Four stab wounds and a death on a track rock the New York subway system on Saturday

At least four people were stabbed on New York subway platforms and trains on Saturday, and another person was killed while walking on the tracks, amid a chaotic 24-hour period for the system of public transport.

The spate of violence came a day after Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new subway security plan aimed at getting hesitant passengers back on trains by increasing police presence and bringing in more professionals of mental health.

But the mess that followed on Saturday highlighted the continuing challenges authorities will face in improving public perception of the transit system, which has seen an increase in some violent crimes in the last year.

As of Sunday afternoon, the four separate stabbing incidents had resulted in no arrests, according to the NYPD.

Among the victims was a 20-year-old woman who was punched in the back and then stabbed three times in the abdomen as she stood on a platform at the Livonia and Van Siclen Avenue station in Brooklyn just before 3 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Authorities could not say if the attack was random or if the two individuals knew each other. The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Later that evening, two more stabbings were reported within an hour in Upper Manhattan. Police say a 24-year-old man was stabbed in the leg during an attempted robbery on the mezzanine of the 1 train at 168th Street in Washington Heights around 8:20 p.m.

Just before 9 p.m., another man was lacerated in the arm while riding a southbound 1 train at 116th Street. An NYPD spokesperson said it was unknown if the incidents were related.

Police were also looking for a suspect accused of stabbing a homeless man in the buttocks and eye on Saturday at the Jamaica-Van Wyck subway station. The attack happened around 3am on Saturday morning after three men approached the victim and asked him to hand over his belongings.

In a statement, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said the incidents “highlight[d] the urgent need for the initiative that Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams announced last week to improve services for people with severe mental illness who live homeless and to strengthen enforcement of the code of conduct in the subway system .

Fabian Levy, a spokesperson for Adams, warned of the association of random acts of violence with subway homelessness and mental illness, which the new plan primarily aims to address. “While the mayor strongly condemned yesterday’s attacks and made it clear that violence of any kind is unacceptable, we must understand the root cause of each case to stop the violence,” Levy added.

Also on Saturday evening, a man was fatally struck by a 3 train as he allegedly walked on the tracks near 50th Street in Manhattan, according to the MTA. Additional information about the victim was not immediately available.

At a recent MTA board meeting, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber warned that high-profile incidents, including subway scrambles and track trespassing, had disrupted passengers, despite a general downward trend in crime on public transport.

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According to NYPD data, while some categories of transit crimes have declined, others, including murder, rape and assault, have all increased over the past year. The system recorded 461 felony assaults last year, the highest total since 1997, and a 25% increase from 2019, despite declining ridership fueled by the pandemic.

In his subway safety plan on Friday, Adams said police would play a bigger role in dealing with disturbances in the transit system.

“No more tobacco, no more drugs, no more sleep, no more subway barbecues,” Adams said. “No more doing what you want. No, those days are over.

Under the new plan, the mayor said homeless people would be forced out of the system at the end of the line, prompting strong rebukes from homeless advocates who accused the mayor of “dehumanizing rhetoric”.