Bill Bratton has some advice for straphangers: Stay awake. “Subways are not for sleeping,” the police commissioner said on Wednesday, displaying an unexpectedly deep knowledge of musical theater. The NYPD will be employing more patrolling officers to go through the trains and rouse sleeping passengers — and, presumably, deal with the knife attacks, of which there have been eight on the subway so far this year. The commissioner also noted that 50 percent of passenger thefts happen when a rider is asleep.
That said, if you do doze off, you might get away with it. January was the safest month in New York City since the NYPD has been keeping track of crime statistics, Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. Last month, there were 22 homicides (down from 40 last year) and shootings are off by 34 percent. In Chicago, a city with roughly a quarter the population of ours, there were 51 homicides in January. Only felony assaults are up, 18 percent over last year, and 37 percent of those occurred in the subway. So, yes, you may have the urge lately to wear a chain-mail face mask on your morning commute, but you will almost surely get there alive. Progress!