Opinion: Our ‘heroes’ deserve better. Send the National Guard to the subway!

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York
REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been paying an awful lot of lip service praising our “heroes” and “essential workers.” However, when it comes to helping them feel safe getting to and from their important jobs, these elected officials are missing in action.

Our doctors and nurses, cops, firefighters, supermarket employees, and many others take the subway to perform their vital services, but, since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, it has become a rolling hotel for the homeless and emotionally disturbed, and an underground haven for criminals. These “heroes” deserve better and it is time our mayor and governor give them some peace of mind.

The mayor should focus less on releasing criminals from jail and prioritize public safety, and the governor should send in the National Guard.

Last month, there was a 55 percent increase in robberies compared to March of last year. And this is with about 90 percent less riders! This trend is continuing. Clearly criminals, rather than workers, feel very safe on the subway.

In addition to their bad deeds against citizens, the perps continue to feel emboldened to disobey police officers. Just last week, a police officer was viciously kicked on to a subway platform, breaking her wrist as she was attempting to arrest someone. Obviously, it could have been much worse.

Heads of the MTA know they are losing control of their system as they have hired 70 private security guards to act as “eyes and ears” within the city’s subways. Significantly, they have no law enforcement powers. You don’t need a PhD in criminal justice to know that if criminals don’t have a problem kicking a cop off of a subway platform, they are not going to be deterred by another set of “eyes and ears.”

Meanwhile, de Blasio has focused on emptying Rikers Island due to the pandemic, working toward the progressive utopia of having no one in jail. When it was reported that some of those released went on to commit more crimes against innocent New Yorkers, Hizzoner said, “I think it’s unconscionable just on a human level that folks were shown mercy, and this is what some of them have done.” No Mr. Mayor, it is unconscionable that you continue your track record of putting criminals above law abiding New Yorkers.

The mayor should stop this insane mass release policy, which includes letting go those that district attorneys object to releasing because of the danger posed to the public by the inmate. He should also re-deploy what he can of the NYPD to the subway. At the same time, the governor can put a strong show of force underground by deploying the National Guard. One of the main reasons he may consider doing this is because he never misses a chance to pull rank on Mayor de Blasio. Subway commuters, especially today, deserve to feel safe and secure.

Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials, and has been an adjunct political science professor for over 15 years. Follow him on twitter @bobcapano.