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How to stay safe on the New York subway, according to city leadership

Travelers wearing masks sit in the subway where posters advertise free COVID-19 vaccination in New York City in several languages on July 18, 2021.
AFP via Getty Images
Travelers wearing masks sit in the subway where posters advertise free COVID-19 vaccination in New York City in several languages on July 18, 2021.

Students at schools had to shelter in place, New Yorkers were advised to avoid the area and power on some rail lines was temporarily shut down after a person opened fire and shot 10 people inside of a subway car in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

WNYC broadcast engineer Juliana Fonda said she was on the N train when she heard the shots.

"People were pounding and looking behind them, running, trying to get onto the train," Fonda said. "The door locked between cars and the people behind us, there were a lot of loud pops and there was smoke in the other car."

The event has revived conversations about public safety in New York. City departments have previously issued guidance on how to improve safety throughout the city's transit system.

NYPD's tips on subway safety

  • Wait behind the yellow line on the platform, away from the edge.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings, especially electronics.
  • Keep purses in front of you, even if using a shoulder strap.
  • Keep your wallet tucked away, in a place besides your back pocket.
  • Avoid falling asleep on the subway.
  • Mayor Adams' subway safety plan largely focuses on unhoused people

    Mayor Eric Adams issued a subway safety plan in February, and placed a strong emphasis on moving unhoused people from subway stations into housing.

    "We will state without reservation that our subways exist to move paying customers from one point to another," the plan says. "They are not meant to house individuals or provide recreational space, and we will make it clear our stations and trains are not intended – or available – as an alternative."

    Adams' plan will link the Department of Homeless Services, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYPD and community-based organizations to tackle homelessness in the stations.

    Some of his proposed solutions include deploying outreach vans that connect unhoused people to services, increasing bed availability at shelters and upping NPYD's presence in subway stations.

    The move came a few weeks beforea man shot two unhoused men in the city, killing one and injuring another. The incidents were tied to three other shootings of unhoused men in Washington, D.C., where two were injured and one was killed.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Ayana Archie