The analysis by Gothamist reveals a staggering surge in overtime pay for New York subway cops, skyrocketing from $4 million in 2022 to $155 million in 2023.
Critics argue this substantial increase, fueled by the addition of 1,000 cops to patrol the subway, resulted in a meager two percent drop in “major” crimes, encompassing murder, rape, and robbery—prompting skepticism about the effectiveness of the heightened police presence.
The subway system has witnessed an increased deployment of uniformed police officers, along with a surge in overtime hours, following the implementation of Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul’s subway safety plan last year.
This strategic response came in the wake of numerous high-profile attacks on the subway, prompting a comprehensive initiative known as “Cops, Cameras, and Care.”
Beyond enhancing security measures, the plan aimed to address challenges associated with the homeless population residing in subway stations and trains.
Joshua Florsheim, the Executive Director of the Management and Budget Analysis Section of the NYPD, revealed that the state has reimbursed the city approximately $62 million out of the $151 million allocated for the initiative.
“We know there is more work to be done, and will continue to make investments to ensure every New Yorker can ride safely,” John Lindsay, spokesman for Hochul, said in a Friday statement.
Interestingly, subway assaults saw an uptick, prompting doubts about attributing the crime decrease solely to increased policing. The $151 million splurge on overtime brought an unintended consequence: a spike in fare evasion enforcement.
Gothamist reports a surge of 1,900 more fare evasion arrests and 34,000 additional summonses, with overtime costs averaging about $4,200 per arrest or summons. This hefty expenditure contrasts sharply with the modest $104,000 total in unpaid fares, according to HellgateNYC.
NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper defended the strategy, emphasizing the perceived shift in the “tone” of the subway system.
According to Kemper, the focus on fare evaders aims at establishing a sense of “law and order,” despite the minimal impact on major crime rates.