New York City plans to test weapons detection technology in the subway system in response to an increase in transit crimes, the mayor announced Thursday.

The announcement comes after the city surged 1,000 officers and the state deployed National Guardsmen into the subway system in recent weeks as part of security measures after several high-profile crimes.

“We are taking the next step forward in our ongoing efforts to make our subways even safer and ensure New Yorkers feel safer in the transit system,” Mayor Eric Adams said during a press briefing on Thursday.

The technology won’t be implemented for several months. Under the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act, there is a 90-day waiting period before the technology can be implemented, the city said. During the waiting period, the NYPD will be working to identify vendors of weapons detection technology for the pilot, the city said. The public can also comment on the pilot program during the first 45 days of the waiting period, the city said.

The pilot program will be implemented in some subway stations “where the NYPD will be able to further evaluate the equipment’s effectiveness,” the mayor’s office said in a press release.

PHOTO: New York City Mayor Eric Adams announces a gun scanner pilot program at the Fulton Street subway station, March 28, 2024.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announces a gun scanner pilot program at the Fulton Street subway station, March 28, 2024.

Pool via ABC News

“There’s no place for guns and weapons on our transit system, and we are going to respond accordingly,” Adams said.

Transit crime in January was up 45% compared to a year ago, mostly due to grand larcenies. It fell in February by 15% and is down nearly 16% so far in March, according to NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Temple, calling it “encouraging progress.”

“That being said, while overall crime stats indicate that crime is trending downward, we have experienced a few unfortunate high-profile incidents that weigh heavily on our riders’ minds,” he said.

“We understand this and recognize our riders’ concerns,” he continued.

Transit crime remains up 4.4% so far this year compared to 2023, according to NYPD statistics.

Among recent high-profile incidents, a man was shot by his own gun during a fight on a crowded subway train earlier this month. No charges are being filed against the man who fired the gun, prosecutors said, citing “self-defense.”

PHOTO: New York City Mayor Eric Adams announces a gun scanner pilot program at the Fulton Street subway station, March 28, 2024.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announces a gun scanner pilot program at the Fulton Street subway station, March 28, 2024.

Pool via ABC News

During the briefing, the city demonstrated an Evolv body scanner, which is used at stadiums including Citi Field. The scanner took three seconds to complete a scan and alerted to areas where there may be a weapon.

Adams said there is no facial recognition or “biometrics” with the technology. Subway riders won’t be forced to go through the scanners and can elect to leave, the city said. If an area on a person is alerted by the machine, only that area would be searched by an officer, the city said.

Multiple factors will be considered when determining where to deploy the scanners, such as gun arrests and shots fired detections, Adams said.

The mayor has pushed for weapons detection technology in the subway since a 2022 mass shooting that injured 10 people.

Los Angeles’ subway became the first mass transit system in the U.S. to install body scanners to detect weapons in 2018.

Adams also announced Thursday that the city will be hiring more clinicians to support its Subway Co-Response Outreach Teams, a pilot program to connect people with untreated severe mental illness in the subways to mental health treatment and care. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is dedicating $20 million to expand the program, he said.



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