NYC plans to use a gun detector pilot program in subways

New York City will roll out a new gun detector pilot program on the city’s subways in an effort to enhance safety in the underground transit system, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) will begin piloting the new technology in some subway stations in late June to curb shootings and violence on the city’s subway system, Adams and NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Cuban announced in a press conference Thursday.

The weapons detection technology will be implemented in late June following a 90-day waiting period, in which police will identify companies that carry this technology and evaluate the technology’s effectiveness. Adams did not disclose which subway stations will be picked for the program.

During Thursday’s press conference at the Fulton Street Subway Station, Adams unveiled a scanner from Massachusetts-based security technology company Evolv, which has faced allegations of doctoring its testing results, The Associated Press reported.

“Keeping New Yorkers safe on the subway and maintaining confidence in the system is key to ensuring that New York remains the safest big city in America,” Adams said Thursday. “Today’s announcement is the next step in our ongoing efforts to keep dangerous weapons out of our transit system and to provide greater mental health services for New Yorkers in crisis.”

The announcement follows multiple shootings on the Big Apple’s subway system, including a man who was shot with his own gun and critically injured after an argument on the subway earlier this month. Police said the man had entered the subway station in Brooklyn with a knife and gun, CBS New York reported.

A shooting last month on a rush-hour subway left open person dead and several others wounded after a fight broke out between two groups, The AP added.

As of Sunday, the NYPD seized a total of 450 weapons, including 19 illegal guns, in the New York City transit system this year, the mayor’s office said. This is up from the 261 weapons, including nine guns, that were seized during the same period last year.

Police seized 1,515 weapons in the subway system last year, including 1,470 cutting instruments and 45 illegal firearms, according to the mayor’s office, which said this was a “stark increase” for the previous year when 947 weapons were collected.

Adams also announced the city plans to deploy more outreach workers into subway stations to get those with mental health issues and living in the system into treatment and care.

“People with untreated serious mental illness taking refuge in the subway system deserve safety, stability, and community,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “The journey to this destination takes time, but the first step is often the hardest: connecting a person with medical care that they may not recognize they need.”

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