Mayor Bill de Blasio fell back on months-old platitudes Tuesday when pressed on what he was doing to make subways safe for returning middle-school students amid a year-long crime spike — even as ridership plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had an incredible and total disruption in 2020. Our entire lives were turned upside down, a global pandemic, a perfect storm — and we are in the process of overcoming that,” de Blasio said as he attempted to explain away a doubling in subway murders.
It’s at least the 55th time that Hizzoner has used the “perfect storm” phrase at least once during a press conference since May 31 when pressed about the surge in shootings, beatings and subway track shoving, among other violent crimes, in the Big Apple over recent months.
Under questioning about subway violence for the second time in three days, de Blasio offered no plan about boosting station and train security with tens of thousands of middle school students set to return to in-person learning before the end of the month.
He only said that “if we need to shift NYPD personnel more to the subways, we absolutely will.”
De Blasio made the remarks as he again downplayed the surge of violence on subways as police officials reported yet another straphanger was slashed Sunday, bringing the number of violent attacks on the city’s trains over the last week to at least five.
They are the latest victims in a surge of violence underground that has lasted for months — even as ridership fell by more than 70 percent. Statistics from the NYPD show there were six murders on the subways in 2020, doubling the tally from 2019. Robberies increased by four percent, while assaults declined by just 5 percent.
“I can tell you about six years of steady decrease in crime, where the city safer and safer. In fact, we literally had a point, not long ago, where there was one crime – one index crime – per million subway riders per day,” Hizzoner said in response to questioning from The Post.
“It’s not about comparison to even the ’90s,” when violence on the subways was endemic, he added, “it’s comparison to even more recent years, the subways have gotten safer and safer.”
He continued: “We had an incredible and total disruption in 2020. Our entire lives were turned upside down, a global pandemic, a perfect storm — and we are in the process of overcoming that.”