Violence Against Women on Public Transportation
On Saturday, January 15th Michelle Go left her Upper West Side apartment and entered a Times Squares subway station where she was shoved onto the tracks and was fatally killed by an incoming southbound R train. The man charged with her murder has a history of mental health problems and has been in and out of jails for multiple incidents. This tragic event sent shockwaves throughout the city and shined a spotlight on the safety of the MTA system as a whole. Subway use is half of what it was before March 2020 and concerned riders have pleaded for help from elected officials to do something about the rising rates of crime. “We just cannot accept a situation where riders are being attacked, or even just made to feel really vulnerable in New York City subways…It’s essential to our economic recovery that people feel comfortable riding the system,” said Janno Lieber, CEO of the MTA. Hannah Topliff, a 25-year old Kips Bay resident said in a New York Post interview, “You can’t relax or act timid on the subway — it’s too dangerous… I always stand by a pole on the subway platform, so I can’t be pushed onto the tracks…Saturday’s random attack emphasized that I need to keep standing by a pole while waiting for my train.”
To try and help this situation mayor Eric Adams announced a subway safety plan that involves teams mobilizing in the subway stations consisting of two police officers, an outreach worker, and a clinician. People will be asked to leave the train at the end of the line and people will no longer be able to sleep on the trains or in stations and will be directed to alternative resources. Additionally, police have been told to crack-down more on fare-beaters. John Timpa, a homeless New Yorker commented on this new safety plan saying,’”They just kept telling me to get out, get out, get out. Go outside. Yeah, go outside. Oh yeah, I told them I got nowhere to go,” he said. “He said there were stabbings with people and that’s why they’re getting on me. But I’m not the one that did it.” Time will tell if Adams action ends up helping commuting New Yorkers,or if it just further damages a vulnerable community.