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Reality bites: Governor Kathy Hochul sends National Guard to NYC subways

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As President Harry Truman observed, "It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours."
Similarly, subway crime was not a problem for New York Governor Kathy Hochul until recently. After all, New York’s media and political elites don’t ride the subways, and they have private security when they travel.
However, crime became a problem for Governor Hochul after a train conductor was the victim of a knife-slashing attack in Brooklyn. NYC transit workers stopped work soon after the slashing to file safety complaints, “causing severe disruptions in subway service.”
Suddenly, it’s time to deploy the National Guard in the New York City subways.
You might think New Yorkers would applaud Governor Hochul’s decision to provide more security for subway riders, but not everyone approved. As the New York Times reported, “transit experts” expressed concern that “extra vigilance in the subways” might “make riders more fearful rather than reassured.”
For example, Danny Pearlstein, a spokesman for a transit advocacy group, deplored Governor Hochul’s action. “Deploying troops to the subway will unfortunately increase the perception of crime,” Pearlman said.
Donna Lieberman, an executive with the New York Civil Liberties Union, was also critical. “Calling out the National Guard in response to a small number of admittedly serious incidents is . . . off the charts.”
A few days ago, Ginia Bellafante, a New York Times columnist, wrote a column suggesting that violence on the subways is a mental health problem, not a crime problem. She found a North Carolina psychiatrist who opined that putting troops in the subway might make a mentally ill person more dangerous to the public rather than less. Bellafante also cited an anthropologist who said that New York City should provide “more homelessness services and more mental health services” rather than send the National Guard to patrol the transit system.
I applaud Governor Hochul’s resolute decision to place National Guard troops in the NYC subways. Critics do not offer any helpful solutions to urban crime by framing the problem as a mental health issue. As the Governor acknowledged, people want to feel safe when they ride the subway. And most people feel safer when they see a cop or a soldier at the subway station, not a psychiatrist, anthropologist, or social worker.

Photo credit: New York Daily News

Original Article

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