Suicide Attempts on New York Subway Rise 50% in First Month of 2022

Suicide attempts on the subway rose 50% in the first three months of the year compared to 2021, transit officials said on Wednesday.

In the first three months of 2022, there were 27 suicides or attempted suicides out of a total of 105 track intrusion cases, according to a report prepared by the MTA in response to a surprise spike in trespassing late last year.

Track intrusions increased by 20% in 2021 compared to the previous year and 2019, despite fewer drivers. The number of incidents peaked last winter in November, December and January – with a total of 160 incidents, the highest total in a month since 2019, the report said.

There have been 100 track collapses in the past month, matching pre-pandemic numbers.

Officials found that suicides accounted for just 4% of all trespassing incidents but 25% of collisions and 35% of fatalities. Other causes of some 40 fatalities along the route included two attempts to recover objects from the tracks, two slips and the tragic deliberate push by a deranged tramp that killed Manhattan resident Michelle Go in January.

A whopping one in five intruders spotted so far this year “suffered from a mental illness,” the report said.

track burglaries
The MTA plans to test forward-facing cameras on trains to reduce track intrusion.
Matthew McDermott

“Most cases of track burglary are committed voluntarily by individuals who not only endanger their lives and the lives of transit workers, but also disrupt the travel of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” MTA CEO Janno Lieber said in a statement.

To address the problem, the MTA plans to expand public messaging and use of CCTV in tunnels, and to test front-facing cameras on trains to improve intruder detection.

Later, the agency plans to test platform barriers and expand “laser intrusion detection” technology and the use of blue light, which the report said “have a calming effect and can reduce suicides in transit systems.”

Track burglaries
There have been 100 track intrusions in the last month.
Matthew McDermott

Transit workers are afraid of coming into contact with people on the tracks.

“It’s like a rapid shock heart attack whenever you see it,” a train operator told The Post earlier this week. “Lots of homeless people and vagrants just don’t like where they’re supposed to be on catwalks and stuff.

“Even if they’re not in danger, it scares you to death and you have to stop [the train] and it’s a whole thing.”

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling.

If you live outside the five counties, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to Suicide Attempts on New York Subway Rise 50% in First Month of 2022


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