New York City Subway Safety

When you take public transportation, do you tend to blast your music? Ignore everyone that comes on? Never really analyze and be aware of the people near you? Well it’s time to change. 

One of the many entrances to the New York City subway. Photo by Mitchell Trotter on Unsplash.

On April 12, 2022, something almost all New York City residents fear became reality on a subway train. That Tuesday morning, right before 8:30 a.m., a mass shooting happened on the N train in the Brooklyn area. 

Someone got on the train and opened fire on dozens of commuters going to school or work. The suspected man had a gas mask on, to protect himself from the smoke grenades he let go once the train doors closed. Ten people were shot and 19 others suffered injuries related to smoke inhalation, falling down or having panic attacks.

The New York City fire department received a phone call from someone reporting smoke at the 36th Street subway station at the stop at Sunset Park. When the first emergency responder arrived, they found gunshot victims throughout the subway station.

Although violence and crime happen everyday in this city, what precautions can you take to ensure that you can see the signs? There is so much happening, and the only thing you can do is give tips and advice to make sure you feel safe while taking the subway.

Christopher Watt is from Queens, New York, and always takes precautions when taking the train in an attempt to make himself feel more safe. “Even before the Brooklyn train shooting, there has been thousands of incidents that happened before that. Therefore I have always taken extra precautions when taking the train,” he said.

 “It’s so scary to think about, and I don’t feel safe at all. You never know what could happen. My mother always told me that when I get on the train, to look at the people from all angles just to know who you’re getting on the train with in case of an emergency happening,” he said.

As people go about their day-to-day tasks, they never really consider how much danger is on the train because of the fact that this has been seen as normal for so long. Therefore as travelers, you have to go out of our way to make sure you are protected.

A passengers point of view of the subway. Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash.

When you take the subway, sometimes the sign “if you see something, say something” is posted. This is one tip that should always be taken into consideration. Having that sign up reminds people that it’s OK to question the people around you, for safety reasons and to vocalize if something is not right. 

“Sometimes it’s rude to stare, but I don’t care,” said Faith Peck, a Bronx resident. 

“There’s a lot of danger. So, when I get on the train, I observe based on what I learned. If you have a suspicious bag. If there’s something off about the looks given on the train. Sometimes it doesn’t even involve a gun. It could be someone who’s trying to find their next kidnap victim” said Peck, who worries that train Subway riders could be followed outside train stations and be attacked.

To stay safe, you may need to analyze others on the Subway. But COVID has made that tricky. “It’s become even more difficult now to see the signs due to the masks,” says Devin Peck, brother of New York City resident Faith Peck. They would ride the subway to go to high school almost everyday.

“How can you properly identify someone when all you see is their eyes? What I’ve learned to do is to observe more than the face: the outfit they are wearing in case someone asks for a description, any noticeable accessories that can be easy to identify, even height, an estimate of weight, things of that sort,” he said.

As hard as it is to avoid the subways, people use this as a way to get to places since not everyone can afford a vehicle. Living in the city is actually exciting, and you can use the subway to your advantage and travel far. Just make sure you are taking the proper steps to be safe. 

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