Police in New York City say a man, wanted for bashing a rider after his target was hit by a train, has surrendered.
Benjamin Gonzalez is suspected of punching Francis Christie in the head on a Union Square platform around three in the morning on December 16.
Christie, 41, was pushed to the ground and his head hung over the platform’s edge as an incoming Q train slammed into his head shattering his skull.
Gonzalez, 24, then drew Christie backward from the edge and hit him again. The incident was caught on video and Gonzalez was accused with assault when he turned himself in. The attacker has been released on a $75K bail, and no court date has been set.
What has happened to the city’s subway? According to The Atlantic it wasn’t long ago that New York residents could look to cities like Boston and Washington to appreciate the reliability of their subway.
But with fare hikes, overcrowding, frequent breakdowns and rickety tracks, New York’s Metro Transportation Authority sees millions of angry riders and a multi-billion repair job that will take decades.
Meanwhile, crime on the subway system rises to levels that would keep the Caped Crusader busy. METRO authorities point to increased ridership as the primary factor in the increase in underground crime. There are more passengers now than since the 1940s.
The all-time ridership record was established in 1946 with 2 billion passengers. Ridership exceeded 1.7 billion in 2016, breaking records set in 1948. Now, overcrowding is the reason for about one-third of the system’s delays and over 2/3s of the crime.
Pickpockets, Thieves and Public Lewdness
The Metro Transportation Authority points to pickpockets and thieves as the trigger behind the bump in the subway’s crime rate. About 30-percent of the robbery victims were asleep when their iPhones and iPads were stolen.
“I guess you should know not to go to sleep,” rider Freddie Cant told Channel 7 News.
While the MTA extends its “stay awake and alert” strategy of 30-second announcements, many committee affiliates want more than merely more police on patrol. They are struggling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to name a prosecutor to focus on prosecuting subway crime.
Security measures specialist Sal Lifrieri told Channel 7 that regardless what the administration tries to make persons safer, it goes back to the passengers to protect themselves and their property.
“Pay attention where you put your valuables. Don’t flash money or show your billfold. Don’t present yourself as an easy mark,” Lifrieri said.
Gadget thieves aren’t the only culprits. In addition to Gonzalez, NYPD said they were searching for two men in unconnected subway crimes.
One man is sought for taking an upskirt image of a straphanger, and the other is wanted for public lewdness.