Is it Safe to Visit New York City Again? Many Say ‘No Way’
Now that the pandemic is basically over in New York State, Hudson Valley residents are itching to get out and travel. But many fear that the city just isn't as safe as it used to be.
Before the pandemic began our family would take almost monthly trips to New York City. Whether it was to see a Broadway show, a concert or just to meet up with family and friends, taking the train to New York was one of our favorite weekend getaways.
After the pandemic hit, those trips stopped and we really missed them. Now that life is finally getting back to normal and transmission rates are way down we discussed going back but a reason not related to the pandemic is still keeping us from planning that first trip.
Friends who frequent the city have told me that it's no longer the place we remember. Crime and violence have risen to a level that makes traveling to New York much less of a carefree affair than it once was.
Many point to bail reform as the root cause of so many problems happening in the city. I'm not going to pretend I know enough about the system to say whether that's the case or not, but I do know that some of the stories I'm hearing are making me think twice about visiting anytime soon.
On Thursday an unhinged man was arrested after attacking a four-year-old boy near Times Square. The unprovoked attack is just the latest in a string of terrifying stories about people with a history of violence roaming the city unchecked. While I know that stories like this are all anecdotal, the statistics don't lie. NYPD data shows that shootings in the city almost doubled from 777 in 2019 to 1,531 in 2020. Murders also climbed up 44% from 319 to 462. In 2021 shootings and murders climbed again, reaching levels not seen in over a decade.
I desperately want to go back to the city, but not if my wife is going to constantly be on guard and I wind up spending the whole trip worried about the safety of our son. When we go to the city we almost exclusively take the subway. Just this weekend at least six people were stabbed on subway cars. I know that mathematically six people out of the tens of thousands who were on the subway is still a small number, but even if I or my family aren't the ones being stabbed, it's not really something we want to be anywhere near.
Today, Mayor Eric Adam's new subway safety plan officially goes into effect which includes cracking down on criminals and doing more outreach to the homeless population. The addition of psychiatric beds in hospitals and shelters should go a long way to help get help to people with violent histories instead of leaving them to fend for themselves in the street.
Hopefully, these measures will have a positive effect on crime and violence in the city and help return it to a place that we can feel safe bringing our family back to because we certainly miss it a lot.