NEW YORK — Police say they arrested the subway pusher in last week’s vicious attack that was caught on camera.
His arrest comes as more officers converge at nearly two dozen subway stations, as crime in the transit system is on the rise. A safety awareness campaign is now underway, with outreach at subway stations and officers putting safety tips in the hands of riders.
“There’s definitely a real problem on the subway. After the pandemic, people not riding. But there definitely could be more of a police presence,” one rider told CBS2.
Transit crime is up 41%, according to the latest NYPD data. Surging cops into the system is part of a larger plan announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams over the weekend to tackle subway crime.
“Make sure that we’re implementing the governor’s and mayor’s vision of how do we accomplish a safer system, and also at the same time, respectfully and compassionately help folks who are using the system for shelter to get into services and to get hopefully a better situation,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber.
“I’m sure having a little more security around is going to help, but I don’t think it’s going to make a drastic difference in the stories we hear,” Lower Manhattan resident Nick Bratkovich said.
Monday, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner spoke with the families of two recent subway crime victims, after around a dozen violent incidents in the system last week.
Police said they arrested Lamale McRae, the man behind the infamous subway push on the L train platform at Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues on Friday. McRae, 41, has more than two dozen prior arrests and served time in prison for attempted murder.
Zack Martin told CBS2 the victim, his brother, fell several feet onto the tracks, face first. His brother is in pain and will be out of work for at least a month, he said.
Martin told us his brother is upset, but not suicidal, as one outlet reported.
“We’ve lived in New York City our whole lives, and now we’re afraid to leave the house to do something so simple as go to work. It’s scary,” said Martin.
Sunday night, police said a 62-year-old man was punched and fell onto the tracks at the 149th Street-Grand Concourse station. Good Samaritans helped him to safety and he suffered some bruises. A 21-year-old was arrested in the unprovoked attack.
The victim’s wife told us, “This fool last night, he has no business on the subway. He has no business doing what he intended to do. The cops are doing their part. It’s just you ride the train from 219th Street, number 2 train … It’s bad. You see homeless. It’s the mentally ill.”
According to the NYPD chief of transit, overall arrests are up 65% from last year, gun arrests in the system are up 28%, and there’s a 241% increase in arrests for carrying weapons.
“Thousands of additional officer tours weekly, up to 300 stations will be manned at peak hours and additional train runs will be made,” said NYPD Chief of Transit Jason Wilcox.
Lieber is calling on judges and district attorneys to help ban certain criminals from the transit system by enforcing an existing law in place.