National Guard To Be Deployed To Subways

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on March 6 that she was deploying hundreds of National Guardsmen to patrol the subway system in New York City to curb violent crime, the New York Times reported.

Hochul’s order places 750 members of the state National Guard in the subways, reinforced by another 250 officers from the New York State Police and the Metropolitan Transporation Authority.

According to the governor, the National Guard would conduct random bag checks to help visitors and commuters feel safe in the city’s subway system.

Just days later, after photos appeared showing National Guard soldiers in the subways dressed in camouflage and military gear holding rifles, the governor made a slight adjustment to her order, issuing a directive banning the National Guardsmen stationed in the subways from carrying long guns.

New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman described the governor’s ban on long guns as a “relief” but maintained that the presence of the National Guard was “an unnecessary overreaction.

She told the New York Times that deploying military personnel in the subways would only cause more “tension” and “escalation” while further criminalizing black and brown residents.

Crime and safety concerns have long been an issue in the New York subways.

Last month, Mayor Eric Adams ordered an additional one thousand police into the subways following a 45 percent jump in major crimes in February compared to the previous year.

The Democrat governor’s decision to send troops into the subways drew pushback from members of her party in the city.

New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams blasted Hochul’s order, warning that the move would “criminalize the public on public transit.”

Democrat Socialist Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher of Brooklyn described Hochul’s order as a “ham-fisted and authoritarian response,” and claimed that the governor was validating Republican propaganda about urban crime during an election year.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell pointed to recent data showing that subway crime had dropped.