The Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week began offering rewards of up to $2,000 to transit riders or others who provide details to police after witnessing a crime against a transit employee.
Advertisements detailing how members of the public can participate in the program are now being posted in buses, and will appear in subway cars by the end of the month.
In addition, the MTA has created a web page offering information about the program at mta.info/nyct/transitwatch.htm.
Known as Transit Watch, the program was announced this year by Gov. Cuomo in the weeks after a joint conference convened by the MTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 100 to address an increase in the number of assaults on MTA personnel.
“Thousands of men and women work on the front lines of the MTA system every day to make sure millions of people can get to work safely,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said in a statement issued last week. “We need to ensure they stay safe as well. Transit Watch puts criminals on notice that if they assault a bus or subway employee, everyone who sees it happen is going to help put them in jail.”
Customers who see a crime take place are asked to call the NYPD’s CrimeStoppers hotline at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477). All calls are kept strictly confidential, and you need not provide your name.
“Assaults on transit workers are on the rise, and the MTA is committed to making them stop,” Thomas F. Prendergast, president of MTA New York City Transit, said. “An attack on any one of our workers is an attack on all of us, and we share the goal of protecting our employees as they put their lives on the line every day.”
Transit Watch falls under a national program administered by the Federal Transit Administration. It is made possible locally by the New York City Police Foundation, which supports innovative NYPD programs like Crime Stoppers.
Assaulting an MTA employee is a Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.