New York City subway crime has dropped dramatically in recent years even though the Transit Authority trimmed the number of token booth clerks, reports the New York Daily News. There have been 25 percent fewer felonies committed underground in the first 10 months of this year than during the same period in 2000, found a News analysis of police data. At the same time, there are 154 fewer clerks working in the stations, a 4.5 percent drop. The authority and the employees union have been keeping a close eye on crime numbers as they battle over whether the agency’s plan to close token booths will leave riders alone and unprotected.
The authority will close 164 more token booths next year. It will move 600 of the current 3,300 clerks out of booths and into stations and onto platforms to help riders with vending machines, directions, and other problems. At public hearings, elected officials, advocates, and union officials have urged transit officials not to cut the number of token booth clerks, arguing that they help guard against crime. Transport Workers Union Local 100 predicts that even shifting workers from behind the glass will be a disaster. They say that radios given to roving clerks hit dead spots in the stations. Those clerks would not be able to reach others in case of emergencies, union officials claim.