NYPD launches special team to fight subway pickpockets

Pickpocketing is now so rampant on the subways that the NYPD Transit Bureau has formed a special team of detectives and officers dedicated solely to apprehending offenders, officials said Tuesday.

“As ridership and trains have become busier, we’ve seen an increase in grand theft this year — up 51 percent so far,” Transit chief Jason Wilcox told MTA board members at a bus and transit committee meeting.

“A quarter of these grand larcenys are being fueled by increases in pickpocketing,” Wilcox said.

He said the new force is made up of “handpicked, experienced” police officers.

The NYPD has a history of forming such teams as needed, he said.

The group will “pickpocket” and “attack” them, focusing on “known repeat offenders,” Wilcox said.

While the number of grand thefts has increased over the past year, their total remains below levels seen in 2019 or before the pandemic, when ridership was higher, according to the latest NYPD data.

Before the pandemic, in January 2020, there were 151 grand thefts. It was down to 33 that month as of July 2020, when ridership plummeted.

Meanwhile, according to the latest statistics, the police recorded 108 grand thefts in the system over the last month.

A unionized police officer speaks from behind a podium
NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox addresses the Transit Committee.

Officers are aware of many of the recidivists, Wilcox said – adding that some of them are the same thieves he dealt with 10 years ago as a transit cop.

He described a recent incident in which transit bureau police officers pursued a repeat offender immediately after his grand larceny trial, only to see the man immediately rob an elderly woman before boarding the subway in Chinatown.

Police officers are warning New Yorkers and visitors to remain vigilant as the city gets busier around Christmas and New Year’s.

“Pickpockets are nothing new to transit — they’re an old enemy of the transit system,” Wilcox said. “And they are now drawn to the large crowds shopping during the holiday season.”

https://nypost.com/2022/11/29/nypd-launches-dedicated-squad-to-combat-subway-pickpocket-spike/ NYPD launches special team to fight subway pickpockets


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing diza@ustimetoday.com.

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