SUBWAY CRIME SOARS
Danger rides rails: Felony assault spikes
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