WINDOW ON CRIME
Spree of smashed glass on the No. 7 line
MTA officials are concerned over a spree of broken windows on the No. 7 line in recent months.
Transit heads on Monday said crews found 32 different windows broken on trains that rolled into the line’s terminals in Manhattan and Flushing, Queens, between May 1 and June 28.
That’s a drastic increase from the two broken windows crews found on the line during the same period last year — despite subway ridership falling by more than 90% due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This vandalism is unacceptable and steals valuable time and resources away from critical projects and other needed state of good repair initiatives,” said NYC Transit
Senior Vice President of Subways Sally Librera. “We’re working closely with the NYPD to investigate this spate of criminality so we can hold those who are responsible accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The bulk of the windows that were broken were on subway car doors, officials said. But vandals also smashed windows in conductor cabs and on the sides of trains.
The vast majority of the broken windows reported in May and June took place since widespread protests began in the city in the aftermath of the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Twenty-four acts of vandalism took place after May 29, officials said.
Subway car windows do not break as easily as conventional glass windows. They’re made of thicker, laminated glass that’s designed to hold up over years as passengers bump or lean on them.
An NYPD spokeswoman said the department is investigating the vandalism, but police have made no arrests.
The spate of shattered glass is a part of a larger crime trend on the subways this year.
Even as ridership has fallen by more than 4 million rides per day since mid-March, subway crime is still relatively flat — and has even ticked up in some categories.
Data from the NYPD show that major felonies on the subway fell by just 4.4% during the first five months of 2020 compared with 2019. During the same stretch, murders, robberies and burglaries on the subway all increased.
The trend may have something to do with fewer crowds on the subway that could deter criminal activity. In late March, after an arsonist set an uptown No. 2 train in Manhattan on fire, resulting in the death of a train operator, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials suggested that the criminal may have had more space to start the fire because the system was so empty.