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MTA Committee Meeting Testimony-Transit Crime is our New Pandemic: We Need a National Solution to this National Problem

Good morning, I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, PCAC.

Rich, President Davey, welcome to your first official Transit Committee meeting.  With about 20 days into the job under your belt it’s an understatement to say you’re having a helluva first month.

The good news, of course, has been increasing ridership, hitting new post-pandemic records. Your commitment to safety, reliability and cleanliness were leading the way to driving those numbers even higher.

Until yesterday. What a horrific, tragic day. It’s a mantra we’re repeating far too often.

Riding the subway should not be a death sentence. Going to brunch should not get you killed.

But a guy with a gun ended Daniel Enriquez’s plans, making him the latest target of an unprovoked attack, and another subway crime statistic. Could he have been stopped at the turnstile? Did he pay his fare?

We’ve now seen surveillance footage of the attacker, but what were riders to do onboard that train? Surely they are all now traumatized – but beforehand, saw something we all see too regularly: someone who appears a little off, as we all mind our own business and hope we get to the next stop quickly.  That did not happen yesterday on that Q train. Thank you again to the transit workers who jumped in to help.

There must be a better way for riders to notify police without putting themselves in harm’s way.

It seems that transit crime is our new pandemic – but it isn’t unique to New York. Illegal guns are not unique to our city. This is a national crisis, and we need a national solution. Let’s convene a national transit safety summit and share best practices and find new solutions.

Improving safety = increasing ridership.

The advocacy community and our own national network stand ready to help. We look forward to working with you. Thank you.