter a tipster alerted an MTA worker that he matched the de­scrip­tion of the sub­way pusher, a law en­force­ment source said. It turned out that he wasn’t the wanted man.

Mean­while, a felon with more than 50 ar­rests on his record was await­ing a court ap­pear­ance late Wed­nes­day in Brook­lyn for al­legedly slash­ing a Swedish tourist on an A train.

Don Carter was busted Mon­day for at­tack­ing Katrina Staniz, 29, as the crowded train was stopped at the Eu­clid Ave. sta­tion in East New York. Staniz, who was on her way to Kennedy Air­port, needed two dozen stitches to close the wound. Danny was at­tacked at 9 a.m. Mon­day as she and the sus­pect were stand­ing on the south­bound 6 train plat­form of the sta­tion in Green­wich Vil­lage, po­lice said.

“What are you look­ing at?” the sus­pect shouted at the vic­tim.

The creep ran to a garbage can, pulled out a plas­tic bot­tle, and hurled it at the woman, po­lice said. Then he charged the vic­tim and pushed her to the tracks be­fore flee­ing the sta­tion.

Com­muters at the same sta­tion ad­mit­ted Wed­nes­day they were rat­tled by the attack.

“I think about it ev­ery sin­gle time a train comes,” said Mark Os­mund­sen, 24, who lives in Har­lem but works at a nearby gym. “It’s messed up. I make sure to step back ev­ery time the train comes.”

“Crazy things like this can hap­pen any­where,” chimed in 23-year-old Veron­ica Koles, who is orig­i­nally from Rus­sia. “New York has great public trans­porta­tion but it’s in­evitable that some­thing like this hap­pens. It’s ter­ri­ble but you have to keep your eyes open all the time.”

John Shane, a tourist from Michi­gan tak­ing his first ride ever on the sub­way, said it seems to him that straphang­ers are sit­ting ducks for a ma­niac.

“If some­body wants to do you harm in the sub­way, it is so easy,” said Shane, 47. “The track’s right here.”


Po­lice in­ves­ti­gate fa­tal shoot­ing at Bor­ough Hall sta­tion in Brook­lyn in March (inset). Cops say high rid­er­ship brings spike in crime.

Tran­sit Chief Joseph Fox



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